A Valley News Publication

A snowy owl was spotted on the Vermont Tech campus in Randolph, Vt., on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. Photo courtesy Alliance for Vermont Communities – Alex Buskey.

Alliance for Vermont Communities shared these images from the Vermont Tech campus on their Instagram yesterday, and have allowed us to share them here as well!

Alex Buskey, who runs social media for the nonprofit, said he and his girlfriend were driving through the campus around 2:30 Sunday afternoon when they saw a group of photographers gathered, aiming their gear at a light post. From Alex:

We pulled over and watched for about an hour. There was a professional nature photographer there from Boston who’s Instagram account is @notquitestrangers. He’s the guy in our picture shooting the owl and said he should have photos ready in a couple weeks.

 

At the end of our time watching, the owl perked up, dropped from the post and glided toward a row of bushes along one of the buildings. It caught a small rodent and paused on the ground for a bit before flying to perch on another light post (caught on video).

 

The most incredible part was obviously the wingspan on the bird, and how incredibly silent it was while flying low to the ground in pursuit of whatever it caught in the bushes. Folks said it is an adolescent female who has been there for a while now.

Writer/educator/field naturalist Bryan Pfeiffer also has some high-quality photos at his blog, and Brenda Petrella shared more on Instagram:

BTW, as of Tuesday afternoon, the Randolph snowy owl was the only one reported to the website eBird within miles and miles of the Upper Valley for November and December of this year.

* * *

The National Audubon Society writes that Project SNOWstorm, a volunteer-fueled Snowy Owl-tracking organization, predicts this could be a big winter for snowy owls in North America, potentially similar to an influx of the creatures โ€” referred to as an irruption โ€” that happened in 2013.

Scott Weidensaul, one of the directors of Project SNOWstorm, says the clues point to a big irruption, but the group also fully admits there’s no way to definitively know how big it could be or if it will even happen at all. โ€œThereโ€™s a little bit of voodoo and black magic in all of this,โ€ Weidensaul says. Though Snowy Owl migration patterns are mostly mysterious, there have been some tell-tale signs that the birds are on their way.

Meanwhile, WMUR reports that several snowy owls have already been reported throughout the Granite State.

Photo by Greenfield Recorder/Paul Franz. Enhancements by yours truly.

BTW …

What’s the Alliance for Vermont Communities, you say? The nonprofit was formed to block the proposed NewVistas project, which now belongs to a new legal entity, Windsorange LLC.