It is uncharacteristically cold, with temperatures in the low single digits (Celsius), but that didn’t stop me and a couple of friends from making the drive to Boundary Bay to see the 2nd year of snowy owls wintering in the area. They appear in the south mainland because hunger drives them further south than they typically go.
I love how they are called “snowy” instead of “snow.” First of all, it is grammatically correct to describe them so — after all they are not made of snow — and then it sounds cuter, kind of like the owls themselves.
There were a lot fewer people than last year on the dike viewing the birds perched on logs in the large open marsh, I guess because of the freezing weather. Or, because the spectacle was not as grand as before. We only saw five owls, fewer than the dozen or so I’d seen last year. Nevertheless, it was worth the trip and the extra layering of clothing. Besides the owls on logs, we saw two owls close up in flight, one screeching, lots of bald eagles and herons, and winter views of the Cascades, Mt. Baker and the water towards Washington that were mesmerizing.
The Boundary Bay park is adjacent to farmland and horse country, with ditches lining both sides of 64th Street leading to the dike walkway. On our way in, we spotted several herons standing up straight in the fields. On our way out, as dusk turned into dark, we caught sight of them in the watery ditches plucking vittles.
Happily there were no assholes present like the one last year who defied signs instructing watchers to stay on the dike and not approach the owls.