A Needle in the Haystack

November 11, 2018

Today I went out looking for a needle in a haystack. Seriously. I was told via a friend on Facebook that a snowy owl had been spotted at the Kalamazoo Airport!! I couldn’t get out the door fast enough this morning hoping to get a picture!

The Kalamazoo Airport is a small, yet international, airport. It’s full name is Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport. All of the runway area, where the snowy owl was reportedly hanging out, is surrounded by tall fences. The best pictures I could even hope to get would be taken through a cyclone fence. I thought it was still worth a try.

As I trudged through the snow along the fence line looking for a white owl against a white background, I worried about what I might look like—a lone figure with a very long lens (not unlike a gun, perhaps) aimed directly at the runway. Hmmm. Surprisingly, no one came out to ask me what the heck I was doing!

After an hour or so, I was inclined to ask myself that very same question. I was looking for a small white bird against a very white background in a very indeterminate location. It wasn’t like the bird was going to hold up a big sign saying “Here I am”! Reluctantly, I decided to cut my losses and headed out to a different location, one that held more of a promise of birds.

Today’s bird ‘count’ includes a red tailed hawk (on the way to the airport), starlings, sparrows and seagulls (at the airport), mallards and mergansers (at the Portage bike trail)—but no snowy owls!

red tailed hawk 11-11-2018 8-12-43 AM
On the way to the airport to find the snowy owl, I spotted this red tailed hawk high in a tree so I pulled over and tried to get a picture. As I got closer and closer to the tree, he flew off, but I still got a picture!
European starling, non breeding adult 11-11-2018 8-53-06 AM
There were starlings all over the place near the airport. I think they’re beautiful birds!
European starling, non breeding adult 11-11-2018 9-00-32 AM
Two more starlings
house sparrow 11-11-2018 8-31-44 AM
When I didn’t have any luck finding the snowy owl at the airport, I looked for other birds–even sparrows made the cut!
mergansers and mallard 11-11-2018 10-06-03 AM
The mallards and the mergansers were all hanging out together.
merganser 11-11-2018 10-05-25 AM
Female merganser with quite the hairdo!
mergansers 11-11-2018 9-43-03 AM
Male and female mergansers along the Portage Bike Trail


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