’Round Town


Posted:  Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 9:00am

A few years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to share some spaces with a group of interesting characters.

Through the kindness and generosity of local friends, and the patience of a small contingent of visiting snowy owls, I managed to make a few fun images.

This adventure reminded me a bit of a trip I made in the early ’80s to Machias Seal Island off Jonesport to photograph a small community of puffin. I was so excited and “puffed up” about this experience. Imagining my “seafari” to require great and powerful lens work, I rented, what to me was, a massive Olympus telephoto so I could get good close detailed images that would launch my National Geographic career and make me a leading recorder of the impending Puffin revival so anticipated along the Maine coast.

Wrong! When we landed on the island, before first light, to slither into blinds, I discovered that my super duper big shot lens was too long. The birds came so close it wouldn’t focus!

Although the snowies were a bit less accommodating, they were not reluctant to pose just long enough for a few meaningful moments. They had become a little less wary of human presence due to frequent walkabouts nearby. Anyway, their most urgent focus was on the fat little rodents that scurried to and fro in the neighborhood — the driving force that brought the snowies south from their more native and colder northern stations. There was a bumper crop of food down here, and snowies were turning up everywhere. They even were needing to be carted off the runway at Logan airport.

Folks who track their travels are reporting snowy sightings already in the U.S. This may be a year to keep eyes open for return visits to our area. Time will tell. If the food is available and their native habitat is challenging, we may get lucky. Hope so.