The owl is east of Island Pond and 2.5 miles further east of the John Boyland State Airport on Route 105. A snowmobile crosses the highway at a large pull-off on the north side of the road.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Sunday, February 7. After seeing reports over the past several weeks of the two Northern Hawk-Owls wintering in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, I decided to check out the bird in Ferdinand. Arriving at about noon and parking my vehicle at the pull-off on Route 105 I only had to walk 30 yards or so on the snowmobile trail before spotting the owl perched low in a small tree next to the railroad tracks. Not having my camera with me I walked back to the vehicle to get it and in the meantime several snowmobiles sped past the bird causing it take flight and land at the very top of a tall spruce located a bit further down the trail and within a short distance of the Nulhegan River. Range, sight angle and lighting were not the best for digiscoping, but then the owl made a bee line for the shoulder of the tracks setting on the snow only briefly before flying to a nearby dead snag tree. There, I was able to snap off a few shots, two of which I have posted here. I suspected the owl possibly saw a potential meal and made an attempt to get it, but with binocs to my eyes as it flew to and sat in the snag I saw nothing out of the ordinary. Not until I got back home, downloaded the photos and was going through the images did I notice the owl indeed had a successful hunt. In the photo below you will see the rear half of a vole visibly in its talons. That was certainly an unexpected find making the three hour drive to northern Vermont all the more rewarding.