Queen of the Island: My Favourite Snowy Owl

Today was the last day of 2015, and it’s been a great one.   I got to visit my favourite Snowy Owl- the Queen of the Island.


This morning I got up early and headed down to Presqu’ile Park for a hike out to Gull Island.


Right now, Gull Island looks like this.  Required footwear for the hike varies, but today it consisted of tall rubber boots with ice cleats strapped on to them.    A very fashionable ensemble.


Hiking out the the island I am never alone, as the lake is teeming with waterfowl such as these little Long Tailed Ducks.

IMG_0924And mallards….woah, look out behind you!!!!

IMG_1161Each year, a female Snowy makes Gull Island her home.   I don’t really know if it is always the same one.    But I do know that many Snowy Owls enjoy winter territories around the Great Lakes each year.    It’s the easy access to waterfowl that keeps them coming back.


Today I initially found the Queen sitting on a duck blind.   Isn’t it nice of the park staff to set these up for her?    She checked me out, then fell back to sleep.


Snowy Owls are wild, and do not tolerate people if we get too close.   I have learned to stay far back, stay still, and then the owl will just go about its business instead of flying away.    My long lens helps, as does heavily cropping photos when I get home.

IMG_1159I always take a plastic garbage bag in my backpack so I can sit down on it and wait, and watch, without soaking my pants.   Eventually the owl took off right over me to go hunt over the lake.


She flew back to the island and landed on the “Access Prohibited” sign, then gave me a little wink.   OK, I am anthropomorphizing here.   Again.


After swooping down over the island looking for rodents she landed back up on a post.  I love how her feathers were blowing in the wind, and how I can see the fuzz on her face when she turns sideways.  Once again, I waited to see what would happen.

IMG_1331Off she flew, right over me! What a beauty! New Year’s Eve is always kind of like Thanksgiving for me.   I look back on the year, and think about all the things I am thankful for.


I am so fortunate that I live in such a beautiful part of the world, where I can visit wild creatures like the Snowy Owl who fill me with such awe.   I can’t think of a better way to spend the last day of 2015.

Thank you for sharing my journey with me, and Happy New Year!

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  1. Thank you, Leslie and Happy New Year. We are also the lucky ones because you share your beautiful photos with us. Awesome pictures of this lovely Snowy!

  2. Thank you again, Leslie. Love that your queen decided to spent the last day of the year with you. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  3. Happy New a Year Leslie …Thank you for sharing your adventures into nature via your photos and comments … I really look forward to your emails .All the best for 2016 ! Cheers !

  4. You’ve made my day! These are awesome and your perspectives, as always, enlightening.
    Happy New Years. 365 more to look forward to.
    Cheers, Cheryl

    • Hi Cheryl! Happy New Year to you too! Glad you like the Queen of the Island. She is pretty special. Aren’t we lucky to live in a place where we can see such beautiful wild creatures?

  5. haha, in the winking photo she looks drunk! Looks like you had a wonderful day yesterday! Your owl Queen friend is gorgeous!

    • Well she had to celebrate New Years too! I agree she is gorgeous. Pretty sure she is the same one that comes every year, as she acts the same and has the same territory. I should ask her next time I see her.

  6. Lorraine Fargey MacDougall

    Have a great 2016, Leslie! Once again your beautiful photography has made me participate with you in your excursions into our wonderful habitats of nature that that surround us in this region. Thank you!

    • Thanks Lorraine! Happy New Year to you too! Why not jump in the car and head to Presqu’ile? It’s spectacular in the winter.

  7. Wonderful, won
    derful. What a day you had….and I am sure that was a wink!

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