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03-Jan-2015: The following post has been updated. Northside Jim of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey told me that both of the snowy owls shown below are male. A female would have been larger in size than either of them. Jim’s blogs at: https://exit63.wordpress.com/

The Holgate section of the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is on an island separate from its Brigantine section, the one I regularly frequent. For the first time today, I went to Holgate and walked along the beach, for a total of 4 miles round trip. It was worth it, as I saw not one but two snowy owls. Less than a mile from the entrance, two birders enthusiastically pointed out a male snowy owl lying on the sand.

Male snowy owl

Male snowy owl

Another mile from the above male, I saw another beautiful one. Every time my camera beeped, it turned to look at me but otherwise did not seem to mind my shooting

Female snowy owl

Snowy owl

Female snowy owl

Snowy owl

Finally it decided that I was close enough, stood up and prepared to fly away.

Female snowy owl

Snowy owl

Female snowy owl saying goodbye

Snowy owl saying goodbye

It was truly most majestic in flight, but I could not react fast enough to take any picture. Last year, I did manage to take two shots of a snowy owl, also a female, in flight. Click here to view them.

A fellow photographer told me there was a third one, a juvenile snowy owl, but I did not see it. Juveniles are not as white as adult owls, so they can be well camouflaged amid the dunes and vegetation.

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