Snowy Owl Irruption Watch 2013-14

Snowy Owl Sightings -

The winter of 2013-2014 is proving to be one of the biggest Snowy Owl irruptions in years, even though owls just started arriving in the Mid-Atlantic region during the last two weeks. Here we will be trying to keep an updated account of all the Snowy Owl activity in the Mid-Atlantic states during this irruption season and score each bird based on their markings.

Snowy Owl County Map

We will be trying to keep this as up-to-date as possible, but with so many owl reports coming in it will be tough, if you could help us out and leave comments with links to photos, updates, or any other useful information that would be awesome!

Delaware | Pennsylvania | New Jersey | Maryland | Virginia | North Carolina | South Carolina

Delaware – 8 owls reported

Kent County

11/26: Dover Air Force Base (photo 1, photo 2)- The bird was seen through the morning of 11/27, but has not be observed since then (David Curtiss). 11/29: Port Mahon Rd- The bird showed well for an hour or two before flying out of sight (Anthony Gonzon). 12/1: Bombay Hook NWR- Anthony found another Snowy Owl on 12/1 north of Shearness Pool at Bombay Hook NWR that continues to be seen through 12/5. The bird was on a deer stand in the bayside marsh (Anthony Gonzon). 12/7: Townsend area – one bird in a field east of the Rt. 9 and Union Church Rd. intersection (Charlie Long). 12/9: Leipsic area – one bird perched on an irrigation line along Rt. 8. The irrigation line was on the south side of Rt. 8 (eastbound side), just west of the grain silos at Quaker Lane/Cartanza Rd., but before Long Point Rd (Anthony Gonzon). 12/16: Port Mahon Rd. – possibly continuing; one bird observed on the second broken pier (Deborah Climie); one bird continues through 12/21 (Frank Marenghi).

Sussex County

11/28: Cape Henlopen State Park. (Jen Ottinger). 11/29: Cape Henlopen bird seen again by David Fees, but hasn’t been seen since. 11/29: Indian River Life-Saving Station- single bird near the Indian River Life-Saving Station, which is just south of Rehoboth Beach (June Wheeler). 11/30: Two owls were seen within 200 meters of each other in the same area. At least one continues to be seen through 12/16; at least one bird continues through 12/22. 12/5: near Prime Hook NWR – bird on an irrigation pipe on the West side of DE 1 between Sylvan Acres Rd. & Clifton/Truitt Rd. (Bob Strahorn). 12/11: Cape Henlopen State Park – up to three owls observed by enforcement officers in the dunes at The Point (Chris Bennett); one bird continues through 12/21. 12/22: DuPont Nature Center – Mispillion Inlet – one bird perched on the south jetty and then the north the morning of the CBC (Chris Bennett).

New Castle County

12/1: Single bird found south of Port Penn at the intersection of Belts Rd and Bayview Rd in a harvested cornfield. Bird was seen for most of the afternoon before flying out of sight and has not been relocated (Hilary Sullivan). 12/6: Wilmington area – single bird being harassed by Peregrine Falcons on the roof of 1105 N. Market. The owl was near the Market Street edge, visible from Rodney Square at 11th and Market Streets (Greg Inskip); Delaware City – one bird observed at the end of the C&D Canal (Christopher Rowe). 12/19: Lukens Dr. in New Castle – one bird reported in a field next to the Reach Academy for Girls (Bill Stewart); a second bird joined the first on 12/21 (Sally O’Byrne); a third joined on 12/22 (Colin Campbell); at least one bird continues through 12/25 (Susan Love).

Delaware | Pennsylvania | New Jersey | Maryland | Virginia | North Carolina | South Carolina

Pennsylvania – 37 owls reported

Berks County (2 owls reported)

11/25: Reading- A Snowy had to be chased from a hanger at the Reading Regional Airport by the airport manager. Not seen on 12/5 (Kerry Grim). 11/27: Myerstown- Sitting on the roof of Shank Door at 165 Greble Road. Seen for the rest of the afternoon, but then moved and was last seen crossing Rt. 501 and was thought to be hunting the fields along Deck Road. Not seen since (Loretta Gehman).

Centre County (5 owls reported)

11/30: Centre Hall- Snowy Owl perched on ground in farm fields along Williams Rd. Flew off to west around 1:30pm and not refound since (Jim Dunn). 12/2: State College- Snowy Owl found after dark by Jordan and Ken Hillsley, perched on a telephone pole along Circleville Rd. Seen again at sunrise on 12/3 but then flew SW and was not re-found. 12/4: Bellefonte- Found by homeowners and seen by many birders while it sat in a field for most of the day, before flying off a little after sunset (multiple reporters). 12/7: Snow Shoe- Snowy Owl found along Rusnak Hill Rd near Clarence and Snow Shoe. The owl was sitting on a mound of dirt and rocks near the fenced-in retention pond along the North side of the road (approximate location of the owl: 41.064564,-77.904466) (Alex Lamoreaux). 12/8: The county’s 5th owl of the season was found by members of the Penns Valley Conservation Association near Fisher’s Shoe & Saddle Shop in Madisonburg, PA. This is just off Brush Valley Rd (PA 192, PA445) in the fields on the road. Additional members of the PVCA were out looking on Monday, but couldn’t find the owl again. The general location is around 201 Madisonburg Pike Rd, Madisonburg, PA (Alex Lamoreaux).

Chester County (1 owl reported but same individual as seen in Delaware County)

12/4: The bird reported in Delaware County on 12/4 ended up crossing the border into Chester County, and was seen perched on a garage roof along Rt 252 (Al Guarente). The bird then flew off to the NW and was not re-found (Alan Crawford).

Clarion County (1 owl reported)

12/10: New Bethlehem- Perched on a telephone pole near intersection of S. Reidsburg Rd and Huber Rd (Carole Winslow).

Clearfield County (1 owl reported)

12/4: Morrisdale- Discovered by homeowners, perched in their backyard (Asta Broskley).

Crawford County (1 owl reported)

12/2: 10796 Shadeland Road- Reported by Amish birders, on their farm and confirmed by Clare Nicolls (Clare Nicolls).

Dauphin County (1 owl reported)

12/9: Harrisburg PA Game Commission Office- Seen and video-taped near offices (PGC).

Delaware County (1 owl reported but same individual as seen in Chester County)

12/4: Newtown Square- Win Shafer spotted 1 Snowy Owl along Rt 252 just a quarter mile N of St. David’s Rd. It was perched on a utility pole around 7:30am and then moved near the intersection of Whitehorse Rd and Rt 252 (Bert Filemyr).

Erie County (At least 8 owls reported)

11/23: Snowy Owl at Gull Point on Presque Isle S.P. (Roger Dunn). 11/25: One bird perched on a groin below Manchester Heights east of the Walnut Creek Access late in the afternoon and it was still there after sunset (Jerry McWilliams). The 11/23 Snowy Owl was still at Gull Point, so it is likely these are two different birds. 11/26: Two Snowy Owls together at Gull Point on Presque Isle S.P. Jerry suspected one of the owls was the one reported 11/25 east of the Walnut Creek Access area, since the bird was not present there on the morning of the 26th. The Walnut Creek Access area is about 10 miles west of Gull Point. Later in the morning the owls were seen well apart. The darker one was sitting on the beach at the south side of Gull Point, which could be seen from Beach 11, and the other was working its way west along the beach down the north side of Gull Point. (Jerry McWilliams11/30: Two owls at Gull Point and a third at Beach 6 (Jerry McWilliams). 12/1: At least three birds continue (James Hausman III). 12/2: Confirmation of 4 individual owls on Presque Isle, as there are three birds with a score of 4 — two were seen at Gull Point and a third was seen at Breakwall 6 and has an injured left eye (Jerry McWilliams). 12/4: No reports from Presque Isle SP (Jerry McWilliams). 12/5: Wattsburg- Farmer reported a Snowy around their farm which had been present for a few days at that point. The bird was near the 13885 Macedonia Road. 12/5: No reports from Presque Isle SP (Jerry McWilliams). 12/5: Erie- Brian Berchtold photographed one owl sitting on a log at the Ainsworth Beach in Erie this morning and he said it eventually flew heading east towards Gull Point. A minimum of 7 individual Snowy Owls are believed to be different birds since Nov. 23rd around Presque Isle in Erie (Jerry McWilliams). 12/7: Erie- There were at least 7 Snowy Owls on the park – 5 were at Gull Point and 2 were along the outer beaches of the park at one time early this morning (Jerry McWilliams). 12/8: Erie- 5 Snowy Owls at Presque Isle SP today – 3 at Gull Point and 2 sitting on two different breakwaters off of Beach 9 (Chris Grecco).

Franklin County (1 owl reported)

12/3: Photos of a Snowy Owl popped up on Flickr from Franklin County- looking into details (Dustin Welch).

Juniata County (1 owl reported)

12/7: McAlisterville- There was a group of people who stopped into Lost Creek Shoe Shop today and told Adan Troyer about a Snowy Owl that was found on the CCC Rd between Rte 235 in Juniata County and Rte 104 in Snyder County. They saw it for at least 15 minutes then it flew south into what Aden called Varner Hollow or Valley. So that would have been a Snyder County sighting and then a Juniata County sighting.” Additional searching into “Varner Hollow” by Chad determined that the location was at “the second hollow once you get on Shade Mtn Rd, also known as the CCC Rd. This bird may have crossed over into Snyder County as well (Chad Kaufman).

Lancaster County (4+ owls reported)

12/3: New Holland- Snowy owl on silo at 429 Voganville Rd (Frank Haas). 12/5: Ephrata- A Snowy Owl was photographed in the late afternoon yesterday on a house roof in a development behind Agway along Rt 322 west of Ephrata (Tim Becker). 12/9: Lancaster City- Snowy Owl found by Ange Horst on top of abandoned tobacco warehouse at North Prince and West James Streets. There are two chimneys it’s flying back and forth from (Ad Crable). Later seen perched on a chimney on the corner of N Market Street at the PPL substation parking area. It became more active toward 5:00pm, finally flying from the area shortly after (Meredith Lombard). 12/22: Another bird found in Southern Lancaster County along Salem Rd (Pamela Fisher).

Lebanon County (1 owl reported)

12/2: Palmyra- Tim Becker received a photo of a Snowy Owl that was sitting on the roof of a person’s car on Apple Blossom Lane. This is on the east end of town across Rt 422 from the Dairy Queen. When the person went out to start their car the owl was last seen flying in the direction of the Dairy Queen (Tim Becker).

Lehigh County (2 owls reported)

12/5: Allentown- Snowy Owl found at the Queen City Airport perched on sign next to runway (James Funk). 12/8: Trexlertown- Snowy Owl moving along either side of Rte 100 within about a ¼ mile north of Rte 222. Later seen on the east side of Rte 100 just north of the bypass. It then flew north along Rte 100 and perched on one of the light posts at the Homewood Suites (Jeff Hopkins). 12/9: Trexlertown- Owl was still very close to Rt 100 today, north of the interchange with Rt 222. It was on a pile of dirt on the left side of Industrial Drive west (Jason Horn). 12/10: The Snowy Owl was still near Rte 100 in the vicinity of Trexlertown/Fogelsville this afternoon. As of 1:15pm, it was sitting in a field on the ground, just about 30 yards south of the Homewood Suites parking lot located at the intersection of Rte 100 and Industrial Blvd, and had been there for at least an hour (Adam Smith).

Mifflin County (1 owl reported)

12/8: Burnham- Snowy Owl perched on the ground near Derry Township Community Building photographed by Amy Hampton (Alex Lamoreaux).

Montgomery County (1 owl reported)

12/8: Harleysville- Initially reported via PA RBA by Jon C. Thele right before the snowstorm hit. Howard Eskin photographed it Monday morning (Brian Henderson).

Northampton County (1 owl reported)

11/28: Bethlehem- Photos taken by a security guard Jesse Fricker, of a Snowy in the parking lot at 2785 Commerce Center Boulevard (Dave DeReamus)

Philadelphia County (2 owls reported)

12/3: Northeast Philly Airport- Seen from the intersection of Red Lion Rd and Decatur Rd (Frank Windfelder). Seen later in the day from Academy Rd and President St (George Armistead). 12/3: Another Snowy Owl was flushed at the southern end of the Girard Point Bridge (Gerry and Chris Dewaghe).

Potter County (1 owl reported)

11/27: Galeton- Perched in a tree in the backyard of 26 Hummingbird Lane (Deb Hauptmann).

Schuylkill County (1 unconfirmed owl reported)

12/10: Possible sighting by a staff person at the Schuylkill County Airport (Dave Kruel).

Snyder County (1 owl reported)

12/7: McAlisterville- Seen Juniata County for more details.

Washington County (1 owl reported)

12/9: Cecil Township- Sitting on a fallen tree in a farmer’s field (Beth Signorini).

Delaware | Pennsylvania | New Jersey | Maryland | Virginia | North Carolina | South Carolina

New Jersey

Under Construction

Monmouth County

11/21: Sandy Hook – single bird by Plum Island restrooms (Mary Ann Laeger). Another bird was found in the same exact area (on the beach) on 11/22 (Linda Widdop) – both birds continue through 12/2.

Cape May County

12/1: Stone Harbor Point – two birds observed and continue through 12/4 (Tom Johnson); Corson’s Inlet SP – bird in the dunes on the north side of the inlet (Tom Johnson) 12/2: Avalon Seawatch – two birds flew in off the water a few minutes apart at about 3pm, both perching on the 8th Street Jetty (Calvin Brennan) 12/4: North Cape May/Higbee Dike – bird seen on jetty in North Cape May, then flew down to Higbee Dike (Will Kerling). Two Mile Beach/Cape May Harbor – bird seen on jetty from two different locations (unclear if there is more than one bird) (Chris Hajduk); Waverly Blvd – one bird seen flying SW offshore (Tom Johnson).

Atlantic County

11/27: Brigantine/Forsythe NWR – one bird in the NE corner of the wildlife drive, sitting atop an Osprey platform (Tom Reed) and a second bird was found in the same vicinity (east pool) on 11:29 (Peter Bacinski). The two birds continued through 12/2, but only a single individual continues through 12/5.

Ocean County

12/2: Barnegat Lighthouse SP – not sure of initial location (Anthony Uhrich), but continues through 12/4 on the beach at Sedge Island (Anna Mindel); Jackson Liberty High School – last spotted on soccer field (Donna Murawski); Tuckerton area – two birds seen from the south end of Great Bay Blvd/Holgate across the inlet (Chris Magarelli12/3: Cedar Creek Golf Course – one bird photographed by grounds crew (Tom Rickmers).

Delaware | Pennsylvania | New Jersey | Maryland | Virginia | North Carolina | South Carolina


Worchester County

11/24: Assateague Island National Seashore – seen near the north parking lot (Jim Last Name?)

Calvert County

12/4: Dares Beach – first seen at the top of the hill off Windcliff Rd. (Tyler Bell), but moved to Goldstein Rd. on 12/5.

Baltimore County

11/26: Hart-Miller Island – two birds seen (second one observed on 12/2) (Bob Ringler).  12/3: Fort McHenry National Monument – seen on warehouse that is visible from the Living Memorials trail (Jim Meyers/Lou Nielsen) – seen through 12/4. 12/3: North Point State Park – north side of causeway at Black Marsh (Brent Byers) – seen through 12/4.

Talbot County

11/20: Poplar Island – observed and photographed by research scentists and was last seen on 11/22 (Tim Carney) 12/1: Clairborn Area – private land with no access (Joe Subolefsky)
Cecil County
12/5: Port Deposit area – unconfirmed report of a bird in a cornfield near the intersection of Post, Hopewell, and Red Toad roads (Sean McCandless)
Frederick County
11/22: Frederick Airport – Airport Assistant Manager photographed on bird (Mike Kerwin) 12/5: near Frederick – bird is in the field along the east side of Rt. 15, directly across from the 7-11/Sunoco
about a half-mile north of Biggs Ford Road, north of Frederick (Phil Davis).
Snowy Owl - Tim Carney

Snowy Owl at Assateague Island National Seashore on 24 November 2013. Photo by Tim Carney.

Delaware | Pennsylvania | New Jersey | Maryland | Virginia | North Carolina | South Carolina

Virginia – 5 owls reported

Rockingham County

11/21: Bird observed for only one day along Singers Glen Rd (Clair Mellinger). 12/3: Rushville Rd. – bird present at sunset in Dayton at junction of Rushville Road and Coakleytown Road (Kevin Shank).

Loudoun County

11/30: Dulles Airport – bird on gray box to the north of runway marker ‘S/W3’ (Perri Borowiecki) – continues through 12/4 where the bird was sitting on a post near the big yellow sign for “Y9/Y11”. Look directly southwest from the southwest corner of the daily parking lot #2 (Dave Larsen).

Chesterfield County

11/24: Single bird found near Dutch Gap, Chesterfield Co, and was apparently a one day/observer wonder (Cathy Gajewski).

Northampton County

12/5: Kiptopeke State Park – bird seen the Taylor Pond and the day use picnic areas (Stephen Living).

Manassass County

12/4: Manassass Airport – single bird seen southwest of the end of the Wakeman Drive cul-de-sac perched on a white sign in front of the airport hangars (Todd Michael Day) and continues through 12/5.

Delaware | Pennsylvania | New Jersey | Maryland | Virginia | North Carolina | South Carolina

North Carolina- 3 owls reported

Dare County

11/26:  Cape Point, Cape Hatteras National Seashore and continues through 12/3 (Jeff Lewis).

Hyde County

Wake County

12/2: Snowy Owl photographed in Raleigh. 12/3: Not relocated.

Snowy Owl, Dare Co, NC - Nate Swick

Snowy Owl at Cape Point, Cape Hatteras, Dare Co, NC on 26 November 2013. Photo by Nate Swick.

Delaware | Pennsylvania | New Jersey | Maryland | Virginia | North Carolina | South Carolina

South Carolina- 1 owl reported

Charleston County

12/2: Facebook post that a Snowy Owl was found on Lighthouse Island in Cape Romain by a refuge volunteer. Access was by boat only. 12/3: Not refound