Early on the morning of January 3, 2014, I headed from my home in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, to Little Talbot Island on the coast of Florida about 16 miles north of me. I had heard in the local news that a rare sighting this far south of a Snowy Owl had occured, so I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph it. That day was one of the coldest days we had experienced in a long time, so I bundled up, packed my camera gear, and drove to Little Talbot Island.
One of our local TV news outlets, News4Jax, reported the Owl event with this report-
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A snowy owl is making a rare appearance in Northeast Florida.
By Ashley Spicer - Reporter, anchor
One of the Arctic birds arrived last week in Little Talbot Island State Park and the latest sighting was Friday morning. It's only the third-ever sighting of a snowy owl confirmed in Florida.
Park services specialist Peter Maholland says bird watchers have been flocking to northeast Florida to catch a glimpse of the white bird.
"All of our birding enthusiasts are just excited, as you can imagine, to come and see something they probably wouldn't have had the chance to see in their lifetime," Maholland said. "So everyone is coming from all over the place."
Experts say snowy owls fly farther south when their population spikes or their food source becomes scarce. An invasion of snowy owls has been reported this winter across the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
I was lucky enough to see and photograph the owl that morning. Here are several of my photos of the Snowy Owl from that cold morning- [Click on a Photo to Enlarge It!]
News4Jax has more photos and an interesting short (less than 2 minute) video about the Owl's visit on its website at News4Jax. I recommend you check it out.