Searching for Snowies

Several weeks ago, reports came pouring in of Snowy Owl sightings throughout Indiana. Normally restricted to much more Northern regions, depleted food resources had driven some down to our neck of the woods. Our initial planned trip was scrubbed because of dangerous weather conditions, but we quicky rescheduled for this past Saturday. Amazingly a group of eleven people managed to wake up and meet at 6:00 in the morning and drive out to Indiana Dunes State Park. The search was on. The group parked at the nature center and hiked a loop that combined sections of trails 7, 8, the beach trail, and the campground. The trail started as a ridge line connecting two large dune peaks that we summited. From there we descended to the lakeshore and played around on the strange frozen beach landscape. Finally we followed a bright orange river back to the car. Though it was a great hike, we did not see the prized bird we were looking for. A small group of us continued on, visiting some small Nature Conservansy lands and cruising some roads that had been recent hotspots, but we ended up returning home that evening without a single Snowy Owl sighting. Its possile that the cold snap earlier in the week drove them all farther South, or its possible that we just got unlucky, but still, keep your eyes open out there.

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