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In search of the Phantom of the North

The Great Gray Owl is North America’s largest owl by height and wingspan. They are rarely seen, hence the name “Phantom”. They live in the boreal forests of North America, Scandinavia, and Northern Russia. Although rare in the Adirondacks, one was spotted in Keene. So one cold March afternoon we went searching for it.

We drove about two hours to the location of the last sighting. Luck was with us. Fortunately the Great Gray hunts in open areas at the forest’s edge and we arrived just in time to see it perched a quarter of a mile away in a small tree watching for voles and field mice in the snow.

We got our spotting scope and camera set up and managed to get a few pictures before it abruptly flew away. The Grey Owl’s camouflage pattern of light and dark grey blends perfectly with tree bark making it virtually invisible. We felt lucky to have been able to catch a brief glimpse of this magnificent owl before it disappeared into the frozen north woods

1 Comment
  1. My father and brother were on a trip many years ago out west and very saddley they foand one along the road that had been hit by a car it had been there for a day and they had brought it back with them and they had something done with it. I don’t know what my father did with it. That was so many years ago both my brother and my father have passed away since then. I just remember how big the bird was when I was a kid. I remember the eyes and the feet and the wings, truly a magnificent bird. One of God’s gifts to the world.

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