99.99% on Bozeman Snowy Owl
I'm going throw this out in the hopes that some one can verify it or
get a picture of an albino Great Horned or other large owl.
Written up immediately after I got home and e-maild to Lou Ann
Harris, who will be looking, as will I, for it tomorrow.
"At about 1500 I was heading back into town after X/C skiing on the
newest ski trails in the Gallatin Valley - Spain Bridge Subd. off
airport road. At the last minute I decided to drive McIllhatten and
then dropped into Riverside to get into the Manley Meadows Subd.
I was just past the house under construction that has the nice
vertical wood siding and about abeam the finished one when I saw a
flock of C Raven chasing a very light colored bird toward me (100 to
150 ft high). My first impression was that it was a very light phase
Rough-legged Hawk. When I got stopped, they were circling just to
the drivers side of the road. I put my binoculars on it and didn't
see the black wrist marks and then realized that I was looking at an
What I saw through a dozen or so circles and dips and dives: first
impression was brilliant white underneath and face, wing span
apparently the same as the ravens, overall larger than a Great Horned
Owl, underwing leading edge a little dark (narrow strip), top of wing
gray brown (not as gray as Sibley shows for a 1st winter) with the
tips a bit lighter - not the dark and buffy patches of a Short-eared
The mob started to move north so I put the binoc's down and reached
for Sibley. Got a couple of more 11X looks @ 200 yds as I was
fumbling to find the pages for the Short-eared. While I was glancing
up and down - seems like the ravens quit it about over the old
railroad grade - I finally lost the owl and don't know if it dropped
into the willows south of McIllhattan or continued north toward the
Sypes Canyon ridge. I'm going to send this and the check the
internet for more color patterns."
I have found some browner phased pictures on the internet, but the
few flying pictures don't show any darkness on the underneath leading
Also, yesterday I was talking to a non-birding lady who saw a Snowy
Owl in the East Gallatin Recreation Area (about 1/2 mile SE of this
sighting) on a very cold day about 3 weeks ago.
Comments expected and welcomed.