Sunday, March 8, 2015

Snowy winter has lots of fans

By David Horst

Faithful reader Alice Wagner posed this question after seeing my last column, which recounted the saga of me trying to photograph a female snowy owl my wife and I were seeing regularly near the Outagamie County Regional Airport.
Photos by Jordan Feucht
“I wondered, how do you know this is one owl, the same owl, at each different place you and your wife saw it?” Alice asked.

I explained that the black bar pattern on the owl identified it as a female. The pattern, which can vary substantially among individuals, and the close proximity of the sightings left me fairly confident we were seeing the same owl, a winter visitor for the arctic driven south by a short food supply.

Then comes an email from Jordan Feucht of Appleton that demonstrated that, while we may have been seeing the same owl, it wasn’t alone.

Jordan worked security at the Oshkosh Truck building on State 96 near the airport where our owl frequently perched. Photos he shot with his smartphone show there was a male companion, nearly pure white in color.

A shot he took through a chain link fence gives the eerie impression of a snowy owl doing hard prison time.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Snowy makes elusive photo subject

By David Horst

The Outagamie County Regional Airport’s owl has been leading me on quite a chase.

It's a snowy owl, an occasional visitor from the arctic who takes a foodie vacation in Wisconsin when its favorite rodent back home, the lemming, falls into short supply.

This has been one of those years, which is odd because so was last year.


My wife spotted the snowy near the airport first. She was driving down State 96 and saw it on a utility pole.

A week or so later, I was scanning the airport perimeter with jealousy still in my heart, when I saw outstretched wings directly above my truck. The figure was white and it had the unmistakeable wide head of an owl.

Having seen it, my next challenge was to photograph it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Each lost pet leaves a scar

Truffula in 2014
By David Horst

Every pet makes a mark on your heart. The death of each leaves a scar.

On another farm, Truffula would have been livestock. At our Sandhilll Llama Farm, they are all pets.

Truffula was our matriarch. She was the top of the pecking order in a small herd that includes her son, Thidwick, and her grandson, Horton. Dr. Seuss fans will recognize a pattern.