And Then There Were…None?

Scott WeidensaulUpdatesLeave a Comment

Otter’s location April 8, 2024, near the mouth of the Albany River. (Google)

Sorry for the lapse in updates; I was traveling last week, then last Thursday and Friday we here in northern New England got walloped with up to two feet of heavy, wet snow, which brought down uncountable trees and limbs, closed many roads and left hundreds of thousands of people without power, some of whom are still waiting for restoration. It’s been an interesting few days.

And during that time, it appears our lingering snowy owls have all headed north, out of cell range at least for the time being. The first to pull a vanishing act was Newton, who last checked in March 26 from his winter-long haunts near Heaslip and Tomstown, ON. One day he was there, the next he was not — which, given how far north he wintered, and the paucity of the cell network north of there, is perhaps not surprising.

Atwood’s last transmission was April 1, when she was still near Kapuskasing, ON, where she’d been hanging around for several weeks. Again, she was already at the northern margin of cell service, so it probably didn’t take much northward movement to take her entirely out of range.

That left Loren, who remained on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River near Maskinongé, QC. She last checked in April 6, but has missed the last two days and seems likely to have moved north. Because she was fairly far south, it’s possible we may hear from her again as she migrates north — but no guarantee. There are a lot of holes in the cell network through which an owl can move undetected.

The one bird we’re still able to track is Otter, thanks to his hybrid satellite/GSM transmitter. He missed his Monday transmission last week (the satellite side of the unit only does a once-a-week check), but today he had moved up the west coast of James Bay, and was apparently out on the ice near the mouth of the Albany River, not far from Fort Albany. (A note, as always, that Otter’s satellite track data will not show up on his online map.)

More news on this winter’s owls when we have it, but this may well be the final curtain on this slow but interesting season. That said, we’ll have other news to share in the weeks and months ahead on other aspects of Project SNOWstorm’s ongoing work, none of which would be possible without all of you and your generous support through the years.

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