Meet Chaumont!

Scott WeidensaulUpdates6 Comments

Tom McDonald shows the striking plumage of Chaumont, an adult male snowy owl Tom tagged near the upstate New York town of the same name (©Tom McDonald)

Tom McDonald shows the striking plumage of Chaumont, an adult male snowy owl that Tom tagged near the upstate New York town of the same name (©Tom McDonald)

Chaumont, the latest snowy owl to receive a transmitter. (©Tom McDonald)

Chaumont, the latest snowy owl to receive a transmitter. (©Tom McDonald)

On Saturday, SNOWstorm collaborator Tom McDonald tagged the latest addition to the family — an adult male snowy owl he’s nicknamed Chaumont (pronounced “Shaa-moe”), for the small town at the extreme eastern end of Lake Ontario, just a few miles from the Canadian border, where he was captured.

“He is at least a third-, if not a fourth-year male, and weighed in at 1726 grams,” Tom reported. Like many (but by no means all) fully adult male snowies, he has very white, lightly marked plumage — a really stunning owl, as these images show.

Chaumont may have moved out onto the ice that’s forming on Chaumont Bay and eastern Lake Ontario, because his transmitter didn’t check in Tuesday night. We learned last winter to be patient with owls wintering along the Great Lakes, because as soon as the lake ice forms, they tend to move out away from land (and thus cell coverage) to hunt the ice margins for ducks and other waterbirds.

Although, aside from Lake Erie, the Great Lakes aren’t as frozen as last year at this time, today’s NOAA Coast Watch satellite images showed that extensive ice has formed across the northeastern toe of Lake Ontario, between Henderson Bay in New York and Prince Edward Point in Ontario. To a snowy owl, that’s a happy hunting ground in the most literal sense.

The latest NOAA satellite image shows ice building on the bays of northeastern Lake Ontario, near Chaumont, NY (MODIS imagery courtesy NOAA Coast Watch)

The latest NOAA satellite image shows ice building on the bays of northeastern Lake Ontario, near Chaumont, NY – great hunting habitat for snowy owls. (MODIS imagery courtesy NOAA Coast Watch)

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6 Comments on “Meet Chaumont!”

  1. Beautiful!! But..correct local pronunciation of Chaumont….is Shaa-moe….lol…soft a…hard o…

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