The Snowy Owls come to Boundary Bay to over-winter, and that attracts many photographers. The birds tend to shy away from the dike where the photographers set up. (Photographers are, quite rightly, discouraged from approaching the birds) The birds are used to a certain amount of privacy as they are only observed closely by birders with relatively unassuming field scopes. Then here we come with a gargantuan telephoto lens.
Actually these birds are quite used to large lenses and ours isn't among the biggest. We just haven't seen the owls open their eyes quite so wide and have no idea what caused this one to do so.