By Mike Busch

The Long Island Wildlife Photography Group hit another milestone this week, surpassing 12,000 members.  Beyond just the number of members, the activity of the group is incredible.  So far year to date there have been over 25,ooo separate posts, 175,000 comments and 1.2 million reactions.

I started the group in  May 2014 about a month after I picked up my first entry-level DSLR with a kit zoom lens.  I wish I could say I had some kind of big plan but honestly I just wanted somewhere to post my wildlife shots and not annoy my Facebook friends with out of focus bird shots.   One of the keys to wildlife photography is practice and posting your shots in a public forum and figuring out what works is an invaluable learning tool.

The page runs smoothly thanks to the help of a great group of administrators and of course the active members.  Facebook has its share of problems but this page has stayed above the fray and become a community of like-minded, nice people who share a love for the outdoors and the environment.  I am amazed each week by the wild stuff people manage to find and the quality of the photography continues to improve week over week.  It has become a great place to appreciate local wildlife everyday even if you don’t have the time or ability to get out there yourself.  Thanks to everyone that contributes or visits this great group!

This week’s highlights include several Peregrine Falcon, Buff Breasted Sandpipers,  Pectoral Sandpiper, Bobolink, Golden Plover and even a Portuguese Man-of-War.

This week’s cover goes to Brian Doherty with a fantastic image of a breaching Humpback Whale off Jones Beach.  Brian and his wife Kathie Rokita had an amazing adventure with dolphins and whales last weekend and came back with some of the best breaching whale shots you will ever see.  Stay tuned for a full story about their encounters with a full gallery in the near future.

If you have time check out all 6 pages of images below!

Rainy Sepulveda | Bald Eagle

Dan Fiore | Pectoral Sandpiper

Jeanne Eggers | Peregrine Falcon

Jimmy Johnny | Bald Eagle

Christopher Carl | Great Blue Heron

Brian Doherty | Humpback Whale

Barbara Lash | Buff Breasted Sandpiper

Bob Schmitz | Osprey

More Images on Pages 2,3,4,5 and 6