By Mike Busch
Now that the Snowy Owls have headed back to the Arctic Tundra, we have lifted the ban on Snowy Owl photos posted by the Long Island Wildlife Photography Group. The reason we do this is to keep pressure off the birds. Most members know not to flush the owls for a photo but we have seen some awful behavior and just don’t want to make the problem worse.
For those of you new to these beautiful winter visitors to the south shore beaches, Grace Scalzo wrote up a great piece on Snowy Owls and the best way to approach and photograph them here. She also included some of her fantastic images.
I don’t have any hard data on how many Owls spent the winter here but it seemed to be fewer than the last several years. Jim Botta, who picked out most of the photos below, thinks there were about four in the Jones Beach vicinity and 2 or 3 on the east end. Their numbers will vary every year because they mainly eat lemmings. When the availability of lemmings in the tundra is reduced for whatever reason, the Snowy Owls will fan out into Northern America in search of food in what is called an Irruption.
As soon as I saw the Snowy Owl in heavy snow posted by Christopher Carl I knew that would be the cover shot.
Below are just some of the best Snowy Owl images posted on the Long Island Wildlife Page shortly after the embargo was lifted. If you have time, scroll through all 8 pages!
More Photos on pages 2-8