Sheepshead Bites reader Stuart sent us these incredible photographs, along with the email below, and… what else is there to say but “WOW!”
These were taken by a friend of mine, who also is an avid fisherman in the area. He was fishing just next to Hoffman Island, which is one of the two islands, just south of the Verranzano [sic] Bridge at the entrance of New York Harbor… He had his camera with him and was most fortunate to get these magnificent pictures of what I believe to be a Snowy Owl.
According to Wikipedia, the winged wonder does appear to be the Snowy Owl, though why Mr. Owl is hangin’ loose in NYC’s unusually clement climes is anyone’s guess. According to the entry:
Snowy Owls nest in the Arctic tundra of the northernmost stretches of Alaska, Canada and Eurasia. They winter south through Canada and northern Eurasia, with irruptions occurring further south in some years. Snowy Owls are attracted to open areas like coastal dunes and prairies that appear somewhat similar to tundra. They have been reported as far south as Texas, Georgia, the American Gulf states, southern Russia, northern China, and even the Caribbean. Between 1967 and 1975, Snowy Owls bred on the remote island of Fetlar in the Shetland Isles north of Scotland, UK. Females summered as recently as 1993, but their status in the British Isles is now that of a rare winter visitor to Shetland, the Outer Hebrides and the Cairngorms. In January 2009, a Snowy Owl appeared in Spring Hill, Tennessee, the first reported sighting in the state since 1987.