Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Snowy Owl and Other Wildlife of the Russian Arctic

A male Snowy Owl on Wrangel Island in the Russian Arctic. The island is one of the best places in the world to see this much desired species. I saw an estimated 100 in the five days we were around Wrangel Island, as the birds are conspicuous in the short tundra.
A female, showing the characteristic darker markings. The owls feed entirely on the two lemming species on the island.  Lemming populations go through cycles and numbers had crashed this year, so the owls had a poor nesting season.
Arctic Foxes were quite common on Wrangel Island. Like this one, all were shedding their summer pelage, with winter coming on.
A Northern Pika, common in rocky outcrops in the Russian Arctic.
Arctic Ground-Squirrel, common and trusting in the Russian Arctic tundra.
Woolly Mammoths survived on Wrangel Island in the Russian Arctic long after they became extinct elsewhere. They survived until 3500 years ago and their tusks are found around the island.  This one is being held by one of the Russian park rangers.


  1. Great photos Greg. The snowy owl is my all time favorite bird. Would love to visit that place someday

  2. Thanks Jez. Yes, I had wanted to see this species for so long... it was new for me but now I think I have seen more snowy owls than any other owl species I have seen.