By Mike Busch

The Long Island Wildlife Photography group reached another milestone last week, surpassing 15000 members!  When I started this group I just wanted a place to post my crappy wildlife photos without annoying the rest of my Facebook friends.  It has been great to watch the membership grow as the quality of the photography continually gets better. I never expected more than a handful of people to join and am thrilled we have been able to build up a great community together and make a lot of good friends along the way.  If you run into someone in the field with a big lens, the odds are very good that they are already a member.

I want to thank all the members both old and new for submitting photos, sharing knowledge, and offering feedback as we all try to learn more about the wildlife that shares our Island with us.  I know for a fact that this page offers a window for many people to see things they would never be able to observe themselves and has pushed many more out the door and away from T.V. and electronics to see what they can find for themselves.   All the administrators have been a huge help over the years but I want to give an extra shout out to Jim Botta who has stepped up and does a fantastic job of keeping things in order.  We are not just looking for big numbers and Jim spends a lot of time vetting the waiting list and trying to keep out bots and spammers.   Just looking at the stats for the last year, we added 3500 new members but turned down another 2500!   The group is also highly engaged with 39,000 posts generating 280,000 comments and over 2 million reactions in just the last 12 months.

We also encourage ethical bird and wildlife watching and impose some rules discouraging giving out location.  The bottom line is we all want to try to avoid doing anything that pressures or changes the behavior of what we are observing.

Facebook can be exhausting with all the politics and noise, it is nice to have a page where you can escape a lot of that and see some really incredible photos and video of our local wildlife scene, thanks for being a part of it!

This week Jim and I put together another compilation of just some of this week’s best photos on the 8 pages below along with a video compilation of most of the images as well, feel free to share and have a great weekend.

White-Winged Scoter – Liana Merenda-Jonas

Red-Tailed Hawk – Jimmy Johnny

Redhead Duck – Brian Doherty

Pair of Harbor Seals – Joe Kelly

Pair of Bald Eagles – Debbie Thrush McCaffrey

Painted Bunting – Diane Van Dyke Greco

Northern Shoveler – Bob Schmitz

Northern Harrier – Dan Fiore

More Photos on Pages 2-8