The Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce was happy to collaborate with Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) again this year to host the 2021 Annual Pass Photo Contest. Five finalists out of fifty-five entries from amateur photographers were selected by chamber staff. Leaders from various organizations in the community then chose their favorite from these five.

The stunning winner was Robert Byrd’s Snowy Owl captured on January 1, 2021 on the south Oversand Vehicle zone near the Hook on Chincoteague NWR. After hearing about sightings of the elusive creature, Robert and his wife made a New Year’s visit to celebrate and to search for this beautiful bird. He says there were actually two owls, but one was too far away to capture on film.

Robert became an amateur photographer seven years ago after retiring from the military. He and his wife live in Hampton, VA and visit Chincoteague Island several times each year. A few of their favorite events are spring and fall roundups and the Annual Chincoteague Oyster Festival.

The 2022 Chincoteague NWR Annual Pass will boast Robert’s magnificent photo of “Snowy”. We can’t wait to see it as a wonderful reminder of the special treasures that await us on the trails and pristine beaches we have to enjoy.

The Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce and Chincoteague NWR wish to thank everyone who submitted such breathtaking photos for consideration. They were all truly spectacular and made the selection of only one very difficult.

Make your plans to visit Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge at and learn about the fascinating wonders of this refuge at Be sure to bring your camera, you never know what you will see!