Snowy Owl, fox, and Jaeger populations go up and down with the lemming population, which cycles for reasons nobody has yet figure out. This year around Barrow there are almost no lemmings, and hence almost no Snowy Owls.
But here's one young owl that was nice enough to sit still and pose for me yesterday.
Adult males old enough to breed are very white, and thus very visible on the tundra. The female adults do not turn pure white, but they are almost as easy to see. Adults tend to fly away from a nest when anything gets within about 1/4 of a mile, though the females do become agressive if something gets too close to a nest. But the young birds use camouflage, and at this time of the year they are out on their own. They hide in the grass.
That one played tag with me for awhile, moving back and forth along the edge of a lake, flying only about 50-100 yards each time. Eventually it let me get within about 4 yards though, and then took off and flew across the lake.