Sunday, January 30, 2011

Snow Buntings galore

Just a note on the word "galore" which means "in abundance". I always thought it was Italian as it rhymes with "amore", but in googling it I find it's of a much more sober provenance, namely Gaelic - "go leor" translates as "enough", meaning, there is such an abundance that you say enough!  Well I guess I finally have seen and photographed enough Snow Buntings.

Thanks to Al Merrit's Bird Notes I located Snow Buntings, mixed in with Horned Larks, on Pond Rd in Vernon, VT, and on Caldwell Rd in Northfield, MA. The only problem is you can't sneak up on them. You see a flock at the roadside and hope by inching the car forward you'll get close enough for a good shot, but no such luck. They see you coming from a distance and the whole flock takes to the air, circles over the field and settles down an equal distance behind you. So all these photos are a fairly large crop.






Most winters Snow Buntings wander in from their arctic breeding grounds and forage in the soil exposed by snow plows along the roadsides.  With their small orange bills and their whimsical plumage you can't help but call them "cute". They wouldn't be out of place in a children's coloring book.










On second thought though: not quite enough. I would love to get a close-up but the only  way I could do it is to disguise myself as a snowbank. 

I actually I went back a second day and this time found a flock of Horned Larks only on Caldwell Rd, no Snow Buntings. They were all sitting alongside each other on a snowbank enjoying the sun and allowed me to drive right up to them. This gave me an opportunity to photograph them from behind and supplement my previous post on the appearance of Horned Larks. This photo shows the difference in plumage between male on the left with his rufous red rump and egg-yellow color on the face and the more neutrally colored female on the right.


Also see my recent posts on Horned Larks and Snow Buntings
Horned Larks along roadsides
Horned Larks and Snow Buntings on snowy field

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment.

And make sure you click on the World Bird Wednesday image on the upper right panel to see the many other blog postings to this meme hosted by Springman of The Pine River Review.

29 comments:

  1. Both real beauties, but the close ups of the horned larks are my favourites. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  2. Great shots of the Snow buntings. They are cuties!

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  3. Lovely pics Hilke, however they were obtained.

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  4. Of course, I love the 'amore' enough part, right up my alley. I saw Snow Buntings for the first time last fall and was immediately smitten with the litte darling 'amore' birds. And, Horned larks are fab. I'm hoping ot get better pics of each one day, though I think myself lucky to have seen either species at all. Nice shots, Hilke

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  5. Fabulous! How very exciting..now I am jealous of you there ..except for the snow and cold part!

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  6. your Snow Bunting photo's are great ..there are so pretty!!
    I haven't seen them up my way as yet!!
    I usually see then every winter for a short period of time!!
    The Horned Lark is what surprised me to see in the winter...and your got lovely photo's of them!!

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  7. They are stunningly beautiful!
    Even with a tremendous crop.
    I feel your pain there.
    I have those huge seized photos and all I get in the end is a tiny crop ;)
    Maybe you could disguise as a snowman? :)

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  8. You did well getting this close. A walking white hide-out wouldn't be too comfy :-)
    Those huge black silage bags you remember from Germany: I use those to make leaf compost. When it is done, we roll down the sides and plant straight into it.

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  9. Very cute birds and you did well to get as close as you did. The photos with the snow look beautiful - but cold!

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  10. Lovely images of your beautiful birds. Great captures.

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  11. Nice captures of these lovely birds.

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  12. WOWOWOWOW! Love these snow buntings! They are marked beautifully--also lovely horned lark photos!
    Birds are so clever, the dont usually fear a car that continues to move, but once you stop they figure it could be trouble and so they take off--if we could get good at drive by shooting we would be getting all sorts of cool bird shots!

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  13. So jealous! I had a goal of photographing a snow bunting in 2010, but it didn't happen. Hopefully I'm able to SB, a RedPoll and a Hoary. Nice series

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  14. So those are Snow buntings! I'm trying to picture someone disguised as a snow bank I know the military has white arctic warfare parkas. You know for sneaking up on birds you may really have come up with something!

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  15. Love the snow buntings! What a beautiful bird. I've never seen one. I've tried to get good horned lark photos, but they are always on gravel and I never get a clear shot...they frustrate me.

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  16. I need to come and visit you for I am STARVING for buntings and larks! In my opinion, one can never get enough!

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  17. Those buntings are cute, as you say.

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  18. Great shots, next time think of halloween and dress up in a sheet, who knows, you may fool them yet.

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  19. The Snow Bunts are real beauties. I remember my first encounter with them last year in Norfolk here in the UK. I hoped the 5 hour trip would bring me a single Snow Bunting to make it all worth while.... 30+ showed, some were virtually trying to get into the car...lol

    Nice post

    Thanks
    Dave

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  20. I thank you all for your kind and encouraging comments. Re closer approach to the Buntings I think I will disguise myself as a snowman or halloween ghost and trying to approach them crawling on my stomach! LOL. I saw a report where SB were within touch right in the parking lot. @Dixxie, I inched my car ever so slowly, but they took off before I stopped.

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  21. What beauties they are---well in a cute sorta way. they are precious. I have never seen them before. MB

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  22. Snow buntings! How sweet! I guess we won't see them here since we get NO SNOW...dang it! LOL Love your photos!

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  23. I can only dream of seeing Snow Bunting flocks like that. Usually we get the odd one or two in the UK if we are lucky. Great find.

    Adam @ My Life Outside

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  24. Love your photos,thanks for sharing,phylliso

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  25. Excellent!! I don't know where all of our Snow Buntings are, very few this winter.

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  26. the snow buntings are so cute. I've never seen one but really want to!

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  27. Hi Hilke

    I keep coming back to your photos of snow buntings and horned larks they are such beautiful birds.
    I have taken the liberty of linking to your site and also added a followers gadget as you suggested.

    This is a great blog and I really enjoy your posts.

    Thanks Guy

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