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
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