Sunday, January 1, 2012

Snow Buntings for a New years Day

A Snow Bunting in its winter plumage, Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA; 11/12/2011.
HAPPY NEW YEARS! What better way to bring in the New Year than with the beautiful Snow Bunting. Last winter in late January, was the first time I saw a Snow Bunting - of all places in a weedy, vacant field behind Peak Fitness. As I was returning from a winter hike in Rock Cut State Park, I noticed a flock of whitish birds fly over the street and land in the field.  I pulled over and stalked them long enough to get some photos, but the light was bad and I was quite a distance away, so none of my photographs were of note (but you can check out my blog post from March 31, 2011 - about winter birds in Northern Illinois - ), where I posted a photo of that flock.
Snow Buntings feeding off the cliffs at Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA; 11/12/2011.
During my fall visit out to Massachusetts, to search for mostly sea birds, I was returning back to my rent-a-car after seeing my first Harlequin Duck (Christmas Day post - ). You can Imagine my surprise when I happened upon another flock of Snow Buntings (Above), which were hanging about some grassy areas above the cliffs of the quarry in Halibut Point State Park. This time I lucked out - it was a bright sunny morning, and the flock stayed relatively close by so I could get some great photos (Top of page and Below).  I didn't expct to see Snow Buntings in such an environment.
A Snow Bunting, Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA; 11/12/2011.
But I shouldn't have been surprised as Snow Buntings will migrate as far south as Southern Idaho in the West, Central Illinois in the Midsection, and Deleware in the East for the winter. They will spend their summers in the far north of Canada on the high Arctic rocky tundra.
Who do you think you're looking at?
A Snow Bunting's winter plumage (as all of my pics show) is very pretty - mostly white with a short yellow bill and cinnamon colorings on its head, back and on a throat band. Black feathers are interspersed in its wings and back. I have yet to see a Snow Bunting in its very striking breeding plumage - all white with a black back and wing tips, and a dark bill. Maybe some day I will be fortunate enough to see their winter plumage before they migrate North, because its highly unlikely I would be visiting the Arctic Circle anytime soon.
Snow Buntings, Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA; 11/12/2011.

A Song Sparrow living in the rocks of the Quarry at Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA; 11/12/2011.
I also some other land birds at Halibut Point State Park, such as the ubiquitous Song Sparrow (Above) which I seem to find in all parts of the country in many different habitats and the only warbler that is likely to be seen in the winter months inside the U.S. borders - the Yellow -rumped Warbler (Below).
A Yellow-rumped Myrtle, Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA; 11/12/2011.

1 comment:

~Val said...

Happy New Year! These photos are a great way to kick off 2012. Best of birding luck in the coming year.