Monday, June 8, 2009

Snow Bunting, Captured!


Okay, bird lovers, smooth those ruffled feathers. I'm talking about capturing this elusive character digitally. But you knew that, right?

After feeling rather jealous of Clare's recent shot of a Snow Bunting and then absolutely drooling over these, I continued to carry my camera literally everywhere, hoping my moment would come. And it finally four o'clock in the morning! Good thing we've got plenty of sunlight to accommodate.

The little guy I photographed seems partial to that particular spot. I'm pretty sure he's the one that I've observed there quite a few times before. He sits very close to the edge and sings to his heart's content. I can hear it in the house, even with the windows closed. This isn't a great photo, I know. I certainly would have loved to have been closer or able to zoom in more, but it's still the best I've been able to capture so far and I've been trying for years.

Why the mildly obsessive interest in Snow Buntings?

Good question.

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that they are the first birds to return in spring (except for ravens and seagulls). They flit all around the village, doing aerial acrobatics, heralding from every rooftop and telephone pole that winter is really behind us.

In early spring, while snow is still abundant, the Snow Bunting's black and white color scheme makes spotting them something of a challenge.

But there is absolutely no mistaking that sweet song.

According to the collective word for this species is "drift."

A drift of buntings. Isn't that beautiful?

How very appropriate for a group of birds that blow in on the wind and flutter like snowflakes through the frosty springtime air.


Allmycke said...

When living in Inuvik, I always looked forward to seeing the first snow buntings. They were the first sign of spring when they arrived in late March or early April - often in the middle of a snow storm.

Kimberlee said...

They are great little birds. I'm glad to know someone else appreciates them too!

S N B said...

Congratulations on shooting a bird!

Crayons said...

I am enchanted by this post. The photo is captivating. Your narration is fitting. Thanks for posting this!

Kimberlee said...

Thanks! It was an exciting "shot" for me after so many failed attempts. One of these days, I'll lay down the $ for a camera with a more effective zoom.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the Snow Bunting post. I was happy to finally have something to share with everyone about one of my favorite birds. I really appreciate your comments!

Floridacracker said...

What a great bird! I'm thinking we don't have those down here!!

Kimberlee said...

I'm thinking you're right! Although the map on shows their wintering range as far south as eastern North Carolina, I'll bet they don't make it down that far too often. I have heard that Florida hosts "snowbirds" of another species, though. :)

Crayons said...

Hi Kimberlee
I couldn't decide which blog to comment on, so I came back to the snow bunting one. I hope to read more nature posts here.

Your film blog renders such a service to your readers. I, too, am a teacher. I get disappointed when adult student just write, "This was a really good film."

Finally, thank you so much for your comment on Crayons. I am grappling with that whole self-confidence issue. I want to publish a book, but I don't want to belly-flop, if you know what I mean. Your comment was one more vote of confidence. Thank you so very much.

Kimberlee said...

Thanks, Caroline! My movie blog has been so neglected over the last year, but I hope to get back to it very soon. I'll keep my eyes open for your book! :)