Monday, March 4, 2013

In search of Snowies - St-Hubert, March 4th

Snow Bunting - unmistakable pied wings
Snow Bunting

Snow Bunting

Horned Lark (female)

Horned Lark (male)
Roadside Snow Buntings
Lost in suburban hell
Snow Bunting / Horned Lark location
  Dan and I decided to have a nosy round St-Hubert airport to scope for Snowy Owls today. We hallucinated quite a few Snowies made of actual snow, then proceeded to get lost in suburbia hell. After finally making it back to the fields around the airport, we spotted a bird flying low across a farmer's field. The wings flashed a bold pied pattern and Dan quickly had it tagged as a Snow Bunting. We eventually encountered a roving flock of 24, and got great long views of them as they flew back and forth between the fields, a large dirt pile, and the gravel at the side of the road. After looking at a few field guides, I'm going to guess that most of them were adults in the process of assuming breeding plumage (darker blackish backs/very little breast banding, while retaining brownish on the head and yellow bills).
  These were soon joined by a few more small 'ground running' birds that turned out to be Horned Larks. We counted about a dozen.
  The other bird of note was a large Rough-legged Hawk patrolling near the Armed Forces choppers. It was not a great day weather/light-wise and we didn't get our owl, but we both got a pretty big kick out of prolonged views of birds we don't have much experience with.
  One of these days I'll get a proper picture editing program and learn how to edit pics properly.

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