Sunday afternoon while walking along Brace Cove I by chance met up with my friend Michelle. I was showing her where to look for the Lark Sparrow when Michelle spotted a beautiful male Snow Bunting, and then we spotted a second! They were pecking at the sand looking for seeds caught between the granules.
Also called “Snowflakes,” their arrival on our shores seems appropriate enough for the pending snowstorm 🙂
An interesting note about Snow Buntings. Male Snow Buntings look very different in their breeding and non-breeding plumage. Not due to molting, but because they rub their bellies and heads in the snow, wearing down brown feather tips to reveal pure white feathers beneath.
Mostly when you see the pretty Snow Buntings at the beach, they are pecking at the sand, foraging for seeds caught between the granules. It was a joy to see one in this small flock briefly alight on a stem of grass so I could catch a glimpse of its beautiful wing.
Snow Buntings are preparing to migrate to the Arctic. They have a circumpolar Arctic breeding range, which means they breed all around the globe within the range of the North Pole. Snow Buntings are the most northerly recorded passerine (songbird) in the world!
I don’t have a photo of what they look like in summer, when the male’s plumage is a striking black and white, and borrowed this batch from wiki commons media.
Not one, but two, Snowy boys were well camouflaged amidst the rocks. They were far apart from one another when one flew toward the other. The stationary fellow didn’t move an inch and barely opened his eyes, while the flying fellow hid himself expertly behind a clump of dry wildflowers. The two sleepily hung out together, positioned not twenty feet apart.
I wished I could have stayed to see if they would behave territorially, but frozen fingers chided me off the beach.
I see you little Snowy Boy!
A flock of Snow Buntings foraged in between the rocks and they too were well-camouflaged.