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Snow Bunting

Plectrophenax nivalis


A gorgeous, light-colored, sparrow-like bird in the longspur family, Calcariidae, the Snow Bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis, is a distinctive denizen of snowy fields. They migrate south in the winter from their breeding grounds in the Arctic.


These Snow buntings were first in the middle of the trailhead, but they quickly retreated to a pear tree in between an apple tree and another pear tree. After waiting about 15-20 minutes, they flew back down to the trailhead and I was able to get a better picture.


Lifer! Today, I went snowshoeing at the Greenville Town Park! It was so fun! Right before we left, we saw a Bald Eagle soaring over the house, but it flew behind the trees before we could get a picture! I saw two male Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, two Red-tailed Hawks, some American Robins, European Starlings, White-throated Sparrows, Purple Finches, a Mourning Dove, and TONS of crows! I was especially looking for Snow Buntings, which are small, sparrow-like birds which migrate south from the Arctic for the winter! We are actually at the southern part of their winter range, but they are still supposedly pretty common here. I knew they usually are found in open fields, so I kept scanning the blindingly bright snowy fields for a tiny bird. As I was walking back to the parking lot, I hadn't seen any Snow Buntings, but then, I saw some small, whitish, sparrow-like birds. I zoomed in with my mother's camera, and sure enough—they were Snow Buntings! They quickly receded to the trees, so I was unable to get a good photo. I watched them in the trees for about twenty minutes, and their bottoms were to the sun, so I couldn't get a good photo of their fronts. After they mooned me for several more minutes (photo four), they finally settled down in the snow by the parking lot again! I was able to get this beautiful picture of my first-ever Snow Bunting find! I was so excited! They are such beautiful birds! I was surprised the photo came out so well, because I was shooting in manual settings, not automatic! These kinds of memorable and exciting adventures are the reason why I love Project Noah—to learn more about the biodiversity around me and share it with the wonderful community members here.

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32 Comments (1–25)

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 7 years ago

António and Marta, thank you so much for your kind words of congratulations! I'm so glad be be part of such an excellent community, and I'm so excited to discover more!

The MnMs
The MnMs 7 years ago

I join to the greetings! Congratulations with your beautiful 3000 spotting! :-)

J, i make a like in the occasion but i dont remark that this one was JUST your 3000th,very cool achivement,great spotting page,thanks for all and congrats:-)

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 7 years ago

Thank you so much Clyncoed, Suzanne, and Staccy!

staccyh 7 years ago

Beautiful! Congrats on the lifer!! :)

suzmonk 7 years ago

Congratulations on No. 3,000!

ClawddPoncen 7 years ago

Congratulations!! :)

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 7 years ago

Thank you very much, Stian and Celyncoed! Stian, I was so happy for this gorgeous bird to be my 3000th spotting in addition to being a lifer!

ClawddPoncen 7 years ago


Stian Waaler
Stian Waaler 7 years ago

Congrats with your 3000th spotting my friend and lifer with this beautiful bird.

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 7 years ago

Thank you so much for your kind comment and congratulations, gatorfellows!

gatorfellows 7 years ago

lovely and congratulations on #3000 :)

medusasnakes123 7 years ago

No problem, Jakubko! ;)

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 7 years ago

Thank you so much for the compliment, Stanislav Greš!

Stanislav Greš
Stanislav Greš 7 years ago

stunnig shot , lovely bird , thumbs up ! :)

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 7 years ago

venusflytrap2000, thank you very much! I was so glad to have this beauty be my 3000th spotting. :-)

Medusasnakes123, thank you so much for your incredibly kind comment!

medusasnakes123 7 years ago


Caleb Steindel
Caleb Steindel 7 years ago

congrats on 3000!~

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 7 years ago

Jennifer, thank you so much for the very kind comment! I'm touched!

The first and last pictures of this series look like an artist's rendition of a perfect contrast of this snow bunting's coloration against the snowy background, it is very inspiring.

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 7 years ago

Thank you so much, Fyn! They are so cool, but they can be so skittish! I hope you get to see them this year before they return to their Arctic breeding grounds! :-)

Fyn Kynd
Fyn Kynd 7 years ago

Awesome, buddy! Great shots. I've seen this species a few times but have yet to get an image.
A week ago there was a flock in the trees around our feeder and I noticed them from our pasture as I was cross-country skiing and I didn't have my camera so I tried to sneak around them to the house where my camera was but they flew when I was ten feet away from the door... :P

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 7 years ago

Thank you very much Ashley and Arya!

Arya 7 years ago

Nice job shooting in M mode! Beautiful crisp photo!

AshleyT 7 years ago

Fantastic photos of such great looking birds! Glad they cooperated for you too :)

Jacob Gorneau
Spotted by
Jacob Gorneau

New York, USA

Spotted on Feb 20, 2014
Submitted on Feb 22, 2014

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