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to discover, share and identify wildlife
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.