Posts Tagged ‘Snow Bunting



Some excellent bird tours in February. Around 6 trips into the Brecks and almost as many into the Broads. The tour on the day of storm Doris was a challenge to say the least, but we still managed a few things of interest. Here’s a compendium of photos of just a few birds we came across during the month.

bewicks-swan crane glaucous-gull goshawk great-grey-shrike hawfinch iceland-gull lesser-spotted-woodpecker mediterranean-gullrough-legged-buzzardsiskinsnow-buntingwaxwingwoodlark



Winter approaches

It must be winter … Snow Bunting a Cley last week.

Snow Bunting


Out in the cold

At the same time as a humpback was frolicking off Norfolk we were atop Cairngorm looking for the mountain specialities. As we scanned the mountain top for Ptarmigan the sixty mile an hour wind carried frozen snow that peppered our faces like gunshot. Finding the snug leeside of the ski lift was essential for doing any bird watching.

Despite the arctic conditions a pair of Snow Buntings fluttered down the mountain as if it were a summers day. Perching atop the crusted snow a few yards away they began to search for the odd seedy morsel totally unconcerned by the skiers or us.

2015 04 12 Snow Bunting Cairngorm Scotland_Z5A4988


Snow on the ridge

As we walked north to the sea and across the shingle a large flock of Linnet raised from the marshy pools. I couldn’t see anything among them until they got up a second time. The unmistakable white wings disclosed a Snow Bunting. Out away across the fields it flew. Later we stumbled upon a flock of 13 sat peacefully pecking the sparse vegetation and shuffling their way first up and then down the shingle slope. Standing out like a beacon was this white male in his winter garb.

2014 11 18 Snow Bunting Salthouse Norfolk_Z5A2107


Impossible Migration

A walk along the cliff tops. A south westerly; impossible migration.

Yet Starlings passed me in flocks and Meadow Pipits tripped along the cliff face. Seven Great Spotted Woodpeckers dotted within the woods, when yesterday there had been none. In from the sea a tired squadron of Fieldfare; riding the coast a ‘V’ of Brents. Flushed from the path a baker’s dozen of Snow Bunting and riding over the fields a shape shifting formation of Golden Plover.

A south westerly; impossible migration?

Golden Plover


The expected and the unexpected

During the week I spent a little time walking the shingle banks on the coastline.

The wind was up but the sun was bright and when it got the chance I could feel it warming my back through several layers of fleece.

A Fieldfare struggled in off the sea and I watched four Snow Buntings scatter as a Merlin Stooped through them nearly taking my head off in the process. An unusual sight was up to twenty or so male Blue Tits amid the low vegetation along the shingle. Perhaps they were continental birds; as I watched them they flew high to the south, indicating to me they probably were. Perhaps something more expected was the Redshank in one of the shingle pools. He didn’t like me too close and objected with head bobbing and loud calls as I passed.


Snow Shower

The second of our April bird watching trips to Scotland was successfully concluded on Monday. We once again saw much.

A trip up the mountains for Ptarmigan was delightful. The weather is always fickle up there and even in midsummer the clouds can close in and indeed we were lucky to avoid the ‘birding in a milk bottle’ scenario of a heavy snow shower. We saw and photographed Ptarmigan but we also stumbled upon Snow Buntings. We are used to these little fellows in Norfolk of course but seeing them in their true environment was delightful.

We watched this cheeky minx bathing in the snow and then drying out in the wind.

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March 2017
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