Sunday, 15 December 2013

Birds of the Hinterland of Waterloo County

Horned Larks, Snow Buntings and
an American Kestrel
15 December 2013

    On a drive through the agricultural hinterland of Waterloo County this afternoon we observed several flocks of Horned Larks Eremophila alpestris feeding in fields of corn stubble and also on the rural roads foraging for grit. In some of the pictures below it is easy to see the remnant corn on which the birds are feeding. It is an irony of mechanized corn harvesting that about eight percent is left in the field, fully sufficient to sustain many birds throughout the winter.








    Snow Buntings Plectrophenax nivalis generally flock together in large groups and the ones we came across this afternoon were no exception. We estimated that a conservative count would be three hundred.
    As can be noted from the picture below they were initially spotted gleaning grit from the road. But for the presence of two young Old Order Mennonite women striding purposefully to their destination, we could have eased the car slowly towards them for better pictures. Unfortunately the birds flushed as the women drew closer.


    Many landed in nearby fields to join other birds already feeding there.



    This picture gives an idea of the stark, snowy, windswept landscape where these little birds eke out a living at the harshest time of the year.


   American Kestrels Falco sparverius are notoriously skittish when a car stops alongside them and we were fortunate to capture this image of a male as it left its perch on the wire.



16 comments:

  1. Beautiful birds and pictures.. Congrats

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  2. Zimowe zdjęcia, ja muszę na takie poczekać :)

    Pozdrawiam.

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  3. Snow adds extra to the images. I'd love to see a Horned Lark. It's interesting about the 8% being left - almost like Biblical tithing!

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  4. Hello David,
    The Snow bunting is really a bird I wish to get close one day!
    But I believe it does not come down as far as the south of France.
    A great series of pictures witnessing their numbers!
    The kestrel is well caught, bravo!!
    Cheers and keep well!

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  5. Noushka: A Snow Bunting is one of the most delightful little birds you could ever see.

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  6. 300 Snow Buntings - Wow. I'd like to see those, not to mention a Shore Lark again. Mind you I'd best be careful and not wish for the icy weather that might involve. The lonely landscape shot is very good - looks quite bleak but I'm sure it's not. Now I need to Google "Mennonite".

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  7. Come on over Phil and we can shown both the birds and the Mennonites!

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  8. Nice shots! American Kestrel is really wonderful, I think that it is my favourite Kestrel of the world.
    Greetings!

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  9. Great grammar I have above, huh? Gotta proof read before I hit publish. Obviously it should say..........and we can show you both the birds and the Mennonites.

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  10. Fabulous images, David. Those of the Horned Larks are particularly wonderful, and I think you've helped me resolve my dilemma! Much more than Snowy Owls to come for in the winter!!

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  11. I hope you will come one day, Richard; then we'll really buckle down and hunt for the other winter owls too.

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  12. David you are some keen birder to be out and about in those wintry conditions. Love those horned larks; pretty special!

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  13. The only way to handle winter in this part of the world Carole is to get out and enjoy it.

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  14. What there is a lot of snow with you. In the Netherlands, the next few days just were poorly lol ...... Beautiful snow buntings. What an amazing and beautiful bird is beautiful and brought into sharp focus. Also your snow pictures I enjoyed :-)

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  15. Beautiful birds in the winter scenery. I'm glad I found a blog with pictures of birds.
    I love to watch birds and enjoy nature.
    Greetings

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  16. I am glad that you enjoyed the pictures, Ela.

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