Followers

Monday, 22 February 2021

Another Great Day!

 21 February 2021

     A good friend of ours invited us up to her farm to see the large flocks of Snow Buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) that have been visiting her of late, and we were happy to accept.  A chance to see the birds and catch up with our friend was not to be missed.
     Actually, several flocks seem to coalesce into one concentrated mass, the corn laid out for them doubtless a factor in this behaviour.
     First let me give you an idea of the number of birds (and none of these pictures captures all of them).



      It is impossible to count them, but there are certainly several hundred. They are quite skittish and swirl into the air at the hint of any threat, real or imagined.
      They are to say the least delightful little birds; on the snow.....


     ..... and in the air,


     ..... or on a wire.


     Common Redpolls (Acanthis flammea) too have invaded southern Ontario this winter, and they were not at all reluctant to approach us at close quarters.


     But for us, in a star-studded cast I might add, the Snow Buntings were the marquee attraction.



     There was corn set out on a table too, and that attracted birds away from the main feeding frenzy taking place on the ground.


     A few Horned Larks (Eremophila alpestris) joined up with the flocks of Snow Buntings, as they often do. I am sure you will have no difficulty picking them out in the next couple of shots.



     Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) is quite rare in southern Ontario, and we were happy to spot a couple.


     Sometimes, the birds on the wire seemed to chatter to each other and at other times they remained aloof.


     I can't resist one more picture.


     And as we left a Common Redpoll came to wish us safe journey, and we are confident that it echoed our friend's cheery "Come back soon". 


     Rest assured that we will!
     It was barely mid afternoon and there was glorious sunshine, so we decided to go on a quest for Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus). It should be noted that once the owls move south from the tundra, they tend to remain in a given area as long as there is abundant food. This does not always make it easy to find them, but it narrows down the search.
     Knowing where to look proved invaluable and we soon found a majestic male.


     It matters not how often I see one of these birds, my heart still pounds at first sight.


     How could you ever become blasé about such a wondrous creature?


        We are always very cognizant of the fact that the birds are resting, and everything should be done to avoid disturbance. So we were mildly perturbed when this bird suddenly took to the air.
     And then we saw the reason. 


     A large, immature female cruised in and claimed the perch.


     Both birds appeared to be the picture of good health, and we assume that the rodent biomass is more than adequate to ensure that they have no difficulty securing food. And of late we have been going through a prolonged cold snap so conditions have been ideal for a northern-adapted species.


     On their breeding grounds on the tundra the owls operate in a treeless environment, but their feet are well adapted to perching.


     When we left the male was nowhere to be seen but the female was still firmly ensconced on her perch.


     If you needed affirmation that it is great to live in a northern land, a day such as this would clinch it in an instant. We were a supremely happy couple driving home!   


72 comments:

  1. Beautiful David. I like to see my first snowbunting. The snowowl is very beautiful. I wish I were there. Greetings Caroline

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMG, Great post. I learned a lot about the birds around you, and the snowy owls are magnificent. Great shots! (Although I could not pick out the horned lark, lol I have no idea what it is.) I consider it stunning to see large flocks of birds, and rare also for me. I would indeed return to that spot to watch the birds!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Snowy Owl is possibly one of the most photogenic birds. I never tire of looking at them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Look at the 10th picture, Jeanne, almost at top, slightly to the right of centre and you will see a bird with a yellow face and a black "moustache".

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a good thing to do, throw out corn, take photos! Everyone is happy. Add to that your sighting of the 2 owls, who took turns on the same perch! Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  6. A great day indeed! And beautiful pictures as we've come to expect from you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The snow bunting is amazing.
    Thank you very much for letting me see them.
    I admire wonderful owls, but they are beautiful.
    I wish you a healthy and eventful week.

    ReplyDelete
  8. what a great day for you!!Wow!!Amazing to see all this birds live!

    I see you still have much snow too!I bet it was difficult to see that big white snow owl.Majestetic!

    Also a fine new header since i was here(to busy with work sorry about that)

    hope soon to see princess Lilly too

    Wish you and Miriam some great bird watching days to come ahead!

    Greetings anita

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello David
    What a fantastic day the two of you had. The owls are fantastic to see so are the snowbuntings.
    And beautiful photo´s of the birds ofcourse.
    Have a wonderful new week ahead.
    Marijke

    ReplyDelete
  10. The amount of Snow Buntings is incredible! Beautiful little birds.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Like your last post, this one makes me very happy for you, and a tad jealous.
    Love those feathery feet. Great shot.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I do not know where to start, the snowy owls are just amazing and are heart winners every time I see a photo of them. I have never seen snow buntings and they are such pretty birds. It took me a while to spot the horned lark in the first photo, but after seeing it in the second photo the first one was then simple. The Redpoll and the Lapland Longspur are very new to me, I really need to travel more, but I wonder if travel will ever be so easy again.
    Have a good week and take care. Diane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Diane.....there are flights from Charles de Gaulle to Toronto, nonstop. Just saying!

      Delete
  13. The snow buntings are pretty birds and oh, those snowy owls are simply stunning! You do get to see a great variety of birds up there. Glad you enjoyed your day!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your last photo of the Snow Buntings on the wire is incredibly beautiful, as are all the Snow Owls. I can fully imagine you driving home supremely happy!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've mentioned the Snowy Owl on Lewis before. It's always wonderful to see. Snow Buntings used to regularly stop off in Lewis on their migration. I've never been fortunate enough to see one though.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have seen Snow Buntings on a Norwegian blog, David, and also Snowy Owl. They both live far north here in Norway. Snow Buntings are very cute. You are lucky who can see them both.

    ReplyDelete
  17. No social distancing with those birds! What a remarkable sight. And the Snowy Owl -- so stunning. I have never seen any of these -- what a gift that they appear for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If ever you come up in the winter, Jeanie, we will do our level best to show them to you.

      Delete
  18. I'm rather frightened when a flock of birds flies into my direction.It's like a scene from Hitchcock. I prefer them to be on the spot waiting for me with the seeds. They used to do that once; lately they've engaged in acrobatic performances.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess you never stood in Trafalgar Square draped in pigeons on your travels then?

      Delete
  19. Hello Both,
    What a wonderful invitation to visit your farmer friends to find they were putting out seed for the Snow Buntings, also to see some Common Redpolls but the to top everything the Snowy Owl, I think you must still be glowing with pleasure.
    Another excellent series of images Miriam.
    You stay safe and well.
    John
    It looks as if we are still unable to go out birding for a few more weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow, seeing all those Snow Buntings is an incredible sight. You had a great day, David. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Que espectáculo tan maravilloso disfrutar de tan preciosas aves. En cuanto a los Búhos a mi no me importaría verlos todos los días, son maravillosos. Las fotos como siempre geniales. Un enorme abrazo. Cuidaros mucho. La vacuna ya esta más cerca, mañana ya se la ponen a mi madre y estaré un poco menos preocupada.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You certainly saw a huge amount of buntings, and the owls were a wonderful bonus! I have only seen snowy owls in the zoo here. That really was a Perfect day! Yesterday we saw hundreds of cranes flying in their formations, it was a fantastic sight. Hugs to you both! Valerie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cranes returning en masse is a sight I would enjoy immensely.

      Delete
  23. The Snow Buntings really are delightful little birds, and I love the photos of them in flight with presumably Miriam down below.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct, Rosemary. Miriam was the camera wielder!

      Delete
  24. The snow buntings are really a pretty bird, but the snowy owls are just magnificent! :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Snowy owl as always is amazing, I would be fascinated to see it in person. And the sonow buntings are beautiful. I have never seen them before, I like the combination of dark plumage and colors with white, and others to see them on the snow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are few birds that have a greater impact, Hernán.

      Delete
  26. I was enjoying the buntings and then I saw the snow owl. Wow! Such majestic birds.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Love the buntings but the owls are gorgeous. Snowy indeed, the whitest I’ve seen in photos.

    Wish I could see an owl in nature, any owl. I always watch for them but to no avail.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow! That's a load of little birds. You're teaching me the names of so many birds.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
  29. Snow buntings are brand new to me; I've never seen one, or a lark, either. The snow buntings sit on a wire in lines, like swallows!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will have to make a trip to southern Ontario when the pandemic is over, Joanne, and we will show you some of these birds.

      Delete
  30. It is exciting to see all of your birds on the snow, and in the air....beautiful Paradise!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh tout ces petits oiseaux sont jolis et nombreux, quel ballet!
    Les chouettes des neiges sont tellement belles, c'est une chance de les observer.
    Bonne journée

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi David,
    To see such a hugh flock of snowbuntings is amazing. The largest number I have sometimes seen along the Dutch shore in wintertime was 20. Even then I was quite satisfied. But also the rest of the birds is worth looking at. But, it won't surprise you, what a fantastic bird the snowy owl is. To see those birds is an absolute pleasure. You are certainly lucky to get chances tot see them.
    Greetings, Kees

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even twenty is a great sight, Kees. As for the Snowy Owl, it is in a league of its own.

      Delete
  33. Hi David - you're so right ... 'another great day' - how lovely to be able to get out to the farm and to see the Snow Buntings and the Common Redpolls and the others ... how gorgeous - especially on such a beautiful day. Then wonderful to see the Snowy Owls - just beautiful. Stunning - loved your photos and notes for us ... sharing your 'great day' ... enjoy these days - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  34. Bellas imágenes querido amigo, el Búho nival, no me cansaría de verle a diario, es majestuoso y sublime, su color blanco es más que perfecto.
    Disfruta cuanto puedas.
    Un fuerte abrazo querido amigo y compadre David.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Es verdad amigo, Juan. No matter how many times you see it, it still takes your breath away!

      Delete
  35. Hi David.

    Beautiful Snowy Owls.
    How many birds together and how beautiful they are.

    Greetings from Patricia.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Con tanta nieve, es imposible conseguir alimentos. Es una buena idea poner maíz, para que acudan todos, ya que están hambrientos.

    Me encantan ver las aves disfrutando de su libertad.

    ReplyDelete
  37. The white feathers of the male owl make it methuselah.

    ReplyDelete
  38. The owls are particularly beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  39. It does my heart good to see the buntings.
    And as always, the owls too.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I enjoy white birds, such as our Snowy Egrets and your Snowy Owl, but I confess the combination of a bit of color with the white is perhaps even more appealing to me. The female Snowy Owl is a gem (what a photo, of those feathery feet!) and the Snow Buntings are just gorgeous. The name's familiar, so I must have seen photos of them before, but your set of photos here is just a gem.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Your pictures of the Snow Buntings in flight are wonderful! Always love the Snowy Owls.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Gran día David. Impresionante la cantidad de aves. Bien lo pasaste haciendo las fotos. El buho es una belleza amigo.
    Buen martes. Cuídaros.
    Un abrazo

    ReplyDelete
  43. Beautiful pictures and birds! I love Snowy Owls!!! Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Partytime with so many cute Snow buntings!!! Als the Redpoll is great!
    The Snowy Owls are fantastic!! Great shots!
    Stay wel and save,
    Best wishes,
    Maria

    ReplyDelete
  45. Incredible post showing us beautiful images of the snowy owl and those huge flocks of snow bunting. Congratulations for having been able to witness and document them, greetings David

    ReplyDelete
  46. Los pajaritos son preciosos, y los búhos nivales también. Abrazos.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Buntings are a great family of birds, and Snow Buntings very special - but the Snowy Owls are the prize-winners here...

    ReplyDelete
  48. WOW WOW WOW

    What a fabulous outing
    What a fabulous post

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
  49. I continue to be amazed at birds surviving in such a climate. Can appreciate what a thrill to spot those Snowy Owls. Interesting the male defers to the female.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Lovely photos as always. I'm continually amazed by how many birds there are in your snowy winter.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Great photos! Beautiful birds!
    I especially like the female Snowy Owl photos and the Snow Buntings on the wire photo.
    Have a beautiful day!

    ReplyDelete
  52. I was more than impressed by your last Great Day, David, but this one possibly beats that! Wonderful birds and photography.

    As you know, Snow Buntings are regularly seen in some parts of UK but, to the best of my knowledge, never in such huge numbers. I would guess at my personal largest number at being a flock of approximately 30 near the Lecht ski area in Scotland. I'm wondering if the ones that you see are as confiding as those in UK seem to be. I've had two occasions - once by Rutland Water and once on the Isles of Scilly - where I've stood still and birds have come to within a metre or so of my feet!

    My best wishes to you and Miriam - - - Richard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not had them approach so closely, Richard. On balance they seem a little more skittish here, but if the chance arises I will give it a try and see if they will come closer. Maybe place a little corn on my shoes! They are VERY beautiful little birds.

      Delete
  53. Ohhh A lot of Snow buntings!!!... In Spain we can see it during the winter months in the north ... I also love the snowy owl ...

    ReplyDelete
  54. What gorgeous photos, Snowy Owls and Snow Buntings in the snow seem quite perfect somehow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And verging on emblematic of this area in the winter, Pam.

      Delete
  55. Your photos are so truly beautiful, they transport us to much better place . What amazing moments you capture in time, snowy owls, oh my gosh, be still my heart! 👍❤️

    ReplyDelete