We spent all of today out west of Montreal taking part in the Hudson Christmas Bird Count … CBCs are annual censuses of birds that have been taking place for about the past 90 years and are seriously “good things”.  Our route eventually takes us down to the very flat, cold and windy lands around St-Clet where we always hope for winter birds. Today we found a flock of >300 Snow Buntings.  When first sighted they were lined up on some overhead power lines but did not seem at all phased by us walking up to them (usually they are very skittish) and we decided it was because the road did a jog at this point and it looked like some grain had been spilled.

The upshot of this was that we managed to get some excellent photographs and even a (very) short video – turn up the sound – their calls are wonderful.

Now for some still photographs to give you a flavour of what we enjoyed.  Quite a magical quarter hour:

Snow Buntings ... a close up of what all the fuss is about. One of our favourite birds.

As first seen

All in a row

Feeding in the roadway

Just a small portion of the full flock

Snow Buntings in flight


But these were not all the birds today … we also managed to photograph:

Northern Shrike

Red-tailed Hawk - fleeing from our approach (as they are wont to do) and hence very much a "record" shot which is my excuse for its execrable quallity


And finally, the star bird of the day … (in fact we saw five of these, somewhat of a record)

Bubo polystyrenicus ... the rare rooftop owl of North America

It was a good day.