|View from Nome Airport at 12:30 pm|
Continuing Nome Sunrise
|House with Feeder for McKay's Bunting|
photo by Neil Hayward
Then it happened. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of white wings by the house. I walked as quickly as possible and tried to stay unobtrusive as possible. I'm not sure what that means to a McKay's Bunting. I did not want to flush any birds before I could see and photograph them. A flock of about 12 to 15 buntings were flying around the house and landing on the power lines along the street. It was 1:30 pm. Several were investigating the feeder and the seed that I had scattered. All of them were McKay's Buntings. From below, they were all white showing a smaller amount of black on the primaries than for Snow Buntings, and a very small amount of black in the middle of the tail when the tail was slightly spread. In flight from below, they were so beautiful--all white except for the reduced amount of black in the primaries. Sitting on the ground and on the fence near the feeder, they were all white except for the brownish wash on the head, face and back characteristic of winter plumage male McKay's Buntings and with very little black evident in the wing tips. See photos below.
Where's my seed?
The McKay's Buntings stayed for only about 10 minutes, and then flew back out into the tundra toward the south from the subdivision. I walked down the street to photograph the Musk Oxen. The herd was gone, only one remained and it seemed to be in a hurry, perhaps to join the herd possibly hidden in a swale out on the tundra. It looked like a moving haystack out on the tundra. See photo.
|Nome, Front Street|
a few Christmas lights
McKay's Bunting is new for the year raising the total to 712 + 3 provisional species (White-cheeked Pintail, Common Redstart and Eurasian Sparrowhawk).
I am writing this entry from Spokane, WA. Time is short and my Big Year is coming to a close. Today I look for Gray Partridge.