I looked for it at about 11 or 11:30 and was unsuccessful.  I don't 
know if it has moved or I didn't have the proper technique, of course, 
I was well after dawn!  Maybe it was siesta time.  Whatever, I'm 

   Kathleen Anderson, Columbia

Quoting Brad Jacobs

   Just before dawn, 4th try, I walked out on the breakwater at the 
marina at Long Branch Lake SP, Macon County, stopped where the white 
grass is on the trail near the right hand bend in the jetty and set up 
the spotting scope. I waited for five minutes then moved forward toward 
the distal end of the jetty about ten feet. Almost instantly there was 
brief motion of a small something in the white dry grasses on the right 
side of the gravel path about 30 feet in front of me. I waited without 
moving, then saw it move again and hop up on a rock. Moving very slowly 
so as not to launch the bird off the jetty, I got binoculars trained on 
the moving spot and it was a snow bunting. 

   After three failed attempts trying to find this bird, which was 
reported by myriad other birders about every other day for a week or 
so, I now believe snow buntings really do still exist. It vanished 
again down among the rocks where it could have been the whole time I 
was looking for it on previous visits in the howling wind.  This 
morning was windless, so I was able to photograph it several time 
through a 20 X scope without being jostled and blown over by the wind. 
The images looked okay in miniature on the back of the digital camera. 
It was mostly pushing through the grasses picking seeds from the culms 
or off the ground. 

   Thanks to others who reported it often enough to get my hopes up. I 
usually wait until the first snow covers the plowed field and only a 
dirt strip is visible along the edge of the paved roads or patches are 
melting to ground on the gravel roads. I usually drive up some of the 
roads that parallel US 63 on the east side.  Anywhere from Sturgeon on 
up to Edina, there have been flocks of 500 or more Lapland longspurs, 
horned larks, meadowlarks, juncos, several sparrow species, 
goldfinches, mourning doves, and several snow buntings in among them on 
most occasions in winter. I have seen up to 150 this way in Holt Co. on 
the Xmas count.  The northern harriers patrol up and down the road 
trying to jump on something, but usually not having any luck with the 

   Last winter was a bust for snowy owls and snow buntings, so now I am 
searching for snowy owls, along with scoters, long-tailed duck, 
mountain. bluebird, Townsend’s solitaire, etc. 

   Any leads?


   Brad Jacobs

   Missouri Department of Conservation

   P.O. Box 180

   Jefferson City, MO 65102

   573-522-4115 ext. 3648

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