On November 29 a group of us went birding to the Cape Tormentine area. We did not see the rare bird which was reported from there the day before (Long-billed Curlew) but none-the-less enjoyed thoroughly birding the area. We found 3 birds of interest.
Near the water there was a large parking lot which was over-grown in some places with weeds. A small flock of HORNED LARKS was enjoying the seeds from these weeds. They allowed fairly close approach so I was able to get a photo. The photo above does not show the 'horns' which are often seen on this species. They are not horns, as such, but just tufts of feathers.
In another small flock of finches feeding on weed seeds we found, along with Horned Larks, this SNOW BUNTING. We found it difficult to identify at first because it was very active and a bit atypical. Note its outer-tail feathers, facial pattern, and wing bars.
While watching the Horned Larks, we moved the vehicle a bit closer to the water and flushed a large white bird from the snow-laden clumps of grass on the upper beach area - a SNOWY OWL! It flew out over the water much to our disappointment. Later we found it at a distance perched on a rocky breakwall near a wharf. The bird showed a lot of white in its plumage. Although some believe this indicates a more mature bird, more recent research indicates the presence of much dark barring compared to a more white plumage is not an indicator of age. The owl was too distant photograph but another has been substituted below.
As we were slowly driving along, looking carefully into every yard, nook and cranny in the small village, looking for the curlew, one of our birders let out a gasp, followed by a slamming on of the brakes. For a split-second we thought we had found the ultra-rarity, the curlew. Instead the photo below shows what was actually in someone's side yard. We were disappointed, but that was the closest we came to finding the much-sought-after curlew.