After receiving a message that a single Snow Bunting had been found feeding on some rough ground in Scarborough's North Bay I thought I would go and take a look to see if it was still showing. To my surprise I found the bird blending in to it's surroundings, but it wasn't long before unfortunately it was flushed by a dog walker.
I eventually I relocated the bird further along the coastal path on the grassy area of a Crazy Golf Course which was out of use through the Winter months. With a little bit of stealth fieldcraft I managed to get very close and before I knew it by just sitting very quietly the Snow Bunting was feeding at my feet. These birds are known to be quite tame if you approach them slowly and with caution not to disturb them as they are feeding. You will find that they are quite nervous birds in flocks, but if you come across individual birds like this one then you can be lucky to get exceptionally close views.
I went back to the area the following day because the light had improved and even the sun had made an appearance on this cold Winter's morning. To my amazement the little fellow was still feeding on the Crazy Golf Course so again I just sat down nearby and let the bird stroll on up to me. Once again it got flushed by a dog walker before landing on the sea defence wall with a few Turnstone before eventually flying back to the grassy area to carry on feeding.
These little beauties visit our shore late Autumn and through the Winter months from Scandinavia and Greenland and can be seen sometimes in large numbers along the Yorkshire Coast. This bird is in Winter plumage, but I think they are still stunning birds in which I just love the small yellow bill designed to nibble at seeds and to occassionally catch small insects.
So next time you visit the coast in Winter, always check the coastal paths and fields and you may just be lucky to stumble across some feeding Snow Buntings of your own.