Snow Bunting of Clifton Court Forebay, Contra Costa county, Calif.

This bird was initially spotted by myself - briefly and at a distance - at around 2 p.m. on Feb 27, 2004. I later re-located it at around 4 p.m. on the same day for a better look and ID, at which time an initial documentation photo was taken. 

I took the following photo on Feb. 29, 2 days later, at the same location.


Image of Snow Bunting

click to enlarge

Another image of Snow Bunting

click to enlarge

Here is a MAP of the reservoir showing the spots where I originally saw this bird. [Driving directions to the reservoir now included.]

For almost 3 weeks this bunting was observed almost daily (if not daily) on and near the levee, often associating with American Pipits. The very last sighting appears to be at 4 p.m. on March 17th. 2004.

For more information

  1. Joe Morlan's photo gallery where Ed Pandolfino's Snow Bunting photo has been posted. [2/28/04]
  2. Luke Cole's Snow Bunting photos and discussion page. [2/29/04]
  3. Joe Morlan's Snow Bunting photos and discussion page. [3/3/04]
  4. Bob Brandriff's Snow Bunting photos[3/5/04]
  5. Les & Cindy Lieurance's Snow Bunting movie[3/7/04]
  6. Joe Morlan's discussion on January '04 San Leandro Snow Bunting found by Bob Richmond, with photos by Kathy Robertson and Joe Morlan
  7. Winter distribution map for the US (CBC data) and other info.
  8. North American range map includes Canada and the Arctic.
  9. UK range map and other info.
  10. An 18th century Hudson Bay explorer writes Snow Buntings make good pets, among other early ornithological observations.
  11. Eastern Siberian folklore The Mouse and the Snow-bunting


Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) Fun Fact: 

"Derived from the German word 'bunt' (meaning mottled), buntings are named for their multicolored plumage. The 'Snow' portion of the name refers to their early arrival to the Arctic, when snow may still be on the ground. Indeed, the specific name, 'nivalis,' is derived from the Latin word for snow" [National Park Service]

Last Updated: 03/22/2004

Photo Copyright 2004 Akira So  -  Akira So  -  Pleasanton, CA