Yesterday, I made mention of the Handbook of the Birds of the World and the photo contest sponsored by the Spanish publisher, Lynx Edicions. I should have mentioned that Volumes 1 to 9 of this incomparable series are available to patrons of the local library in King City, Ontario, where I live. The first 9 volumes were donated to the our library by a patron, a couple of years ago. Internationally, the series is finally completed at 16 volumes, the cost of which is $160 (Canadian) per volume, or $2,560 for the set. The price is a bit steep for most birders, which makes the books at the library very appealing. The volumes at the King City library cannot be taken off the premises, but there are lots of comfy places to sit and peruse what are arguably the finest bird guides in the world. They are a joy to behold. Please comment if you wish. BtheB
400 to 500 Snow Buntings greeted me on Thursday afternoon as I drove over a hill on the 11th Concession of King Township, just south of Highway 9. I have seen flocks of one or two dozens of these beautiful birds many times over the years, but this flock was by far the largest I have ever seen. I stopped counting at 300 and guesstimated another 100 or 200. They kept flying off as cars swept by and then returned to the section of road where they searched for seeds and dead insects. An imminent snowstorm that is to dump anywhere from 10 to 25 cm tonight, willd certainly make for slim pickings when they forage tomorrow. How do they ever find enough to keep themselves alive all winter? Below is a photo of Snow Buntings that I took a few years ago, very near to this same spot. It shows the bunting's wonderful winter markings, which are different from their summer breeding plumage. This bird has been called the "Snowflake Bird" in certain parts of the country over the years. They are a joy to see.