This past Sunday, I finally got my first Snow Buntings of the year. I know that folks have been seeing them throughout the black dirt region, but I somehow kept coming up empty. After Karen Miller and I tried unsuccessfully for the Ulster County Gyrfalcon in the morning, we decided to head back to the black dirt region to try for Snow Buntings. We did well, finding 6 in a flock of approximately 75 Horned Larks.
Then, today after work I received a text from Linda Scrima who had a couple of Lapland Longspurs in the black dirt. I met her out there and took some photos before heading over to the Wallkill River NWR Liberty Loop viewing platform, where it was relatively quiet. For the first time in a long while I did not see any Northern Harriers. We did get good looks at a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk, one distant Turkey Vulture and several Red-tailed Hawks. It was getting pretty dark when the Short-eared Owls got up; I counted four of them.