plectrophenax (from plektron, a clawlike tool, and phenax, false)nivalis (snowy)
Friday, January 2, 1981 — 9:25 am
McNaughton, Wisconsin — Spider Lake Road
Sal and I went up to Mom and Dad’s house in Wisconsin over the New Year’s weekend with Pat and Melanie (who were engaged), Larry and Jan (who were dating) and Dave and Kathy (who were casual friends). We drove up with Larry and Jan in Larry’s Pinto on Thursday night and met the others up there.
The four guys got up at dawn on Friday and drove to Hansen’s farm to bird by their feeders. The girls drove into town to do the grocery shopping for the weekend.
When we first arrived, it was -18 degrees. We hung around for a while watching Evening Grosbeaks, Hairy Woodpeckers and other common birds.
We headed back to the house, but when we got to the end of the Hansen’s driveway, I spotted a bunch of white flecks zipping around in the hay field across Spider Lake Road. I knew immediately that they were Snow Buntings and went nuts. Larry stopped the car, and we piled out. The birds were very active, hopping and flying about constantly. At any kind of distance, when they were flying, only the white wing patches were visible, and they often disappeared against the snowy background. We barely got to the edge of the field when they fluttered out of sight.