This summer was full of buntings. A bunting-filled summer. Buntings everywhere. We can offer Painted, Indigo, Lazuli, and Varied. Take your pick. Come one, come all. But this is weird because I'm talk-tying like this is present tense and it's actually past tense. But you know what I'm getting at.
More to the point: this post is about Varied Buntings. As you can see from the photos, the males wear the fancy pants. And damn! Aren't they fancy?! Yes, they are. I've lived in the Texas Hill Country for six breeding seasons, and have only ever seen one Varied Bunting before. So when a whole family appeared at one of the field sites, well. Well, yeah! Very cool. I guess Varied Buntings aren't really all that well studied and there aren't a whole lot of cases of them breeding in this area. A pleasant surprise indeed.
This pair had three fledglings that I could see (possibly a fourth but he was very elusive) and they were probably only 2-3 days out of the nest. There was a Black-capped Vireo family and a Golden-cheeked Warbler family all hanging out right next to the Varied group. It was mildly overstimulating. Eatin' musta been real good!
Varied Buntings are just a little bit smaller than the Painteds, Lazulis, and Indigos. If you want to get a good look at these guys, you're gonna have to get yourself down to southern Texas, Arizona, or New Mexico. Oh and hey! Merry-happy holidays if I fail to get back on here before then!