Monday, November 25, 2013

One Last Redstart

As promised, here is one more post showing the American Redstart on the bird bath.  Here we are Thanksgiving week and I am still thinking about this beautiful bird from early fall!

american redstart one

This bird looks like a female but may well be a first year male.   After the first year the adult male is black and orange.  The immature male looks like a female, which has yellow markings instead of orange.

american redstart two

Twice this fall this bird came to the bird bath at dusk and made this display.  I'm assuming the same bird came twice, but maybe it was two different birds, I don't know for sure.

american redstart three

I don't know why American Redstarts flash their wings and tails showing their colors like this.  I also don't know why one would do this on a bird bath?

american redstart four

I have read American Redstarts do this behavior to surprise insects into showing themselves.  Maybe at dusk the bird bath is a hot spot for insect life.

american redstart five

The first time this happened I didn't get a great look at the bird.  This time this bird stayed for several minutes, and the light was pretty good, so I got a nice look.

american redstart six

Seems like an awful lot of color and beauty on display just to get a few bugs to eat!

american redstart seven

I have to admit that I come to bird watching as an observer, not as a scholar.  Maybe there are endless books written on this phenomenon; if there are, I haven't read them.  All I know is I'd never quite seen such a thing before, and it was a pleasure to behold.

american redstart eight

Enjoy the day - Cheerily

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fall Warbler Wrap Up

On this quiet November morning I am going through my pictures and notes to put together a final wrap up of what warblers were seen in the yard during fall migration.

Quite a few, many of which I couldn't identify.

American Redstarts kicked off the season.  They were here the longest, and they're the warbler we saw the most of.  I felt the same way last fall, that this was the warbler here in largest numbers and for the longest time.

The funniest thing about the redstart is that on two occasions, one I showed in an earlier post, the redstart took advantage of the bird bath at dusk.  I am going to post some pictures of the second occasion in my next post.  For now, see this fun flight out of the bath:

american redstart over bird bath

A close second this year was the northern parula.  I don't know if this is because this year I was better at seeing them, but for a few weeks every time I tried I could find one.  A lot of times there were two or three at once.  They are always hard to get a picture of, but I managed a few times to catch them in quieter moments.

northern parula

Black throated greens, black throated blues, magnolia, cape may, blackpoll.  Probably some pines.  Perhaps a Canada?  Not sure, and many more I won't guess at.

Last on the scene was the yellow rumped.  Out and about one can see many of them, but I only saw one or two at a time.  One was particularly active, day after day, flying in and out of my favorite birding tree.  Finally he sat still and we got a good look at the famed yellow rump.

yellow rumped warbler

Now that's a yellow rump!

Enjoy the day - Cheerily

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First Snow Today

A short and sweet posting!  This morning we had our first snow of the season.  Always this is an exciting day, full of wondrous winter possibilities.

cardinal in first snow

We only got a dusting, not the few inches they had forecast.  It started as rain early morning, then switched over to snow for a few minutes.  I went outside while it was still coming down.  One never knows, this could be it for the year, so I wanted to make sure I snapped a few pictures.

cardinal and goldfinch on icy tray

This cardinal and goldfinch did not let the icy weather get in the way of a morning snack.  I have a feeling we'd all better get used to the chill.

Enjoy the day - Cheerily

Friday, November 8, 2013

Winter Friends: White-throated Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco

The last few days have been very November-like: dark, cold, windy, and wet.  I am still "recovering" from the frenzy that was this fall's bird migration.  It seemed every time I glanced out my window, I heard or saw a new species taking up residence, at least for a day or two, in the yard.  Now those days are suddenly gone, replaced with cold and the critters who choose to take their chances with the upcoming winter.

white-throated sparrow one

Two of our winter mainstays are the white-throated sparrow and the dark-eyed junco.  Both are sweet looking birds, who more often than not are hanging out with a bunch of their friends.

dark-eyed junco one

Both these birds, both sparrows, gather in small flocks and feed on the ground.  I've taken many pictures of them feeding, but it can be tough to get a good shot of them, because they move so quickly and lift their heads up and down as they poke at the ground.  On nice afternoons you can find a few perched in the sun.  They sit still for quite some time, a contrast to how active they are on the ground.

dark-eyed junco two

They summer north of here.  I miss seeing and hearing them in summer in the yard, though we do find them nearby in the mountains.  But when they return to the yard, it's always noted and appreciated.

white-throated sparrow two

Now is a great time to become familiar with their calls as they are pretty vocal, and they may not have much company other than the chickadees and titmice in making noise.

dark-eyed junco three

It's great to have them back.

Enjoy the day - Cheerily