Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Miserable Day brings 2 New Yard Birds - 10 Jan 2016

The rain started last night and continued on through dawn this morning. At approximately 7:30 am the wind felt suddenly colder, and the rain turned to sleet, then to snow. It would continue to snow and blow until late in the afternoon, leaving an inch and a half of snow, and blowing drifts that rattled the windows and feeders all day. The birds felt it; they were flocking to the feeders all day long and did not cease feeding/foraging/squabbling until dark.

I sent a message out to the birding community that the Zonotrichia sparrow watch needed to be put on hold for awhile. Birders are being asked, for the time being, to stay away from Brownton Abbey. Birders have been wonderful and courteous while watching/waiting for the Harris' and Golden-crowned Sparrows, but I wish to respect the privacy of new neighbors that are moving in this weekend next door. Hopefully, as winter sets in, the birds will remain and provide a more routine viewing schedule, and I'll be able to re-invite birders to come out to see them!

That said, both birds made frequent appearances under the feeders and foraged among 3 dozen Dark-eyed Juncos, 2 dozen House Finches, 10 Northern Cardinals, a pair of Black-capped Chickadees, a pair of Tufted Titmice, and a Downy Woodpecker. At one point a flock of >100 European Starlings flew in and coated the hedges for several minutes before continuing on.

The Harris' Sparrow appeared several times during the early morning hours, but did not return. The Golden-crowned Sparrow made hourly visits under the thistle feeder.

The White-throated Sparrow made the most appearances during the day, and provided some nice pics with the 1377mm rig (Nikon V3 / 300mm f2.8 / 1.7TCII / FT1 adapter).

As I enjoyed the blowing snow and the scads of birds at the feeder I spotted a Great Black-backed Gull floating lazily above the house. Yard bird #70!

About mid-afternoon I spotted a tiny, streaked bird hiding in the hedges near the thistle feeder. It took me awhile to relocate it among the dozens of House Finches, but I found it; Pine Siskin! Yard Bird #71!  It would make several trips to the thistle feeder before disappearing for the rest of the day. Hopefully it will stick around, and bring more friends.

female House Finch (for comparison)


Sandra said...

It was a good day for feeder watching! Nice variety of birds for you. I had a few pine siskins last year for the first time, none so far this year.

Barbara Baker said...

I love your blog Great learning tool.

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