Thursday, November 13, 2008

Home Ground

As the last two days were too wet for birding at the college, I thought I'd go back and post about what I saw in our yards on Saturday.

We've had a lot of butterflies lately, including various sulphurs.

Our Downy Woodpeckers were around as usual, although for once the female came to the suet feeder more often than the male. Unlike her partner, the female doesn't have a red patch on the back of her head.

There were also pairs of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. The male Red-bellied has red feathers right down the back of his neck, as you can from this photo of him at our birdbath.

Rare but always welcome visitors were two Tufted Titmice. Once common in our yards, we've only had fleeting visits a handful of times over the past three years. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of them or of other brief visitors: a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and an Orange-crowned Warbler. I also missed getting a shot of a Red-tailed Hawk zooming along our street in pursuit of a White-winged Dove.

Blue Jays came several times, as did a Northern Mockingbird, while Turkey Vultures occasionally circled lazily overhead.

House Finches maintained their ranking as one of our most reliable species, and this male allowed me to get close enough to show the red on his head and breast.

Squirrels were busy in the yard all morning and they are always happy to pose for photos.

Sometimes their poses are less than elegant.


And sometimes they have to confront the cats that also hang out in our yards.

The squirrels love to taunt the cats. I've even seen one take evasive action that involved jumping onto and then off behind the back of a charging cat. The cat was so humiliated that he immediately gave up the chase and pretended to be interested in some nearby ferns.

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