I've been surprised by the lack of bird action in our yards for several weeks. Not only have no winter birds arrived, but even our residents have been largely missing.
Yesterday morning started out much the same. After half-an-hour I'd seen only three House Finches, a White-winged Dove and a Northern Mockingbird. The latter comes regularly to our suet feeder and to the peanut butter I put on some trellises.
I gave up on birds and started photographing butterflies that were paying a lot of attention to the zinnias in our front yard. As at the college recently, most were Gulf Fritillaries.
However, as has been happening at the college this week, some migrating Monarchs also turned up.
A Red Admiral was hanging out in our mulberry tree.
Then I heard a drumming high up in our elm. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! A pair comes to our yards every winter and they raised one youngster last year. I spent several minutes trying to get a good enough view to tell which bird it was. However, having just arrived and having not yet gotten used to me again, it was nervous and kept hiding from me. Finally I got a clear view of its head and neck.
A red chin. So it's the male!
A few minutes later a male Downy Woodpecker appeared and snacked on one of the suet feeders. Unfortunately, it too seemed to have forgotten me and so I couldn't get a photo. Now that I'm able to spend a little more time in our yards, I hope that he and the Sapsucker will quickly get used to me and will let me approach them more closely. It's always a little awkward when you first meet up with old friends again.