As Sunday dawned gray and very cold, it took a lot of willpower for me to get out of the house to do some birding. I really hate cold weather! However, the possibility of adding more birds to my year list provided just the motivation that I needed - which I think is a very good reason for keeping a year list.
So I drove 10 miles up to Kleb Wood to look for sparrows. Kleb is a good site for common birds and it is particularly good for sparrows in the winter. The staff at the nature center often throw seeds under a rose bush just behind the center's mailbox and this brings in lots of sparrows and other small birds. I stood near the bush for half-an-hour and saw a nice succession of birds, although the light was so bad that I couldn't get clear photos. The fact that I was soon shivering probably didn't help either!
First up were Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees, Savannah Sparrows and Chipping Sparrows. One of the male Cardinals at Kleb has very odd pale pink coloring.
Then a very different bird appeared: Harris's Sparrow. This is a much less common species in our area, although I have seen quite a few this winter.
A few minutes later a couple of new birds joined the others under the bush: White-throated Sparrows. That brought my year list to 110 - and gave me a good excuse to head for the warmth of home.
Back in our subdivision, I stopped for a minute at our local lake/retention pond, where I was greeted by a Great Blue Heron and 42 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.
When the light improved later in the morning, I spent a lot of time watching the birds in our yards. The front yard was - as usual - dominated by numerous White-winged Doves. The feeders in back attracted a much wider range of visitors: Northern Cardinals, House Finches, Carolina Chickadees, a Northern Mockingbird and a House Sparrow.
A Yellow-rumped Warbler came in to scavenge for seeds on the ground and to perch on our fence.
Our Ruby-crowned Kinglet was as willing to pose as ever and this time he really showed off his crest. What a beautiful little bird he is!
Our Orange-crowned Warbler visited the suet feeder every few minutes but still shied away every time I approached with the camera. So one of my birding goals for this week is to get a good close-up photo of him.
I just realized that I also saw Greater White-fronted Geese at Sheldon Lake on Saturday. So my true year total is 111 species.