Thursday, September 15, 2011

Meanwhile, Back in Texas

Although I haven't quite finished reporting on my trip to Montana, I think it's time to catch up on what's been happening here in Cypress since I got back home.

Our yards haven't been as busy as usual with birds, because we still haven't put up any seed feeders. (We took them down a month ago to disperse the flock of House Finches that had become a permanent feature in our yards and that was suffering badly from an outbreak of avian pox.)

However, we have been getting some visitors. Several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been hanging around daily, taking advantage of the one hummer feeder we've put up while they're migrating south through our area.

Females arrived first. They chased away the only male that appeared last week.

Then more males turned up. Ever since, they've dominated the feeder and have kept the females at bay.

A few of our resident birds have been showing up, too, including Blue Jays, Carolina Wrens and Northern Cardinals. I sometimes forget just how beautiful Northern Cardinals are.

I started to put peanut butter on our fences to feed the resident birds but squirrels wolfed  most of it down before the birds could reach it. What was left after the squirrels came was quickly polished off by another non-bird visitor.

Fall migration usually brings a few new birds to the CyFair college campus and this has been true this year, too. The most common migrants have been Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. I've seen at least a couple every day for the past two weeks. They're tricky birds to photograph because they never stop moving as they move through the trees (and occasionally down to the ground) looking for bugs. 

They may be small and fidgety but I love watching them because they have a lot of personality.

A pair of Baltimore Orioles popped in one day but were very shy. Easten Wood-Pewees have been more visible.

Warblers have been few and far between. Except for a glimpse of an American Redstart, the only ones I've spotted have been Yellow Warblers, either along the nature trail or in the group of mesquite trees  near the entrance to our library. 

So it hasn't been too exciting for birds in our area but, as always in September, there have been enough residents and migrants around to keep me entertained at home and at work.

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