Monday, February 04, 2013

Great Yard Birding

We spent part of Saturday with friends visiting the Texas City Dike and the San Jacinto State Park area. This trip produced plenty of interesting birds, including some new ones for my year list, and I'll report on it later this week. However, the highlight of the weekend was undoubtedly a Sunday morning visit to a fellow birder's yard in Houston.

Sue Orwig lives near the Edith Moore Nature Center and has created an amazingly beautiful and successful backyard habitat for birds, including several species of hummingbirds. Dee and I visited in February last year and saw our first-ever Buff-bellied Hummingbird. This year Sue was kind enough to let me come over at 8:00 on Sunday morning and then to spend 90 minutes leading me around her yards and showing me no fewer than six species of hummingbirds.

I wasn't able to get sharp photos of the first species we saw - Broad-tailed Hummingbird - but I fared a little better with one of several Rufous Hummingbirds.

I failed again when trying to photograph Calliope, Allen's and Black-chinned Hummingbirds. However, I was more successful with my personal target, Buff-bellied Hummingbird.

Sue's yard didn't only have hummers, of course. Among the many species present were Pine Siskin and Red-breasted Nuthatch. A Wilson's Warbler in the yard was a new 2013 bird for me, as was a Pileated Woodpecker in her neighbor's tree.

After the excitement of my visit to Sue's, I spent some comparatively quiet time watching the birds in our own front yard, where the seed and suet feeders nonetheless were bringing in a constant trickle of birds. As usual Carolina Chickadees, Northern Mockingbirds, Orange-crowned Warblers, and Downy Woodpeckers (below) were the most frequent visitors. 

Our winter resident Ruby-crowned Kinglet would slip in whenever other birds were absent. 

Numerous American Goldfinch (below) were accompanied by a couple of Pine Siskins.

Two or three Red-breasted Nuthatches were frequent visitors, too.

I wasn't surprised to see a Brown-headed Nuthatch turn up again, but I was surprised to see no fewer than four of them coming to the feeders and the birdbath.



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