Saturday, February 02, 2013

On the Home Front

As last Saturday was warm and sunny, I didn't expect our yards to be very busy with birds. As it turned out, I couldn't have been more wrong!

The day started with flyovers by several skeins of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, totalling about 150 birds. For weeks now I have seen similar flocks fly north every day before dawn; the flocks fly south over our house every day at dusk. When I returned from Kleb Woods in the late morning, a Red-shouldered Hawk was circling in the distance.

After that I spent most of the afternoon watching our feeders through our living-room windows.

The most numerous species was American Goldfinch, with 30+ individuals visiting.

Orange-crowned Warblers and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (below) appeared every few minutes to feed on suet.

A couple of Chipping Sparrows (below) and Yellow-rumped Warblers (below) popped in occasionally.

Two of our normal winter residents were missing - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Pine Warbler. However, this was more than offset by the continuing presence of three less common winter visitors - several Red-breasted Nuthatches, a Brown-headed Nuthatch, several Pine Siskins (below) and two Rufous Hummingbirds (below).

Most of our year-round residents appeared as well - House Sparrows, Northern Cardinals (below), Carolina Wrens, Carolina Chickadees, a Downy Woodpecker, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Northern Mocking bird and a Blue Jay.

The seed feeders in our front yard were attracting a handful of White-winged Doves.

More surprisingly, a couple of Mourning Doves grazed on the grass below the feeders. These are birds that used to visit often but that we now see only rarely.

The biggest surprise of all was an Eastern Phoebe, who perched briefly on our back fence before moving to the birdbath in our front yard.

So we had our biggest one-day total of yardbirds ever: 22 species. In fact, we really had 23 species, because we saw a third hummingbird that wasn't a Rufous but we were unable to ID it.


Dave said...

Love garden birding as you know Jeff so I appreciate this post. It reminds me of how species I have seen today that are very close cousins to yours... Goldcrest, Collared Dove... unfortunatly we dont have anything quite like the Hummers :(

Dave said...

*how many

Jeff said...

You would have liked the Houston garden I visited yesterday, Dave. Six hummingbird species!