Monthly Archives: March 2015

March 25, 2015

In Memoriam

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November 2, 2014

Susan Diller Craig, also known as “Mom” on this site.  February 18, 1942 to March 24, 2015.  She nudged me into bird watching over ten years ago, when she gave me a pole-mounted bird feeder as a house-warming present.  Earlier this month, on March 1,  right before I dropped her off back home from visiting Gram–her mother and my grandmother–we spotted a pair of  Pileated Woodpeckers in her neighborhood.  Someone watching would be hard-pressed to say which of us was more excited.  More here and here.

March 17, 2015

First back-yard sighting of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird!  (Last year’s first sighting also occurred on March 17. )   Today around 5:30 p.m. a male Ruby-throated came to the nectar feeder hanging outside the breakfast nook window.

Earlier this afternoon I had occasion to be in the gazebo.  After a bit I checked to see if our pal the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was in residence.  He was:

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Look how well he blends in:

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Then I heard a Pileated Woodpecker:

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Pileated Woodpecker (male)

He spent about fifteen minutes on this hat-racked tree:

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Pileated Woodpecker

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Pileated Woodpecker

 

March 15, 2015

As we were heading out for our ride this morning, just at dawn, I caught sight of a Barred Owl flying out of one of my neighbor’s front-yard trees.

My better half and I were in our gazebo early this afternoon when we heard a bird drumming into a tree.  One of us thought it was a Pileated Woodpecker; the other (me) thought it was a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  As it turned out, it was neither:

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Check out the neat, horizontal rows of sapwells in the picture above.

Later in the afternoon I picked up Mom and we went down to see Gram at Westminster Woods.  For the past several Sunday afternoons, bird activity out there has been muted.  For a while over the winter we were seeing Wood Storks, Double-crested Cormorants, several Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Wood Ducks, and Hooded Mergansers.  But recently it has been quiet, and even the Anhinga has been keeping itself to itself.  So it was today until almost 5:00 p.m., when two Ospreys flew in from the direction of Julington Creek and alighted on the platform in Turtle Lake.

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Ospreys

In the late afternoon at home a Northern Parula (male, with red streaks on its upper breast) and the Hermit Thrush took baths, seriatim, in the bubbler.

In contrast to Westminster Woods, bird activity is picking up in my back yard.  Recently I’ve been watching two male Northern Cardinals chasing each other.  A pair of House Finches is now making regular appearances.  The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is still showing up as are a few American Goldfinches.  The regulars are all here–Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Gray Catbirds, Brown Thrashers, Carolina Wrens, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Mourning Doves, Blue Jays, and Northern Mockingbirds.  The Blue Jays take especially energetic baths.

Other flying creatures in the back yard include Carpenter Bees, and assorted butterflies (I think Yellow Sulfurs and some sort of swallowtail).  And columns of gnats!   Where are the gnatcatchers? Or hummingbirds?

Finally, my neighbor’s grapefruit tree is flowering, and the scent is dense, sweet, intoxicating. Both honey bees and bumble bees are pollinating the flowers.

 

 

March 10, 2015

On my way home from work, I spotted a Pileated Woodpecker fly across the road.  Pretty exciting, until I got home and spotted one in the woods behind my back yard!

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Pileated Woodpecker (female)

 

Orange-crowned Warbler looking wild after a bath:

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Orange-crowned Warbler

 

March 5, 2015

I was enjoying a libation at the kitchen table this afternoon when I caught sight of the Hermit Thrush in the bubbler, and the Nashville Warbler and a male Northern Parula (the first time I’ve spotted one this year!) nearby in the oleander.  Mad dash to the closet where my camera was zipped up inside the camera backpack.  By the time I cracked open the sun room door, the Northern Parula had taken off.

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Hermit Thrush with its Rufous Tail

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Nashville Warbler

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Nashville Warbler Taking a Bath

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Nashville Warbler Post Bath

Two days ago, an American Robin and a Gray Catbird were both at the bubbler in the afternoon  And yesterday morning I saw three American Goldfinches in the woods just behind the feeders.  Looks to me that the males are getting their breeding plumage.  Certainly they–and others–are going through the seed faster than before.  The woodpeckers, not to mention the Tufted Titmice, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Mockingbirds, are hitting the suet feeder in the pergola more often, so today I put out a second suet feeder–the upside-down one that the woodpeckers love.

 

March 3, 2015

The Black-and-White Warbler appeared again this afternoon:

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Black-and-White Warbler

So did the Orange-crowned Warbler, looking much milder than it did the other day:

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Orange-crowned Warbler