First Ruby-throated Hummingbird (male) sighting in our back yard!
At Nathan Krestul Park this afternoon, several dozen White Ibis were perched high in trees. They flew down to the water, one by one, then something spooked them and they took off. Here’s one wheeling around:
And here are some back in the water:
Gram and I strolled around the lake at Westminster Woods this afternoon. An Osprey was up on the platform in the middle of the lake:
We heard it calling, but its mate did not appear and it did not leave the platform the whole time we were outside. We also saw a female Wood Duck fly in, as well as a Great Egret.
I’ve seen up to eight American Goldfinches at a time in our back yard today. Some of the males are brilliantly yellow.
I walked to Nathan Krestul Park this morning, binoculars in hand. It was just before dawn, at low tide. A Great Egret perched on a log in the water. Two Tricolored Herons landed in the water nearby. One was in breeding plumage, its bill a brilliant blue. It caught several fish, charging through the water to nab its prey. Red-winged Blackbirds and Commons Grackles called continually. I could hear a Red-bellied Woodpecker drilling softly from time to time. Far off in the swamp, a Pileated Woodpecker clung the top of a tall tree. When a Red-tailed Hawk landed on the next tree over, the Pileated Woodpecker issued a warning cry. A second Great Egret landed near the log in the water, displacing the first, who flew to a tree in the swamp where three juvenile White Ibis had just alighted. A Barred Owl called from far away. A female Wood Duck flew in, quickly disappearing the background. The Pileated Woodpecker eventually flew off, and a Red-bellied Woodpecker landed in a tree a little farther from where the Pileated Woodpecker had been. The Red-tailed Hawk turned its head and noted the new arrival. Small flocks of birds flew overhead–probably Cedar Waxwings. The Pileated Woodpecker called, unseen.
Back at home, there’s still the odd American Goldfinch who shows up at the feeders. I’ve run out of sunflower chips, so it sits at the feeders with mixed seeds, as though perplexed by how to get the sunflower seeds out of their shells. Meanwhile, the Tufted Titmice and Carolina Chickadees pluck out sunflower seeds all day long, fly to a nearby branch, place the seed between their feet, and break open the seeds.
In the late afternoon as my better half and I were walking the dog, we heard Barred Owls calling. It took a few minutes–new leaves are sprouting on the oak trees–but I finally spotted one of the Barred Owls high up in a neighbor’s tree.
After I spotted it–and it spotted me–it stopped calling. Then it turned its head, tucked its beak into its ruff and fell asleep. Even with its eyes closed, it heard me approach for another photograph. Here it is sleepily regarding me:
This morning’s first birds to our back yard, over the space of just a few minutes: a Mourning Dove, a Northern Cardinal (female), an American Goldfinch, a Common Yellowthroat (male), a Red-bellied Woodpecker (male), a Downy Woodpecker (male), a Carolina Wren, and a Black-and-White Warbler. Of these birds, the rarest visitor for us is the Common Yellowthroat, whom I’ve seen only a handful of times over the past few years:
I put a hummingbird feeder up a few days, but haven’t seen any Ruby-throated Hummingbirds yet. Our neighbor’s grapefruit tree is flowering now, casting a perfumey sweet smell over our driveway and even down the street.
This morning–about an hour before dawn–as my better half and I were riding our bikes south down Hendricks Avenue, I saw a dark shape fly from the grass to a tree branch. I stopped and moved up to the sidewalk, positioning my bicycle headlight toward the tree. It was a Barred Owl!
All the sunflower chips are now gone from the feeders in our back yard. I made some nectar for the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that will be arriving any day now.
The temperatures were in the mid 80s today, so Gram jumped at the chance to go outside by the lake. We did not see any birds in or on the lake at Westminster Woods, but I did spot a Swallowtail Kite soaring in the sky above us.
I stopped by Nathan Krestul Park on my way home and saw the usuals: the Little Blue Heron, the Tricolored Heron, assorted Red-winged Blackbirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Eastern Bluebirds. Ten juvenile White Ibis were looking for food in the marshy part of the park. I also spotted a pair of Wood Ducks.
At Nathan Krestul Park this afternoon, a half dozen juvenile White Ibis were standing in shallow water, looking for food. For the first time in weeks, I saw a Snowy Egret there:
Also saw a male and female Mallard. Here’s the female:
This morning there were roughly a dozen American Goldfinches eating the last of the sunflower chips in two of the feeders. A couple of the males are brilliantly yellow.
American Goldfinches Finishing up Sunflower Chips at Season’s End
The Gray Catbird showed up for a drink from the bubbler. The Ruby-crowned Kinglet ate mixed nuts from the cylinder feeder. For the first time this season, I saw a pair of Northern Parula in the oleander next to the bubbler. I still hear a Pileated Woodpecker in the woods behind the house, but haven’t caught a glimpse recently.
And this Black-and-white Warbler showed up for a prolonged bath: