Now is the time of year when our back yard hosts an overlap of the winter birds, including Yellow-rumped Warblers, American Goldfinches, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Hermit Thrushes (all of which I’ve seen today), and the spring/summer birds, including Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Northern Parula (both of which I’ve seen today). Yesterday I spotted a Northern Parula for the first time this season in our back yard–taking a bath, of course.
All the year-round birds are present, including these two:
And, for the first time ever, even though this mammal is also one of the year-round usuals in my yard, I’m posting a squirrel on this site:
Speaking of squirrels, a safflower-seed-eating squirrel is now partaking of the safflower feeder. I’ve had this pole-mounted safflower feeder for over ten years, and it has provided its bounty in two different back yards of ours. Never before has a squirrel shown any interest in eating safflower seeds. In fact, I remember at our old house, a squirrel made its way up the pole to discover the safflower seeds, and then marched around the feeder, kicking off seeds, before running off for good. However, twice today I watched a squirrel sit hunched up on the narrow ledge of the feeder, and then pluck out seed after seed with its front paws, and crack each open with its teeth.
An aside: this morning I spotted a male Common Yellowthroat in the woods behind our house.
First sighting of the season of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in our back yard. I’d been waiting since last weekend, when I put up a nectar feeder outside the breakfast nook window. Tonight while my better half I were enjoying dinner, two male Ruby-throated showed up and continually dueled for the nectar. At first they dive-bombed each other, including one spectacular ambush from behind. I put out fresh nectar for them, and they continued their antics. Twice one of them hit the window. One time when one was at the feeder, the other hovered above the first, and then attacked. They tangled, and fell to the deck, then flew off.
As I type this, cat has settled in on the perch inside the window, and she chatters every time a Ruby-throated shows up for a drink. The Ruby-throated seem to have formed a truce, for each shows up and drinks undisturbed.
Earlier this afternoon at Westminster Woods while Gram and I were making our way around the lake, I saw an Osprey fly in from Julington Creek with a fish and land on the tall pine tree between the Dogwood and Elm buildings:
Osprey with fish
Immediately an Osprey in the platform nest out in the water–an Osprey who wasn’t visible–began calling . . . and calling. The one in the pine tree kept eating the fish. We went out on the platform deck and I got my camera ready. The one in the pine tree kept eating. The one in the nest kept calling. I waited and waited. I watched three Green Herons show up and snapped this shot of one on the log:
I listened to a Northern Parula call in a nearby tree. Finally I put my camera away, whereupon Gram and I had an excellent view of the Osprey in the pine tree flying up to the platform nest with the fish. Less than a minute later, it flew out of the nest with half the fish! It went back to the pine tree and continued eating.
On the way home, I spotted two Bald Eagles soaring above San Jose Boulevard in Mandarin. And as I fetched the mail, I heard a Barred Owl calling down the street. Quite a bird day without even trying.
American Goldfinches are still hanging out in our back yard:
And although we haven’t seen the one-footed male Northern Cardinal we dubbed Lefty since January, other male Northern Cardinals grace our yard:
Meanwhile, across the street from Nathan Krestul Park the woods are being carted off:
Across the street from Nathan Krestul Park
Late this afternoon I spotted a fledgling Carolina Wren in the grass in our front yard. By the time I got my camera, it was clinging to the brick face of our house.
Fledgling Carolina Wren
I saw an adult nearby, keeping a watchful eye, and I heard a second adult, also nearby, calling loudly.
When I let dog into the back yard this afternoon, I could hear a Pileated Woodpecker calling in the woods behind our house. I spotted him climbing fast up a pine tree–too far back in the woods to photograph. The usuals showed up: a Gray Catbird, the Hermit Thrush, Mourning Doves, Carolina Wrens, a Downy Woodpecker, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, several American Goldfinches. One of the American Goldfinches was drinking at the edge of the bubbler, and then decided to hover above the bubbling water to drink. Wish I’d had my camera ready! Here are the day’s portraits:
Yesterday afternoon the weather was beautiful. I sat on the deck with cat and dog, and watched to see what birds showed up. A few American Goldfinches, mottled yellow and white, flitted between the oleander and the pergola. They called and called, sounding like squeaky little doors opening up, asking questions. This Hermit Thrush, not fazed by any of us, allowed close approach:
Later in the afternoon I went out to UNF for a class at the University Center. I arrived early, and so set up on a grassy bank by a couple of pine trees to see what birds showed up. There were Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Yellow-throated Warbler (who’d caught some sort of arthropod), and Yellow-rumped Warblers.
This afternoon Rick and I spotted our first Swallow-tailed Kite of the season. In the wind, it was soaring fast across the sky.
Earlier today at Westminster Woods, Gram and I watched this Osprey enjoy its meal:
There was a second Osprey in the platform nest, making a racket, but the one with the fish did not make any deliveries while we were outside.
Meanwhile, across from Nathan Krestul Park, the woods are being torn down:
Former woods across from Nathan Krestul Park
Three White Ibis at Nathan Krestul Park at low tide:
Birds in the back yard when I got home from work today:
Also seen–but not photographed–were an American Goldfinch, a Hermit Thrush, a couple of Carolina Wrens, a Northern Cardinal, and a Red-bellied Woodpecker.
After watching the other birds enjoy the mixed-nut feeder all winter, the Hermit Thrush finally decided to get its own taste of it:
The Hermit Thrush that has wintered in our back yard hasn’t yet headed north:
I saw only a couple of American Goldfinches today. And though there are at least two male Northern Cardinals at the feeders, we haven’t seen the one-footed Cardinal we called Lefty since January.