May 7, 2017

A pair of Downy Woodpeckers in our back yard this afternoon:

Downy Woodpecker (male)

Downy Woodpecker (female)

Here’s a link to activity at the bubbler this morning:

Finally, early morning as I was taking a walk in the next neighborhood over, I heard a strange honking noise.  I followed the sound, and found a peacock atop somebody’s roof!  The homeowner came out, shirtless and a mug of coffee in his hand, and explained that the peacock had shown up a couple of weeks ago.  He said that it wasn’t usually so vocal.  He also said it liked to roost about twenty feet up in an oak tree next to his house.

May 6, 2017

Today was an especially birdy day in our back yard.  This morning we saw–in addition to the usuals (Northern Cardinals, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmice, Gray Catbirds, Carolina Wrens, and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird)–a Northern Waterthrush, a Hooded Warbler, a couple of Black-throated Blue Warblers, and American Redstarts, both male and female.  Plus three Pileated Woodpeckers making a bunch of racket (bwok! bwok! bwok! bwok!).

American Redstarts are fun to watch, but devilishly hard to photograph.  They cover a lot of canopy, moving so fast, darting out in tight circles to nab insects, and then they disappear in the leaves again.   Here’s one that paused on the retaining wall (note the fly in its beak!):

American Redstart (male)

In the afternoon we saw a Great Crested Flycatcher, the American Redstarts, and the Hooded Warbler again (below):

Hooded Warbler

Also an Eastern Black Swallowtail visiting the flowering oleander:

And, from this morning, here’s a Tufted Titmouse, who repeatedly raided a wasp’s nest tucked beneath an eave of our gazebo:

Tufted Titmouse with Grub

April 24, 2016

This Gray Catbird was finding bits of peanuts left behind on the vine by the woodpeckers:

Gray Catbird

And this Mourning Dove had me puzzled at first.  And then I realized it had dropped most of its tail feathers!

Mourning Dove

A few minutes after I photographed the Gray Catbird on the vine, a Downy Woodpecker showed up on the vine with a peanut.  It placed the peanut in a crevice in the vines, and, with blows by its beak, it broke apart the peanut.

Downy Woodpecker

Tonight I saw my first migratory bird of the season in my back yard:  a Black-throated Blue Warbler taking a bath in the bubbler, not long before sunset.  A little later, it came back:

Black-throated Blue Warbler

I hardly knew which way to look.  At the time the Black-throated Blue Warbler came back, I was amazed to spot three Gray Catbirds at once in the back yard:  one on the safflower feeder, one on the mixed-nut feeder, and one waiting for the mixed-nut feeder.  In the past, I’ve seen Black-throated Blue Warblers at the mixed-nut feeder, so maybe this one will stay a few days for the hospitality.


April 12, 2017

To Westminster Woods to see Gram . . . and the Ospreys.  One was up in the tall pine tree with a fish:

Osprey with Fish

The other, in the platform nest, called incessantly.  Some twenty minutes later, the first flew to the nest with the fish.

Osprey Delivering Fish to Platform Nest

A few seconds later, it flew out again, with part of the fish.