Well, yes. There are Big Days and Big Years, and for the more sedentary (I typed ‘sedimentary’, which works too) there’s the Big Sit, too. Technically, it’s done on a specific day and teams register and all sorts of official stuff, but since I spent the greater part of last weekend in front of the computer and thus in front of the window, I decided to enliven the dreary hours of Financial Aid Hell☟ with a spot of very local birding. And the birds-of-my-yard came through for me!
The weed patch brought in the sparrows, including my FOS White-throated and White-crowned. Every time I plan to clear the area, another flock flies in to glean the seed heads of goldenrod, mullein, and asters. I love to see the scattering of the last seeds and little footprints in the first snow of the season.
The real hot spot, though, was the grapevine draping our disreputable shed. Everyone wanted a taste of the grape action. I tried a few myself, and last week’s touch of frost had sweetened them just a bit. The first Hermit Thrush I’ve seen in the yard flew back and forth between the vines and the deck railing, letting me get a great look at her spotted breast and rusty upper tail. In the mob of American Robins one stood out — it had ‘racing stripes’, white feathers in the right wing and tail that formed a straight line! Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets searched for insects between the leaves while Cardinals and Cedar Waxwings stripped the clusters. Even woodpeckers — Hairy, Downy, Red-bellied and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers — shared the bounty. Yellow-rumped Warblers, the last of the migrants, brightened the scene flashing their butter-butts.
One optimistic male Red-winged Blackbird caroled his spring song, On-ka-lee!
Today on a chill drizzly morning the back yard is quiet. No one is venturing out to the filled feeders, and I can’t blame them. It makes the great show this weekend even more of a treasure.
Red-tailed Hawk, Turkey Vulture, Red-winged Blackbird, American Robin (with racing stripes!), Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Dark-eyed Junco, White-bellied Nuthatch, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, House Finch, American Goldfinch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Canada Goose, Eastern Phoebe, American Crow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush, House Wren, Carolina Wren, Cedar Waxwing, Mourning Dove, Great Blue Heron.
That’s 33 species seen from the windows, plus Mallard, Double-crested Cormorant, and a pair of Wood Ducks on the pond down the road. I suppose they might have flown over the house at some point!
☝Imagine having to do your taxes six months early with none of the paperwork you need, knowing if you screw up it could cost you and your kid tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of $$$$. Hell indeed. Bill (who did the brainwork while I typed) is my hero.