Bird activity has slowed down a bit. I'm still hoping to see some winter finches as it is an irruptive year for them, but none have come in as yet. Winter finches would include birds like Pine Siskins, Purple Finches, Common Redpolls and Red Crossbills, all of which have been seen in the area parks. Fingers crossed on those, they have all found their to our yard in the past if only for a day, as happened with the Common Redpoll.
We have been hosting a Brown Thrasher since 9/30/17. Typically, this species moves on south and by early October few remain. "Primarily only single birds are seen through the remainder of October, and thereafter it is rarely encountered." Description from Birds of Missouri, Their Distribution and Abundance, Mark B. Robbins and David Easterla.
This bird has been popping out every 3 or 4 days and I was able to get some photos in good light on 11/13/17. We have lots of leaf matter for it to forage in and it has been coming regularly to drink at the Bubbler, sometimes staying 15 minutes or more. The thrasher seems comfortable here, but for how long?
The last Ruby-throated Hummingbird was seen on 10/15/17 and I have had them as late as 10/30. I am still keeping one feeder going, just in case a vagrant species zooms by. So far, the goldfinches and this female Downy Woodpecker have been the only visitors.
Dark-eyed Juncos began arriving on 10/29/17. These birds seem to signal the beginning of the winter season for us.
Birds have been feeding on the American Beautyberries (Callicarpa americana) in the garden. American Robins and Northern Cardinals are frequent visitors to these shrubs but this was my first time to see an American Goldfinch enjoying the fruit!
An Eastern Phoebe was around for a few days. I always enjoy watching them splash bathe in the pond. It spent some time sallying out from the arbor to catch flying insects, too.
A Brown Creeper actually got in the basin to bathe one day, without holding on to the perch. That little bird is pretty darn cute!
When things are really quiet, I begin to check for hawks. That was the case last Tuesday, 11/7/17 when a Cooper's Hawk was looking for a meal. The hawk was unsuccessful in its quest.
On the other hand, when things get really noisy, as with several American Crows fussing up a storm, it's time to look for a Great Horned Owl! This predator was well concealed in the neighbor's Norway Spruce. Have you spotted it yet?
The owl was quite indignant about being disturbed. It was giving the "look that could kill". In fact, American Crows are a favorite meal for these owls. No wonder the crows make such a stink!
On Monday, a Golden-crowned Kinglet stole the show when I spotted it splashing and flashing its flaming crown. What joie de vivre! So, November does have its bright and joyful moments in these darker days, and for that I am grateful.
May you have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends!