Where did November go, December is here with its ever shortening days! The sun seems to hang so low in the sky. We've lost over 5 hours of daylight since the Summer Solstice and it will be a few weeks yet before we start to gain.
Since my last post, there have been some very slow days interspersed with bursts of activity. Flocks of American Robins have been coming in to drink and bathe. Some Cedar Waxwings got brave and joined them at the pond on Saturday, 11/25/17.
The robins have been feasting on the American Beautyberries (Callicarpa americana) with the flock of birds numbering in the dozens.
Northern Cardinals are foraging for the berries and eating seeds they find as well. Here, a female eats a 'maple squirt' from the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum).
And, my little friend, the Tufted Titmouse still prefers the safflower seed.
A young Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was seen on Friday, 12/1/17. It went to the Bubbler several times. A second sapsucker, an adult was chasing after it in the woodland.
On Sunday, 12/3/17 a Brown Creeper scooted down the oak and decided to check out the Bubble of water on the large rock to take a quick bath there. Too many robins were in the basin!
It was another busy day with a large flock of American Robins. A female Northern Flicker drank while they bathed.
I was pleasantly surprised to see my first Rusty Blackbird of the fall/winter in this mixed flock. I had last seen a single bird on 1/3/17. They are an uncommon winter resident in the south and rare in the north and the flocks are very nomadic. It spent a bit of time at the Bubbler, easily holding its own with the robins.
The Rusty then went down to the sump puddle, tossing leaves about and foraging for insects. Swampy wet woods and damp meadows are this bird's preferred habitat and its coloring is absolutely perfect to help it blend in.
The Rusty Blackbird is listed as a Vulnerable species and partly due to loss of habitat its numbers are in decline. I feel very fortunate to be able to see them and glad they can find some food to sustain them here.
The deer have been seen early in the mornings. One of the larger bucks came within view on 11/19/17. It was collecting a young doe.
There were 3 does together on Saturday, 12/2/17 and this one took to the beautyberries with gusto.
I have identified some birds that I was not able to photograph before they flew. Two Pine SIskins were at the Bubbler and were spooked by the larger birds on 11/25/17. Hopefully, they'll be back. There was also a juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker in the maple by the pond, looking down at the water on 12/2/17.
The temperatures have been warm and it's still very, very dry. We are in for a big change and snow is in the forecast for later in the week, so we'll be on the lookout. Last but not least, Dan put together this video from the trail cam clips. It does show a bit of the night life!