Rusty Blackbirds, Pine Siskins and another surprise 12-13-17

December 13, 2017  •  1 Comment

Rusty Blackbirds have been seen on a few days this past week or so.  Sometimes it's just a couple birds and on Friday, 12-8-17 there were approximately 50 within a much larger flock of 200 or more Common Grackles and European Starlings.  They were feeding in the leaves in every bed surrounding the house and would rotate in small groups to the Bubbler and the Pond.  

 

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This one is standing on the ice in the Bubbler Pond - it was only 14 degrees that morning.

 

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The grackles and starlings tend to move together and tolerate each other's presence.

 

Common Grackles and European Starlings  12-8-17Common Grackles and European Starlings 12-8-17

 

The Rusty Blackbirds are the last ones to spook and lift off in a mass, like the other two species.  They're also the first to come back down to feed and drink.

 

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There were also two Pine Siskins at the feeder that morning.  Like the goldfinches, they drink at the fountain, too.

 

Pine Siskins  12-8-17Pine Siskins 12-8-17 Pine Siskin  12-8-17Pine Siskin 12-8-17

 

More Pine Siskins showed up a couple days later.  There were 3 in the Bubbler Basin and I was trying to photograph them when another bird popped in to bathe.  What?  It was an Eastern Bluebird!  They are uncommon in the winter.  I've seen one in the garden in December before, this one surprised me more!

 

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Three Pine Siskins did come back to the basin to drink together, while three others were at the west feeder with many of the American Goldfinches, who were staging from the nearby trees.

 

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That fountain on the deck provides very easy access to water for them.  We refresh it often, put a birdbath heater in it and keep it insulated with a rigid foam surround that Dan made.

 

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The Brown Creeper that's been in every day has its preferred spot now on the big Bubbler Rock to get its drink or bath.  When I see a bird repeat the same activity over and over, well, it's likely to be the same individual I think.

 

Brown Creeper  12-10-17Brown Creeper 12-10-17

Brown Creeper  12-10-17Brown Creeper 12-10-17

 

The usual suspects were in and out getting water all day long.  That included this female Northern Flicker. 

 

Northern Flicker female  12-10-17Northern Flicker female 12-10-17

 

It is very, very dry and red flag warnings are up with the elevated fire danger.  I do hope we get some substantial rain soon.  There were three Rusty Blackbirds back at the Bubbler very briefly on Tuesday, 12-12-17.  This was the only one I managed to photograph.

 

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Today, the juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was working on the bark of one of the white oaks, looking for insects.  This bird hadn't been seen since 12-1-17.  

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  12-13-17Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 12-13-17

 

Temperatures are still fluctuating like a bit of a rollercoaster.  The colder days do bring more birds in to feed and drink.  I can't decide which is more of a distraction - the birds or my ever-growing to-do list!

 

To view all the photos for the month begin here:  December photos

 

 


Comments

John Curran(non-registered)
Great photos as usual. I saw first pine siskin in my yard ever today at bubbler. And a close up view of lone cedar wax wing at bubbler two days ago. Never get them up close for viewing until bubbler. Saw a flock of 15 high in trees today. I wish they all dropped down but not today. Thankstion to build it. Between you and Wally....I just had to get one. Mines above ground which was due to unsure placement but now I like it so I can see the birds without standing up from kitchen table. I have bluebirds year round ever since getting heated birdbath last December. Four broods this summer.they love the dead mealworms and bluebird nuggets. They defend the birdhouse year round. Even now they defend the box.

Looking forward to your next posts.
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