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.
This one is standing on the ice in the Bubbler Pond - it was only 14 degrees that morning.
The grackles and starlings tend to move together and tolerate each other's presence.
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.
There were also two Pine Siskins at the feeder that morning. Like the goldfinches, they drink at the fountain, too.
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!
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.
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.
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.
The usual suspects were in and out getting water all day long. That included this female Northern Flicker.
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.
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.
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