The Great Backyard Bird Count is next weekend February 17 - 20, 2017
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Woodpeckers and other usual suspects came in frequently this week. The male and female Hairy Woodpeckers have been seen almost daily.
Birds like this Blue Jay bathed on Wednesday, 2/8/17 before snow flurries began.
The snow didn't last long at all, but did increase the feeder activity. This Carolina Chickadee waited for a turn at a seed feeder.
A flock of 12-15 American Robins came in, turning over the leaves to look for hibernating insects. This robin found a curled-up spider.
On Friday, 2/10/17 this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 'froze' in place as Blue Jays called to warn of a Cooper's Hawk in the neighborhood. I saw the hawk in the yard to our south, but it flew west in pursuit of a meal, and the sapsucker was free to resume its movements.
A short time later, a second male came in to investigate a food source found by the first bird.
Saturday, 2/11/17 was very warm, so warm that the mosquitoes were out in the afternoon. Sunday was a bit cooler again and the bark butter feeders got a lot of use. The female Red-bellied Woodpecker has mastered the knack of slipping in and out of the cage around this log feeder.
The Carolina Wrens, White-breasted Nuthatches and woodpeckers like the easy access to this open feeder.
The Hairy Woodpecker deferred to the Red-bellied Woodpecker so it could get to the last crumbs. There is a pecking order after all.
Last weekend, Northern California dealt with record rains and flooding, the Northeast received a foot of snow and here it is too dry. A real sign of that was finding that an American Mink had visited both ponds during the night. Mink only come around if they are pretty desperate for food. Just once was a mink recorded last year and that was on 10/1/16. The large Pond has plenty of places for goldfish to hide, but that is not the case with the Bubbler Pond. The mink tried his luck at both and did manage to catch a few fish to eat. They are amazing animals, svelte and swift. The temperature was around 35 degrees, moonbeams danced and sparkled on the water as the mink dove and chased its prey.
The mink was at the large pond at least 25 minutes hunting, and left some telltale tails and scales on the rock near the filter which I found this morning. It's a good idea not to get too attached to fish. They do serve a purpose beyond our needs for color and interaction.