By tomorrow, we will have gained three hours of daylight since the Winter Solstice on December 21. I had not kept track before and it is interesting to me that there is that much of a difference. Birdsong is strengthening, the dawn chorus seems to start earlier each day.
A solitary Rusty Blackbird came in to forage on Tuesday, March 21. I wonder where the larger flocks are that we used to see. This is the second time this year that I've seen a single bird, the first of the year was on Tuesday, January 3, when one visited the Bubbler. (seen in second photo) It is possibly the same bird now getting its darker breeding plumage.
On Friday, March 24, I had been watching a Song Sparrow under the feeders in back when another bird popped up onto a log. Ah, it was the first Swamp Sparrow of the year with his rufous wings and crown stripes, olive gray nape and face. It didn't stick around long so I was glad to confirm it.
A couple different Cooper's Hawks have been spending time in the neighborhood which really cuts down on activity. Birds don't poke a beak out of hiding when they're around. They are most efficient hunters and dispatch their prey quickly. On Friday, March 10, I found this forensic evidence below the feeder. It's a dead give-away that the meal was Mourning Dove.
The very next day, Saturday, March 11, the Bubbler Cam caught this hawk going after another dove, which escaped with its life.
On Friday afternoon, March 24, this adult Cooper's Hawk was wary while it bathed in the basin of the pond. I was somewhat hidden from the bird's view, but it seemed to sense my presence.
We got some much needed rain on Saturday, March 25, and then the sun peeked out which of course, spurred interest in getting a good bath. This is one of the brighter Northern Cardinal females.
One of the three White-throated Sparrows that were here that day decided to join in.
Eastern Phoebes arrived earlier this month and finally this morning, I was able to photograph one while it was fly-catching in the rain. It perched briefly in a Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) before giving a good shake of its head and flying off.