Finches, thrushes and kinglets, oh my! 4-8-17

April 08, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

It has been an interesting few days here.  Wednesday morning was rainy and I returned from errands to have a bit of lunch.  As I got up to take my plate to the sink, I saw a male Purple Finch in a Rough-leaf Dogwood near the feeder!  It was the first one I had seen since January 1, 2016.  It flew before I could get a photo but I hoped it would come back.  About 15 minutes later, I spotted this Hermit Thrush in the woods.  Both birds were new for the year.

 

Hermit Thrush 4-5-17Hermit Thrush 4-5-17

 

The Purple Finch did return to the feeder and we were able to enjoy this beauty as it took turns with other birds.

 

Purple Finch 4-5-17Purple Finch 4-5-17 Purple Finch 4-5-17Purple Finch 4-5-17

 

The next nice surprise of the day was a moth, a Nessus Sphinx (Amphion floridensis).  It is quite a small moth (wingspan 1 7/16") and it was nectaring at the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica).

 

Nessus Sphinx Moth (Amphion floridensis) at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) 4-5-17Nessus Sphinx Moth (Amphion floridensis) at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) 4-5-17

 

It's always fun to see something new in your own garden!  After consulting with some knowledgeable friends, I learned that this is one of the first sphinx moths to emerge each year, it's a bit smaller than the Hummingbird Clearwing and a full inch smaller than the White-lined Sphinx.  Those I will typically see in the garden in the summer.  To learn more about this moth, take a look here:  Nessus Sphinx

 

First thing on Thursday morning there were two male Purple Finches waiting to get to the feeder!  

 

Purple Finches 4-6-17Purple Finches 4-6-17

Purple Finch #1 4-6-17Purple Finch #1 4-6-17

Purple Finch #2 4-6-17Purple Finch #2 4-6-17

 

They left and a few hours later, there was a single male that was soon followed by a female.  This is the first time I have ever had both sexes of this species here on the same day!  Perhaps they are a breeding pair.

 

Purple Finch 4-6-17Purple Finch 4-6-17 Purple Finch female 4-6-17Purple Finch female 4-6-17

 

We are still in a time of transition and early migration.  This Brown Creeper came in briefly to look for food.

 

Brown Creeper 4-6-17Brown Creeper 4-6-17

 

American Goldfinches are now in nearly complete breeding plumage.

 

American Goldfinch in full breeding plumage 4-6-17American Goldfinch in full breeding plumage 4-6-17

 

On Friday, April 7, there was still one male Purple Finch here most of the day.

 

Purple Finch 4-7-17Purple Finch 4-7-17 Purple Finch 4-7-17Purple Finch 4-7-17

 

 

One unusual sighting that same day was this female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker with an atypical black crown, not red.  It may be melanistic.  I photographed this same bird last year.  Here is the link to that photo which will open in a new tab:  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker black crown

 

 

Atypical Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female with black crown 4-7-17Atypical Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female with black crown 4-7-17  

 

A pair of Eastern Phoebes are being seen in the yard and this one was fly-catching on Friday.

 

Eastern Phoebe 4-7-17Eastern Phoebe 4-7-17

 

On Saturday, April 8, there was not much activity at the feeders or the Bubbler but the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) in front was buzzing with birds.  Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets were foraging for tiny caterpillars in the newly emerging leaf clusters.  A Carolina Chickadee soon joined in the feast.  Golden-crowned Kinglets were seen first.

 

Golden-crowned Kinglet  4-8-17Golden-crowned Kinglet 4-8-17 Golden-crowned Kinglet  4-8-17Golden-crowned Kinglet 4-8-17    Golden-crowned Kinglet  4-8-17Golden-crowned Kinglet 4-8-17

 

 

Ruby-crowned Kinglets were next.  It was getting breezy.

 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  4-8-17Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-8-17   Ruby-crowned Kinglet  4-8-17Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-8-17 Ruby-crowned Kinglet  4-8-17Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-8-17

 

And, of course, the Carolina Chickadees probably have nestlings by now.  It was a feeding frenzy as these birds moved among the branches!

 

Carolina Chickadee  4-8-17Carolina Chickadee 4-8-17 Carolina Chickadee  4-8-17Carolina Chickadee 4-8-17 Carolina Chickadee  4-8-17Carolina Chickadee 4-8-17

 

To see all of the photos since the last post, start here:   Birds since 3/28/17

 


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