My thoughts these past weeks have been with friends and their families who have been directly affected by the wrath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It is so difficult to begin to comprehend the devastation that these storms have caused. It will be a long road to recovery for my friends and many others.
September is a time for migrants to go back to their winter homes, but these birds will also have difficulty with their own journeys considering the current conditions in Texas and in Florida. I wonder what will happen to them, too.
More of these nomads have been seen here in our Shady Oaks yard. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been buzzing around the garden and the feeders, sometimes I'll have six or seven within my sight at once. Here, one rested on the tiny branch of a Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).
Warblers have been coming in to feed, drink and bathe. This Black and White warbler had a good time by itself on September 1.
Now, I must digress. There are three of us birders who share our yard bird sightings regularly with each other and that would be Connie Alwood, Wally George and myself. Wally put in a bubbler pond in 2004 and Connie has a fairly new bubbling stream along with a smaller one. We recently toured each other's yards to look at plants and our bubblers. Wally had given Connie a few dead cedars to act as perches for the birds while his nearby plants took hold. And on September 2, about 9:30 a.m. Wally stopped by with a gift for me, a lucky cedar tree. I was so excited! There will be a whole blog post later on this idea, but here is what it looked like. I stuck it in a pot and filled it with gravel to stabilize it temporarily. It went next to the Bubbler Rock, its branches to be used by the birds as steps down to the water.
That day I saw four warbler species, but was not able to get any photos because the birds were frantically feeding higher in the canopy. The next day brought more opportunities as birds came closer to the Bubbler area.
There were several Swainson's Thrushes and this one came in early.
An Ovenbird worked through the ground cover of Wood Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) looking for insects. This warbler walks along and reminds me of a little chicken.
A bird flew over my head and I just saw its black and white sides at first. Then, it landed, turned and I realized it was a Yellow-throated Warbler!
It perched on different branches and popped over to the lucky cedar! Here it could get a different view of the Bubbler. It came closer but other birds were dominating the scene and it flew off. The Yellow-throated Warbler is a bird that has only been seen here twice before and now it counts as Bubbler Bird #118. I could hardly believe it. I didn't think that lucky cedar would work its magic that fast! I could hardly wait to share this news with my friends.
Isn't that bird a beauty? It is also Warbler #35 (+ 1 Hybrid) at the Bubbler.
The Black and White female was still foraging in our woodland that day and found a small insect which looked like a katydid. In a gulp, it was gone.
A young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak stopped by for a drink while the House Finches were bathing. I had been hearing its sweet little song and knew it was close by.
A female Chestnut-sided Warbler was also in this mixed flock.
The next day was a bit quieter and I spent some time near the garden. The hummingbirds have been busy at the Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). They also take turns on the wind sculpture as a lookout post.
On September 5, American Redstarts showed up again. The male is shown first and the second photo could be an adult female or first year male. It is often difficult to tell them apart in the fall.
A Tennessee Warbler got into the basin with a Northern Cardinal and a House Finch before going solo.
A female Canada Warbler was chased out by the Carolina Chickadee a couple times, but managed to get a quick bath.
This Nashville Warbler was looking for insects on a small green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica).
A lone White-tailed Buck was in the woodland on the morning of September 8. It has a bum leg, we've seen it before on the trail cam. You can tell if you look closely in the second photo that its right hoof has not been worn down, instead it is long and pointed! The buck still can take off and run on three good legs.
One last treat the past week was catching a fox on the Bubbler Cam, another of nature's most beautiful creatures in my humble opinion. And, that's a wrap!