We may have finally turned the corner! Our temperatures have been challenging with a couple really warm days, some sleety snow and several hard freezes. There has been a mix of 'winter' birds and new first of year (FOY) birds as well.
Two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers flew in to the same tree very briefly on Tuesday, 4-10-18.
The Eastern Phoebe perched in the Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) while it was in bloom last Sunday, 4-15-18.
This FOY Chipping Sparrow was foraging in the sleet shower on Monday, 4-16-18. One has been seen several times since then.
There have been several Yellow-rumped Warblers around this past week. They are considered a winter resident but we'll be seeing them for a while yet until they move north to Canada to breed. One of these warblers really likes peanut chips! Another found a tasty insect for a meal.
A Brown-headed Cowbird has been coming to bathe in the afternoons. This is the first year I've seen a male of this species get in the basin.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets have also returned from a short distance south. There have been a couple of them chasing each other around the last few days.
And, yes, it's time to put up your hummingbird feeders! The first male returned on Thursday, 4-19-18. I saw a second male at a favorite feeder today!
The hummers have also been enjoying the nectar of the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica).
There have been 1-4 Rusty Blackbirds here on different days. My highest count was 60 on Tuesday, 4-10-18.
On Friday, 4-20-18, a Golden-crowned Kinglet popped out of the Golden Currant (Ribes odoratum), how fitting, and landed on a stone near the pond.
Another small bird was foraging nearby, a FOY Blue-gray Gnatcatcher!
Early on Saturday, 4-21-18, I went out to hose off the Bubbler and heard a soft "teesi-teesi-teesi" and found a FOY warbler, a Black and White. It was climbing up the Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria) near the driveway. It moved on to the west.
Well, I had high hopes for more migrants after that! It was several hours before I saw another striking warbler. It was taking a dip in the swale at the back property line and this bird also flew to the west. Another hour passed before a bird came in to check out the Bubbler. Was it the same bird or a second individual? That is one of the great mysteries of birding! This is the first time I've photographed a Yellow-throated Warbler in the spring!
Be on the lookout! The migrants are coming. I even had a FOY Monarch on Friday, 4-20-18. It was looking for milkweed but this year it hasn't emerged yet. Last year, I photographed one laying eggs on 4-15-17.
I checked back to a year ago and the difference in plant growth and new arrivals is quite striking. We must be 10 days behind with the cold spring. It has not been a figment of our imaginations! Blog from 4-21-17
To view all the photos since the last blog post start here: Photos since 4-8-18