Hummer Haven UnLtd.: Blog https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog en-us (C) Hummer Haven UnLtd. (Hummer Haven UnLtd.) Wed, 24 Feb 2021 20:26:00 GMT Wed, 24 Feb 2021 20:26:00 GMT https://hummerhavenunltd.com/img/s/v-12/u594331759-o146253739-50.jpg Hummer Haven UnLtd.: Blog https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog 120 80 "Rara avis" on 2-21-21 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2021/2/-rara-avis-on-2-21-21 "God is in the details..." 

or 

It's important to pay attention to the tiniest things.

 

2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immature male2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immature male 2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immature male2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immature male

 

On Sunday, 2-21-21, about 8:35 a.m. I had just come into the breakfast room and saw two birds on the little oak by the Bubbler. Oh, nice! I watched them, as a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker chased an immature male around the tree. This brightly marked, gorgeous bird was the first adult male Yellow-bellied of the winter, or so I first thought. My initial ID would soon be challenged by the smallest of details!

 

2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) 2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) 2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) 2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)

 

"Hmm, and who do we think you are!?" I said to myself. This bird had a red patch of feathering on the nape, and white feathers on its chin. It clearly had two distinct parallel rows of white feathers down its back. These features did not point to a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Was this a Yellow-bellied x Red-naped Sapsucker (hybrid)? Oooh...my focus intensified as I tried to get as many images of every side of this bird as I could. The bird was so cooperative, and it enjoyed a wonderful bath in the basin as its only obvious reward. 

 

2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) 2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) 2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) 2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) 2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC) 2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)2-21-21 Red-naped Sapsucker female (MBRC)

 

The bird was seen for about 3 minutes total, then it left along with the younger bird. Winds had picked up from the southwest and neither bird was seen again. About 11 a.m., I began my study of the photos and field guides. I double-checked The Status and Distribution of Birds in Missouri, by Mark B. Robbins. There were only two records of this hybrid in the state, and none of the pure Red-naped Sapsucker species. "Rara avis" indeed. I filled out an eBird checklist with the bird as a hybrid, but added that it may be a female Red-naped Sapsucker. I needed help, it would take experts to decide for certain. My part was to provide the photos to document this bird.

 

https://ebird.org/checklist/S82086111

 

2-21-21 Comparison photo2-21-21 Comparison photo

 

These tiny details may be enough to confirm a pure female Red-naped Sapsucker. After my eBird checklist and photos were flagged and reviewed, and emails exchanged, I was asked to document the sighting as exactly that. The MBRC (Missouri Bird Records Committee) will review it and share with experts on this species and sapsucker hybrids in other states. It may be a year or more before this sighting is confirmed and if it is, it would be a new pure species for Missouri. In any event, what a lovely bird it was! 

 

Red-naped Sapsucker map from allaboutbirds.orgRed-naped Sapsucker map from allaboutbirds.org

Map from allaboutbirds.org
 

 

The Polar vortex that brought our winter storm and the storm in Texas must have some bearing on the bird's appearance here, pushed by winds from the Southwest. Look where it's supposed to be spending the winter! I am so grateful that it somehow found its way to our Shady Oaks Sanctuary.

 

Now for follow-up from the last blog post. Remember the grim tale of the Rusty Blackbird that took the American Goldfinch? We were cleaning the bubbler area a couple days later and I found the carcass of the goldfinch in the snow. The blackbirds did certainly finish what they took. Two or three Rusty Blackbirds may have survived thanks to the sacrifice of that goldfinch. Brutal conditions brought out that survival tactic, it has only been recorded in that species in extremely tough weather situations.

 

2-21-21 Carcass of American Goldfinch taken 2-15-212-21-21 Carcass of American Goldfinch taken 2-15-21

 

Now for all the photos since the last blog post:

Photos since 2-16-21

 

Spring is surely on the way!

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2021/2/-rara-avis-on-2-21-21 Tue, 23 Feb 2021 20:34:24 GMT
It's February! 2-16-21 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2021/2/its-february-2-16-21 CRUMBS TO THE BIRDS

 

A bird appears a thoughtless thing, 

He's ever living on the wing,

And keeps up such a caroling, 

That little else to do but sing

          A man would guess had he.

 

A bird appears a thoughtless thing,

No doubt he has his little cares,

And very hard he often fares,

The which so patiently he bears,

That, list'ning to those cheerful airs,

          Who knows but he may be

 

In want of his next meal of seeds?

I think for that his sweet song pleads. 

If so, his pretty art succeeds.

I'll scatter there among the weeds

          All the small crumbs I see.

 

Poetry for Children

By Charles and Mary Lamb, 1809

 

2-13-21 Tufted Titmouse2-13-21 Tufted Titmouse

 

Birds like this Tufted Titmouse have been singing, tuning up for Spring. But February had wintry days in store for all the birds.

 

2-9-21 White-throated Sparrow, no tail2-9-21 White-throated Sparrow, no tail

 

Feeding birds in winter is not for the faint of heart. One is witness to trials we would be hard pressed to bear. A White-throated Sparrow has lost all its tail feathers, making it more difficult to fly, to balance.

 

2-12-21 European Starling attacks Red-bellied Woodpecker2-12-21 European Starling attacks Red-bellied Woodpecker

 

A European Starling attacked a Red-bellied Woodpecker, forcing it off the bark butter feeder. The woodpecker did recover to return later.

 

2-14-21 Northern Cardinal2-14-21 Northern Cardinal

 

On Valentine's Day, this beautiful Northern Cardinal braved the snowy conditions to drink at the bubble, encased in ice.

 

2-13-21 Pileated Woodpecker female2-13-21 Pileated Woodpecker female

 

Three mornings in a row a female Pileated Woodpecker came into the woodland, and investigated any dead branches to look for insects. It had its eye on the bubbler and feeders, assessing the lot.

 

2-14-21 Carolina Chickadee with deformed leg2-14-21 Carolina Chickadee with deformed leg

 

A Carolina Chickadee has been seen at the feeders daily, hanging on, despite having one deformed leg. Its talons can be seen, but the leg is not of much use. We are glad to see the little bird every morning, knowing it has survived another night in this bitter cold.

 

2-10-21 Northern Cardinal2-10-21 Northern Cardinal

 

Even when temperatures drop, birds will come to the basin to bathe. The de-icer in the pond keeps the water from freezing. It must feel a bit warmer than the air.

 

2-9-21 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker napping, Brown Creeper's roadblock2-9-21 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker napping, Brown Creeper's roadblock

 

A Brown Creeper came upon a sleeping roadblock in the form of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Birds spend some time every day resting.

 

2-15-21 Eastern Bluebird2-15-21 Eastern Bluebird

 

Eastern Bluebirds have been coming in to drink at the bubbler and at the fountain.

 

2-15-21 Rusty Blackbird takes American Goldfinch

 

A disturbing scened unfolded before us just as we were going to go out and refill the feeders. An American Goldfinch appears in the lower left corner of  the screen at 3:03:51 on the clock. A Rusty Blackbird dove in and grabbed it, making a meal of it. Two birds, possibly three partook of this meal. We waited for the scene to play out, then cleaned and sanitized the basin.

 

2-15-21 Rusty Blackbird eats American Goldfinch2-15-21 Rusty Blackbird eats American Goldfinch 2-15-21 Rusty Blackbird #2 eats American Goldfinch2-15-21 Rusty Blackbird #2 eats American Goldfinch

 

Brutal conditions force birds to take food in whatever form is necessary. Winter is cruel.

 

2-16-21 Red-shouldered Hawk2-16-21 Red-shouldered Hawk

 

Today was bright and beautiful, just making it to 20 degrees. This beautiful Red-shouldered Hawk came in, looking about and soaking up the sunshine. 

 

The last few weeks have been very full, full of birds and commitments!

To view all the photos since the last blog post, begin here:  Photos since 1-23-21

 

One of the programs I've given recently was recorded by St. Louis Wild Ones.

You are invited to view it here:  Why Our Gardens Are Vital to the Conservation of Our Native Birds

 

Take care and stay warm!

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2021/2/its-february-2-16-21 Wed, 17 Feb 2021 04:02:21 GMT
1-25-21 Third week of January https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2021/1/1-25-21-third-week-of-january  

Interesting winter species continue to reside here in our sanctuary.

 

Note: Changing up the format and captions will now be underneath the photos.

1-17-21 Pine Siskins1-17-21 Pine Siskins 1-19-21 Pine Siskins1-19-21 Pine Siskins

 

Pine Siskins have made themselves right at home! Small flocks of a dozen on up to thirty plus come in to find food and water. 

 

1-19-21 Pine Siskin1-19-21 Pine Siskin 1-22-21 Pine Siskins1-22-21 Pine Siskins

 

Some mornings, six or more of these tiny finches will emerge from the "Christmas Tree B&B" where they have spent the night. They might begin their day by eating some of the seed that the 'maid service' has scattered on the boughs. 

 

1-19-21 7 Pine Siskins1-19-21 7 Pine Siskins 1-22-21 5 Pine Siskins1-22-21 5 Pine Siskins 1-22-21 Pine Siskin on Sugar  Maple1-22-21 Pine Siskin on Sugar Maple

 

By noontime, they are ready for that splash-fest in the basin. Then, the birds are on to getting seed at the feeders and sometimes foraging in the garden and 'natural lawn' or on the trees, like this one on a sugar maple (Acer saccharum). It's difficult to tell for sure, but it looks like it might be nibbling a bit of freshly sprouted moss from this branch. 

 

1-18-21 Rusty Blackbird1-18-21 Rusty Blackbird 1-18-21 Rusty Blackbird1-18-21 Rusty Blackbird 1-18-21 Rusty Blackbird1-18-21 Rusty Blackbird

 

Rusty Blackbirds have been coming in quite often. They have been seen on 13 days this month. On 1-18-21 there was a flock on the east side of the yard and some stopped in at the pond. They worked in all the beds and when they flew up in groups of 10-12, I estimated the flock at fifty. 

 

1-21-21 Rusty Blackbird1-21-21 Rusty Blackbird 1-21-21 Rusty Blackbirds1-21-21 Rusty Blackbirds 1-21-21 Rusty Blackbird1-21-21 Rusty Blackbird

 

On Thursday, 1-21-21, we had cleaned the bubbler pond and installed a new pump, and I was up on the deck, refilling the fountain to finish up. A small group of six Rusty Blackbirds dropped into the swampy wetland area to forage. They must have been watching us while waiting in the trees. Birds all seem to know that we work quickly so they can get back to 'their' space. I was able to get some photos without disturbing them. This is always difficult for me to capture from inside, they blend in so well with this habitat. The birds only stayed about 8-9 minutes before taking off to the east. This seems to be their pattern, they don't stay very long, but aren't they beauties?


 

1-23-21 Rusty Blackbird1-23-21 Rusty Blackbird 1-23-21 Rusty Blackbird1-23-21 Rusty Blackbird

 

The flock grew to a dozen on Saturday, 1-23-21. The low angle of the sun made it tricky to catch them from inside, but a few came up to the bubbler area to work in the leaf litter.

 

1-19-21 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immature male1-19-21 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immature male 1-23-21 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female1-23-21 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female

 

Both Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been seen on different days. The immature male is in the first photo and the adult female in the second one.

 

1-21-21 Northern Flicker1-21-21 Northern Flicker 1-23-21 Northern Flicker1-23-21 Northern Flicker

 

Northern Flickers are at the bubbler to drink and bathe often. That wet mop is a male, followed by the female. 

 

1-23-21 Downy Woodpecker1-23-21 Downy Woodpecker 1-23-21 Hairy Woodpecker1-23-21 Hairy Woodpecker

 

Downy Woodpeckers are seen every day. The Hairy Woodpecker is half again as large and comes often, but not a guarantee. Both of these are females. Notice the difference in bill size in relation to the head. That helps to tell them apart.

 

1-17-21 Red-bellied Woodpecker1-17-21 Red-bellied Woodpecker 1-17-21 Red-bellied Woodpecker1-17-21 Red-bellied Woodpecker

 

Here the Red-bellied Woodpecker actually showed us its named-for belly, then its striking back detail.

 

1-16-21 Brown Creeper1-16-21 Brown Creeper

 

The tiny Brown Creeper is a regular, always checking the trees for insects and a bit of bark butter. We have been seeing a pair of them.

 

1-23-21 Carolina Wren1-23-21 Carolina Wren

1-22-21 Eastern Bluebird1-22-21 Eastern Bluebird

 

Signs of spring? Carolina Wrens are active, singing and scouting for places to possibly nest. This one is perched on the Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens). Look closely- the vine is sprouting new growth. An Eastern Bluebird was seen on Friday, 1/22/21 before noon when it perched on the bluebird house. We've gained 35 minutes of daylight, and shall be watching for more welcome signs!

 

 


 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2021/1/1-25-21-third-week-of-january Mon, 25 Jan 2021 14:06:38 GMT
Mid-January update, 1-17-21 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2021/1/mid-january-update-1-17-21 Winter settles in...

 

Our typical winter species have been busy foraging for food, which may be insects, bark butter, or seeds. A White-breasted Nuthatch and female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker worked opposite each other. A female nuthatch found a bit of bark butter to stash. A Red-bellied Woodpecker probed for insects while Northern Flickers (male has the mustache) and a female Hairy Woodpecker waited for turns at the feeders.

 

1-11-21 White-breasted Nuthatch and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female1-11-21 White-breasted Nuthatch and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female

1-16-21 White-breasted Nuthatch1-16-21 White-breasted Nuthatch 1-16-21 Red-bellied Woodpecker female1-16-21 Red-bellied Woodpecker female 1-15-21 Northern Flicker1-15-21 Northern Flicker 1-15-21 Northern Flicker female1-15-21 Northern Flicker female 1-15-21 Hairy Woodpecker1-15-21 Hairy Woodpecker

 

There is one American Robin here every single day, and it claims the bark butter for itself, chasing away any number of other species. This bird also will eat small sunflower chips and probes the ground a bit for insects. Rusty Blackbirds come in and sometimes stop at the bubbler on their way to turn over leaves in the swampy wetland.

 

1-11-21 American Robin with bark butter1-11-21 American Robin with bark butter

1-11-21 Rusty Blackbird female1-11-21 Rusty Blackbird female 1-12-21 Rusty Blackbirds1-12-21 Rusty Blackbirds

 

Dark-eyed Juncos have been using the salvaged Christmas tree for cover, both at night and during the day. Northern Cardinals and White-throated Sparrows have been seen going in and out of it, too. 

 

1-15-21 Dark-eyed Junco1-15-21 Dark-eyed Junco 1-16-21 Dark-eyed Junco1-16-21 Dark-eyed Junco

 

It was a nice surprise to find a Song Sparrow also using the tree for shelter. It came out to get a drink and went off to forage.

 

1-15-21 Song Sparrow in cover of Christmas tree1-15-21 Song Sparrow in cover of Christmas tree 1-15-21 Song Sparrow1-15-21 Song Sparrow 1-15-21 Song Sparrow1-15-21 Song Sparrow

 

Pine Siskins have been here every day as well. They are using the feeders, fountain and basin.

 

1-15-21 8 Pine Siskins1-15-21 8 Pine Siskins 1-15-21 Pine Siskin at the fountain1-15-21 Pine Siskin at the fountain 1-15-21 8 Pine Siskins1-15-21 8 Pine Siskins

 

On Friday,1-15-21 when it was snowing lightly most of the afternoon, some of the birds were in our Pond Cypress (Taxodium ascendens). The birds were finding something to eat on the slender, pendulous green catkins, or male flowers. This tree is not native to our area, but just south and east of Missouri. It was planted as an Arbor Day tree by the original owners. The Pine Siskin will spend winters even farther south of us, so it must be familiar with this food source. Can you find them in this first photo?
 

1-15-21 3 Pine Siskins on catkins of Pond Cypress1-15-21 3 Pine Siskins on catkins of Pond Cypress 1-15-21 3 Pine Siskins on catkins of Pond Cypress1-15-21 3 Pine Siskins on catkins of Pond Cypress 1-15-21 Pine Siskin on catkin of Pond Cypress1-15-21 Pine Siskin on catkin of Pond Cypress

 

For more on this irruptive finch species:  Pine Siskin

 

Mourning Doves took their naps near the Bubbler. A Tufted Titmouse came in to drink and Northern Cardinals brightened the woodland, waiting in the snow showers for turns at the feeders.

 

1-15-21 Mourning Doves resting1-15-21 Mourning Doves resting

1-16-21 Tufted Titmouse1-16-21 Tufted Titmouse 1-15-21 Northern Cardinal1-15-21 Northern Cardinal

1-15-21 Northern Cardinal1-15-21 Northern Cardinal 1-15-21 Northern Cardinal waiting to get on feeder1-15-21 Northern Cardinal waiting to get on feeder 1-15-21 Northern Cardinal1-15-21 Northern Cardinal

 

Tired of winter already? The 2020 Native Plant Garden Tour was cancelled, but you can view this video mini-tour by Mitch Leachman of

one of the featured Native Plant Gardens, chock full of ideas. DaveTylka is a consummate teacher and authored the MDC book:

Native Landscaping for Wildlife and People. He shared his garden on a hot July day, enjoy!

 

 Dave Tylka's Garden in July 2020

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2021/1/mid-january-update-1-17-21 Sun, 17 Jan 2021 16:06:30 GMT
And so it begins, 2021 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2021/1/and-so-it-begins-2021 2021

A Slippery Start

 

Temperatures hovered around 29 degrees, freezing rain gave way to melting droplets and ended with snowflakes. Bedraggled birds came in by the dozens to forage, and we had 24 species on this first day of the new year.

The Pine Siskin count was 22, a pair of Brown Creepers were seen, and American Goldfinches numbered 13. A Blue Jay looked to be encased in ice as it rested in a viburnum.

 

1-1-21 Pine Siskin on icy branch of American Elm1-1-21 Pine Siskin on icy branch of American Elm

1-1-21 Two Brown Creepers1-1-21 Two Brown Creepers

1-1-21 American Goldfinch  on icy branch of Rough-leaf Dogwood1-1-21 American Goldfinch on icy branch of Rough-leaf Dogwood 1-1-21 Blue Jay1-1-21 Blue Jay

1-1-21 Ice melting on Rough-leaf Dogwood1-1-21 Ice melting on Rough-leaf Dogwood

 

A Red-bellied Woodpecker was challenged by a pest but held its ground against this European Starling. The immature male and female Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers both came in looking for bark butter.

 

1-1-21 Red-bellied Woodpecker female and European Starling1-1-21 Red-bellied Woodpecker female and European Starling 1-1-21 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, immature male1-1-21 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, immature male 1-1-21 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female1-1-21 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female

 

Rusty Blackbirds were seen in the woodland, tossing leaves and looking for insects. American Crows came in low, near the Bubbler, hoping for a handout the next day. Even in these miserable-to-us conditions, Pine Siskins held a pool party.

 

1-1-21 Rusty Blackbird1-1-21 Rusty Blackbird

1-2-21 American Crow1-2-21 American Crow 1-2-21 Six Pine Siskins1-2-21 Six Pine Siskins

 

A Hairy Woodpecker took some time to nap on the bark butter feeder. Northern Cardinals, Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows were seen going in and out of the still fragrant Christmas tree, salvaged from our neighbors. We thank you, Nick, Courtney and George, and so do the birds! We staked it for additional cover, and just in time before the first snowflakes fell.

 

1-2-21 Hairy Woodpecker1-2-21 Hairy Woodpecker

1-2-21 Salvaged Christmas tree from neighbors1-2-21 Salvaged Christmas tree from neighbors

 

On Sunday, 1-3-21, a female Purple Finch stayed long enough to be documented. However, the resident House Finches did not make the bird welcome at all. They harassed the Purple Finch at each feeder. 

 

1-3-21 Purple Finch female in Spicebush1-3-21 Purple Finch female in Spicebush 1-3-21 Two House Finches and Purple Finch female1-3-21 Two House Finches and Purple Finch female

1-3-21 House Finch pushes off Purple Finch female1-3-21 House Finch pushes off Purple Finch female 1-3-21 House Finch spars with Purple Finch female1-3-21 House Finch spars with Purple Finch female

 

Meanwhile, the Pine Siskins continued to take advantage of bathing time after lunch.

 

1-4-21 Nine Pine Siskins1-4-21 Nine Pine Siskins

 

On the next day, another female Purple Finch came in. To me, this bird looked a bit brighter, with more contrast in its plumage. At the same time, a very striped female Red-winged Blackbird was near the feeder, FOY#28 for the year.


1-4-21 Purple Finch female1-4-21 Purple Finch female 1-4-21 FOY #28 Red-winged Blackbird female1-4-21 FOY #28 Red-winged Blackbird female

 

Tuesday, 1-5-21 was a much nicer day. It warmed up to 50.2 degrees, the 'Yellow-shafted' Northern Flicker female seemed to thoroughly enjoy a dunking. See the shafts of its feathers? The western sub-species has red shafts.

 

1-5-21 Northern Flicker female1-5-21 Northern Flicker female 1-5-21 Northern Flicker female1-5-21 Northern Flicker female 1-5-21 Northern Flicker female1-5-21 Northern Flicker female

 

A Red-tailed Hawk was seen soaring and heard calling, FOY#29. Carolina Wrens were singing, and insects were dancing about. All of the insect activity brought in Eastern Bluebirds, FOY#30. 

 

1-5-21 Singing Carolina Wren on a 50 degree day1-5-21 Singing Carolina Wren on a 50 degree day 1-5-21 Insects out on a 50 degree day1-5-21 Insects out on a 50 degree day

1-5-21 FOY#30 Eastern Bluebird1-5-21 FOY#30 Eastern Bluebird

 

We took an idea from our friend, Wally George, to re-use a storage container as a tray feeder for the birds. It took a few days, but quite a few species now have used it. Sixteen Pine Siskins were on it on Thursday, 1-7-21, and as we added up the Siskins on the other feeders and in the Bubbler Basin, we came up with 43. Today's count was 48, our highest ever.

 

1-7-21 16 Pine Siskins1-7-21 16 Pine Siskins 1-7-21 8 Pine Siskins1-7-21 8 Pine Siskins 1-7-21 8 Pine Siskins1-7-21 8 Pine Siskins 1-7-21 9 Pine Siskins1-7-21 9 Pine Siskins

 

Blue Jays, a Song Sparrow and today, a Common Grackle have visited the Bubbler, bringing the year total to 23 and overall yard total to 32. As counting birds goes, it has been a good start to the year.

 

1-8-21 Blue Jay1-8-21 Blue Jay 1-9-21  Bubbler #22 Song Sparrow1-9-21 Bubbler #22 Song Sparrow

1-10-21 FOY 32 B23 Common Grackle1-10-21 FOY 32 B23 Common Grackle

 

We have gained 11 minutes of daylight since the Solstice, have you noticed?

As the Brown Creeper says, "Hang in there, please stay safe and well!"

 

1-8-21 Brown Creeper1-8-21 Brown Creeper
 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2021/1/and-so-it-begins-2021 Sun, 10 Jan 2021 22:03:48 GMT
2020...It's a wrap! https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/12/2020-its-a-wrap It's nearly time to call this year done. On to the new!

 

On Sunday 12-20-20 about 7 a.m., I heard a thump on the roof of the breakfast room, then saw a fluttering of feathers off the gutter. The prey was taken down to the compost area by an Accipiter species. I think this is a male Cooper's Hawk, similar in size to a female Sharp-shinned. The shape of the head, the eye position and larger bill point the i.d. in that direction. It is often a tough call between these species. Cooper's nest in the neighborhood, whereas Sharpies are seasonal visitors. Either one strikes fear into the other birds! The prey looks like a Mourning Dove. No other birds came out in the open for several hours. 

 

12-20-20 Cooper's Hawk with Mourning Dove meal12-20-20 Cooper's Hawk with Mourning Dove meal

12-20-20 Cooper's Hawk with Mourning Dove meal12-20-20 Cooper's Hawk with Mourning Dove meal

 

The following day was nice, breezy and topped out at 58.6 degrees. It was also the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. I took advantage of the day and was outside for a while. This Northern Cardinal was rather curious. A flock of 15 Rusty Blackbirds came in to forage in the wetland. At sunset, we went out to find a spot to view and photograph the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. It was fairly clear, pretty breezy, but still around 50 degrees and we felt fortunate to have been able to view it.

  12-21-20 Northern Cardinal12-21-20 Northern Cardinal

12-21-20 5 Rusty Blackbirds12-21-20 5 Rusty Blackbirds

 

Tuesday brought in a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker for the first time in 3 weeks. A Tufted Titmouse splashed and preened on another 50+ degree day.

 

12-22-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female12-22-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female 12-22-20 Tufted Titmouse12-22-20 Tufted Titmouse

 

Change was coming and temperatures began to drop after a high of 62 degrees on 12-23-20. By Christmas Eve, the high was only 23 during the day. We watched birds coming in to feed heavily and drink, all day long. We both saw this Northern Flicker, with an injured or broken leg. How in the world was it able to hold onto the feeder?  We both were amazed. 'Tiny Tim' came to mind. This bird's presence seemed to sum up a lot about 2020. It may have been broken, but it was definitely a survivor! It rested after getting some bark butter. Another flicker chased it from that tree and it flew lower. Somehow, it has found the strength to, literally, hang on. Nature inspires us!

 

12-24-20 Northern Flicker with broken leg12-24-20 Northern Flicker with broken leg 12-24-20 Northern Flicker with broken leg12-24-20 Northern Flicker with broken leg 12-24-20 Northern Flicker with broken leg12-24-20 Northern Flicker with broken leg

 

The bitter winds continued to blow from the west and then northwest. Thank goodness for extra feathers in winter, it was going to be a cold night. Rusty Blackbirds came in, Pine Siskins were on the feeders and in the garden, chowing down.

 

12-24-20 Northern Cardinal in the wind12-24-20 Northern Cardinal in the wind

12-28-20 Rusty Blackbird12-28-20 Rusty Blackbird

12-24-20 Pine Siskins at Beebalm (Monarda Fistulosa)12-24-20 Pine Siskins at Beebalm (Monarda Fistulosa)

 

Christmas morning arrived with a low of 9.6 degrees. We had not put the de-icer in the bubbler pond yet and there was a lot of ice formation, but the water still flowed underneath. Birds like this Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove and Pine Siskin gathered at the spillway, where they could drink. A Downy Woodpecker used its bill to chip the ice away. An unlikely pair were on the Bubbler rock together, a European Starling and a Blue Jay. Smart birds use their energies wisely in tough conditions.

 

12-25-20 Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove and Pine Siskin12-25-20 Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove and Pine Siskin 12-25-20 Downy Woodpecker chipping ice12-25-20 Downy Woodpecker chipping ice 12-25-20 European Starling and Blue Jay12-25-20 European Starling and Blue Jay

 

The female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker returned, puffed up to keep warm, and glowing in the morning sun. An immature male sapsucker was seen later on Christmas Day, sporting new red feathers on its throat and crown.

 

12-25-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female12-25-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female

12-25-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immature male12-25-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immature male
 

Our first of the year Northern Mockingbird arrived in the yard on Christmas Day, too. Yes, this species is common, but it likes more open habitat than we have. There are years that it does not make it onto our year list. I had seen one a few days before in the yard next door. So, this bird was #119 for the year and #85 at the Bubbler, giving us a new year record of species. The bird returned and warmed itself near the south facing wall of stone, then drank at the stream bed.



12-25-20 FOY #119 Bubbler #85 Northern Mockingbird12-25-20 FOY #119 Bubbler #85 Northern Mockingbird

12-25-20 FOY #119 Bubbler #85 Northern Mockingbird12-25-20 FOY #119 Bubbler #85 Northern Mockingbird 12-25-20 FOY #119 Bubbler #85 Northern Mockingbird12-25-20 FOY #119 Bubbler #85 Northern Mockingbird

 

A female Purple Finch was seen on two consecutive days, then a male showed up on 12-28-20 and was seen again briefly the next morning. Purple Finches and Pine Siskins are considered to be irruptive species, coming south when there is less food for them in the northern boreal forest. We may see more as winter progresses. Look for them at your feeders, but don't be fooled by House Finches. Here are a couple comparison photos first. Female House Finch is on the left in the first photo, female Purple Finch on the right with the white eyebrow and well-defined cheek patch. The male Purple Finch is raspberry in color, not red or orangey. It also lacks the stripes on the flanks.

 

 

Female and male Purple Finches that have been here lately are shown below.


12-27-20 Purple Finch female12-27-20 Purple Finch female
12-28-20 Purple Finch12-28-20 Purple Finch

 

As we look to the long winter, there may be other irruptive species showing up. One could be Red Crossbills, which visited our yard on 2-20-2013 and 2-21-2013. The upper bill crosses over the lower bill, and they have distinctive coloring. Females are greenish. There is also a White-winged Crossbill species that could come in.

Red Crossbill

White-winged Crossbill

 

2-20-13 Red Crossbills at the Bubbler2-20-13 Red Crossbills at the Bubbler 2-21-13 Red Crossbills at the Fountain2-21-13 Red Crossbills at the Fountain

 

Another possibility is the Common Redpoll. This is also an irruptive finch, similar in size to the Pine Siskin, but with a yellow bill and a red cap. This female showed up on 12-29-2008 and was seen a couple other days. 

 

Common Redpoll

 

12-29-08 Common Redpoll12-29-08 Common RedpollMargy Terpstra

 

The real prize that we yard-birders are waiting for is the Evening Grosbeak, which has been showing up in Missouri this winter for the first time in 20 years. It is a species of conservation concern. It's large, beautiful and eats lots of black oil sunflower seeds! So, make that available and you just may help these colorful birds get through the winter.

 

Evening Grosbeak

 

To read more about the irruptive species:  Winter Finch Forecast 2020-2021

 

12-30-20 Northern Cardinal12-30-20 Northern Cardinal

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/12/2020-its-a-wrap Thu, 31 Dec 2020 22:51:00 GMT
Mid-December sightings 12-18-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/12/mid-december-sightings-12-18-20 "I love what you've done with your yard and I love walking by - you always have so many birds!"

...a neighbor who made our day last week

 

This year in the midst of the pandemic, many neighbors have walked by. Twin girls, maybe 6 or 7 years old, collected the blossoms of the coral trumpet honeysuckle as excitedly as if finding fairies. One girl proudly showed us her new camera, waving it in the air, saying she wished she had butterflies like ours in her garden. The youngest neighbors have grown from being carried or pushed, to pushing, pedaling and running on their own. These are a few of the positive things we try and remember about this year. Those small ways of connecting have helped us all. 

December continues with the usual suspects along with less typical ones. We have several Northern Flickers around, coming in daily. A female seemed to thoroughly enjoy a good bath last Wednesday. A Blue Jay took a turn a couple days later. A female Red-bellied Woodpecker has been coming in to look for bark butter and seed.

 

12-9-20 Northern Flicker female12-9-20 Northern Flicker female 12-9-20 Northern Flicker female12-9-20 Northern Flicker female

12-11-20 Blue Jay12-11-20 Blue Jay

12-14-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker female12-14-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker female

 

Pine Siskins have been consistently coming in, though daily numbers have fluctuated. On Saturday, 12-12-20 we had 40 birds, our highest ever count. They were at all the finch feeders with a mix of fine black oil sunflower chips and thistle seed. Fourteen of them had a pool party at the Bubbler. They are pretty tame, and I was able to get this photo and a video of them. You can hear their unique buzzy "brrrzeerr!"call. 

 


12-9-20 Pine Siskin12-9-20 Pine Siskin

12-12-20 14 Pine Siskins12-12-20 14 Pine Siskins

12-12-20 Pine Siskins

 

Rusty Blackbirds have been coming in small groups on different days. They'll forage and visit the water features.

 

12-9-20 Rusty Blackbird12-9-20 Rusty Blackbird
12-10-20 Rusty Blackbird12-10-20 Rusty Blackbird
12-11-20 Rusty Blackbird12-11-20 Rusty Blackbird
 

Just as I was about to start another batch of cookies one day, I saw a large flock of blackbirds drop down into the swampy thicket. I was very lucky to be able to get out onto the deck before they noticed my movement. They were so focused on foraging, that my presence didn't bother them at all and I was able to get these videos. It was a mixed flock, mostly Rusty Blackbirds 50-60, a few European Starlings and Common Grackles, maybe 30 or so total, along with our FOS Red-winged Blackbirds, numbering at least 30 that were on and under the feeders. It's pretty easy to tell the Rusty Blackbirds from the Red-winged.

 

12-12-20 Rusty Blackbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles

 

12-12-20 Rusty Blackbirds and one Red-winged Blackbird

 

12-12-20 Rusty Blackbird and 2 Red-winged Blackbirds12-12-20 Rusty Blackbird and 2 Red-winged Blackbirds 12-12-20 Red-winged Blackbird and Rusty Blackbird12-12-20 Red-winged Blackbird and Rusty Blackbird 12-12-20 2 Red-winged Blackbirds12-12-20 2 Red-winged Blackbirds 12-12-20 30 Red-winged Blackbirds12-12-20 30 Red-winged Blackbirds 12-13-20 Red-winged Blackbirds12-13-20 Red-winged Blackbirds

 

The garden beds may look dull to some ​​​in our Missouri winter, but they really are a treasure trove of food for the birds. Take a closer look and the seed heads of Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) sparkle in golden splendor. The goldfinches and siskins had been visiting them before they moved onto those of the Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa). As the seeds drop, juncos and sparrows, like this White-throated Sparrow will work the areas under the plants.

 

12-12-20 Garden in December12-12-20 Garden in December 12-12-20 Purple Coneflower seed heads12-12-20 Purple Coneflower seed heads

12-15-20 American Goldfinch and 4 Pine Siskins at Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa)12-15-20 American Goldfinch and 4 Pine Siskins at Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa) 12-15-20 Pine Siskin at Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa)12-15-20 Pine Siskin at Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa) 12-15-20 White-throated Sparrow foraging12-15-20 White-throated Sparrow foraging

 

The native plants in and around the yard also provide much needed cover for the birds to shelter in from the cold. On Tuesday, 12-15-20, the northwest winds were brisk. I spotted this Song Sparrow in the Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle near the pond. It finally came out to forage again after a rest, then went to join another. After an overnight snow, a Mourning Dove took a little winter nap on a perch near the bubbler. 

 

12-15-20 Song Sparrow in cover of Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)12-15-20 Song Sparrow in cover of Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) 12-15-20 Song Sparrow in cover of Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)12-15-20 Song Sparrow in cover of Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) 12-16-20 Mourning Dove in snow12-16-20 Mourning Dove in snow

 

Now, from both of us and the Merry Brown Creeper, 

we wish you all a healthy and happy holiday season!

 

12-10-20 Merry Brown Creeper12-10-20 Merry Brown Creeper

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/12/mid-december-sightings-12-18-20 Fri, 18 Dec 2020 21:38:00 GMT
Into December! 12-8-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/12/into-december-12-8-20 Birds, birds, birds...foraging, feeding, drinking, bathing and resting every day.

 

Feeders have been busy with the woodpecker group:  Northern Flickers, two Red-bellied, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers. 

 

11-24-20 Northern Flicker11-24-20 Northern Flicker

11-24-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker #1 using tongue11-24-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker #1 using tongue 11-25-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker #211-25-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker #2

 

11-30-20 Hairy Woodpecker female11-30-20 Hairy Woodpecker female 11-26-20 Hairy Woodpecker female11-26-20 Hairy Woodpecker female

 

Finches of several kinds have been visiting, too. Northern Cardinals, House Finches, lots of Pine Siskins and a female Purple Finch has been seen on two days.

11-24-20 Northern Cardinal11-24-20 Northern Cardinal 11-26-20 Northern Cardinal female and House Finch11-26-20 Northern Cardinal female and House Finch 12-2-20 Ten Pine Siskins12-2-20 Ten Pine Siskins 12-2-20 Purple Finch female12-2-20 Purple Finch female

12-3-20 Purple Finch female and Pine Siskin12-3-20 Purple Finch female and Pine Siskin

 

A Brown Creeper has been here almost every day, looking for tiny larvae to feed on. 
 

11-25-20 Brown Creeper on Blackhaw Viburnum11-25-20 Brown Creeper on Blackhaw Viburnum

 

Rusty Blackbirds have shown up, a pair on Thanksgiving Day, then a flock of about 30 on Wednesday, 12/2/20. They were easier to see in the sunny areas. In the swampy thicket, their preferred habitat, they looked almost like the dark wet leaves they were foraging in.

 

11-26-20 One of two Rusty Blackbirds, a female11-26-20 One of two Rusty Blackbirds, a female

12-2-20 Rusty Blackbirds12-2-20 Rusty Blackbirds

12-2-20 Four Rusty Blackbirds12-2-20 Four Rusty Blackbirds

 

Eastern Bluebirds were hoping to catch insects one day when it reached 53 degrees. American Robins are still working the patch of American Beautyberries.

 

11-29-20 Eastern Bluebird11-29-20 Eastern Bluebird 12-2-20 American Robin eating Beautyberries12-2-20 American Robin eating Beautyberries

 

As soon as the sun pops out from behind the clouds, the birds head for the water. A Tufted Titmouse and White-throated Sparrow shared the basin. Pine Siskins get drinks at the fountain or the bubbler, and bathe in the basin or stream bed. A Dark-eyed Junco followed suit. 

 

11-24-20 Tufted Titmouse and White-throated Sparrow11-24-20 Tufted Titmouse and White-throated Sparrow 11-26-20 Pine Siskins at the Fountain11-26-20 Pine Siskins at the Fountain

11-30-20 Pine Siskin11-30-20 Pine Siskin
11-26-20 Three Pine SIskins11-26-20 Three Pine SIskins


12-2-20 Pine Siskins12-2-20 Pine Siskins 12-2-20 Dark-eyed Junco12-2-20 Dark-eyed Junco

 

The most interesting thing to occur in the last two weeks happened yesterday. I had heard Barred Owls 'conversing' on Sunday night, about 9:00 p.m. and they were close by. The next day around noon, I saw some cardinals on the seed heads of the mallows so I went to get the camera. On the way, I heard two Blue Jays making a fuss. By the time I returned, everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY had left the garden area and headed to the woodland. When I walked back through the house, there were 30 birds or more, clustered in the rough-leaf dogwoods by the deck. There were at least a dozen male Northern Cardinals, six females, assorted sparrows and juncos, chickadees, titmice, wrens and a Northern Flicker in these trees. "Oh my gosh, look!" I called to Dan who could see this from the other room. We just had never seen anything quite like this, and I couldn't begin to capture it in a photo. All the birds were looking down at the ground area. We couldn't see what they were looking at so we went downstairs to look out the basement door. Something flushed the large bird, which was a Barred Owl. It flew past us, under the deck to a branch of the pond cypress where it stayed all afternoon. The small birds would check on it and squawk or chatter, but the owl rested, yawned and waited until dusk, when it finally flew. It was a good thing to know the large bird felt safe and comfortable enough to stay.
 

12-7-20 Barred Owl12-7-20 Barred Owl 12-7-20 Barred Owl12-7-20 Barred Owl

 

This is only the second time I've been able to photograph Barred Owls this year. Perhaps we'll be seeing them more often. In the meantime, here are the photos since the last post.

Images since 11-24-20

 

 


 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/12/into-december-12-8-20 Wed, 09 Dec 2020 04:36:37 GMT
Thanksgiving week 11-24-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/11/thanksgiving-week-11-24-20 NATURE'S BOUNTY

 

A purple coneflower blooms in mid-November. Birds of many colors find fresh water to drink and dance in. A Red-tailed Hawk

takes a squirrel for a meal. This month, we are especially grateful for these experiences to share with you.

 

11-16-20 Purple Coneflower11-16-20 Purple Coneflower

 

A Downy Woodpecker splash-bathed in the basin's water stream. Cedar Waxwings and American Robins came to drink. 

 

11-18-20 Downy Woodpecker bathing11-18-20 Downy Woodpecker bathing
11-17-20 Cedar Waxwings11-17-20 Cedar Waxwings 11-17-20 American Robin11-17-20 American Robin 11-17-20 Leucistic "Pied" American Robin11-17-20 Leucistic "Pied" American Robin

 

Wait, what is going on with that robin?

This individual is the most interesting one we've ever seen. It is lacking pigment, or melanin and called "leucistic", or "pied".  

 

Our FOS (first of season) Rusty Blackbird came in with a flock of European Starlings and Common Grackles last Wednesday, 11-18-20. Cedar Waxwings took advantage of the basin when they could. There was a huge flock of American Robins moving through the yard, foraging in the leaves and using the water features. I estimated 200-250, with 12-14 at the bubbler at constant intervals throughout the day.

 

11-18-20 FOS Rusty Blackbird and European Starling11-18-20 FOS Rusty Blackbird and European Starling 11-18-20 Cedar Waxwings11-18-20 Cedar Waxwings

11-18-20 Cedar Waxwings11-18-20 Cedar Waxwings

11-19-20 American Robins - 1411-19-20 American Robins - 14

 

The robins moved on which gave all the other birds a chance to take a turn the next day. Four Dark-eyed Juncos shared the basin with two Pine Siskins. A Northern Flicker checked things out and a Mourning Dove performed its water ballet. 

 

11-20-20 Dark-eyed Juncos and Pine Siskins11-20-20 Dark-eyed Juncos and Pine Siskins 11-19-20 Northern Flicker11-19-20 Northern Flicker 11-20-20 Mourning Dove ballet11-20-20 Mourning Dove ballet 11-20-20 Mourning Dove ballet11-20-20 Mourning Dove ballet

 

A Red-tailed Hawk briefly landed in the Sugar Maple by the pond, harassed by several birds making a ruckus. It got a better grip on its partially eaten meal and took off again.

 

11-20-20 Red-tailed Hawk with squirrel11-20-20 Red-tailed Hawk with squirrel

 

Tails are pretty important to squirrels, sheltering them in rain and snow, and used in signaling to others their intentions. We have one survivor which has only about 1/3 of its tail left. Is this one tough enough to last through the winter?

 

 

On Friday, for the first time all year, I was finally able to photograph Blue Jays at the bubbler. They might have popped in, but never long enough for a photographic study. Why? No idea, but I was glad to see them. One of the pair vigorously explored every inch of the basin.

 

11-20-20 Blue Jays11-20-20 Blue Jays 11-20-20 Blue Jay11-20-20 Blue Jay 11-20-20 Blue Jay11-20-20 Blue Jay 11-20-20 Blue Jay11-20-20 Blue Jay

 

Smaller birds followed later, House Finches, Dark-eyed Juncos and Eastern Bluebirds. The Bluebirds, only slightly larger, claimed the territory. These birds just know how to have fun! 

 

11-20-20 House Finches, Eastern Bluebird, and Dark-eyed Junco11-20-20 House Finches, Eastern Bluebird, and Dark-eyed Junco 11-20-20 House Finch, Eastern Bluebird, and Dark-eyed Junco11-20-20 House Finch, Eastern Bluebird, and Dark-eyed Junco 11-20-20 Eastern Bluebird11-20-20 Eastern Bluebird 11-20-20 Eastern Bluebird11-20-20 Eastern Bluebird 11-20-20 Eastern Bluebird11-20-20 Eastern Bluebird 11-20-20 Eastern Bluebird11-20-20 Eastern Bluebird 11-20-20 Eastern Bluebird11-20-20 Eastern Bluebird

 

The tally of Pine Siskins reached a high of at least 15 on Sunday, 11-22-20. Though the temperature only made it to 47 degrees, and we had just had nearly two inches of rain, the birds seemed to make the most of every minute they had to bathe. 

 

11-22-20 12 Pine Siskins11-22-20 12 Pine Siskins 11-22-20 5 Pine Siskins11-22-20 5 Pine Siskins 11-22-20  Pine Siskin11-22-20 Pine Siskin

 

To view all the photos since the last post, begin here: Birds since 11-13-20

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/11/thanksgiving-week-11-24-20 Tue, 24 Nov 2020 22:49:03 GMT
Second week of November, 11-14-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/11/second-week-of-november-11-14-20  

November 14, 2020

It's really November now, raw, cold and wet.

 

We begin with last Sunday afternoon and we were busy with a few tasks inside. When it came time to check the Stealth Cam later that day, we discovered a video that surprised us both! Tis the mating season for white-tailed deer and this looks to be a 10-point buck, drinking at the sump puddle. Look closely at the background - the doe is up at the bubbler. The second video is of the doe, from the Bubbler Cam. Well, there is rarely a dull moment around here!

 

11-8-20 Buck and Doe

11-8-20 Doe

 

This week has been one of changeover. Leaves have really been coming down after a couple mornings below freezing. The beautyberries are ripe and American Robins have been feasting on them.

 

11-9-20 American Robin on American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)11-9-20 American Robin on American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) 11-9-20 American Robin on American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)11-9-20 American Robin on American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) 11-9-20 American Robin on American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)11-9-20 American Robin on American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

 

It has been dry until today, so the water features have been getting a real workout. Cedar Waxwings feel most comfortable when flocking in their family groups to come down together. They sheltered under oak leaves, to preen and fluff their feathers out. One adult bird seemed to be the sentry, looking about in every direction. It gave the signal to fly for cover, and they swirled up and away.

 

11-9-20 Cedar Waxwings11-9-20 Cedar Waxwings 11-9-20 Cedar Waxwing11-9-20 Cedar Waxwing 11-9-20 Cedar Waxwing11-9-20 Cedar Waxwing 11-9-20 Cedar Waxwing11-9-20 Cedar Waxwing 11-9-20 Cedar Waxwing11-9-20 Cedar Waxwing

 

Common Grackles have also been seen foraging in the leaves and taking baths at the pond and bubbler. Wednesday, there were more than twenty present.

 

11-9-20 Common Grackle11-9-20 Common Grackle

11-9-20 Common Grackle11-9-20 Common Grackle

 

An American Goldfinch rested in the rosy, sheltering leaves of the Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum x 'Blue Muffin'). Brown Creepers have been seen almost every day this week. On Monday, there were two calling back and forth and following each other through the woods. 

 

11-9-20 American Goldfinch in Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum x Blue Muffin)11-9-20 American Goldfinch in Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum x Blue Muffin)
11-10-20 Brown Creeper11-10-20 Brown Creeper

 

Yellow-rumped Warblers have come in for water on at least two days. A pair of Eurasian Tree Sparrows have been regular at the feeders and bubbler. The Blue Jays still go for water at the sump puddle. 

 

11-10-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler11-10-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler 11-10-20 Eurasian Tree Sparrows11-10-20 Eurasian Tree Sparrows 11-10-20 Blue Jay11-10-20 Blue Jay

 

American Robins have been the most numerous birds this week. It has been a constant "round robin of robins"! The large flock has been moving around the neighborhood and they can get rather feisty about dominating the water. A Cedar Waxwing made its own case, emphatically.

  11-10-20 American Robins11-10-20 American Robins 11-10-20 Cedar Waxwing and American Robin11-10-20 Cedar Waxwing and American Robin

 

American Goldfinches were the very first species to use the Bubbler twenty years ago. They usually get along, but this bird was certainly not a happy camper about sharing. Later, things settled down.

 

11-10-20 American Goldfinches11-10-20 American Goldfinches 11-10-20 American Goldfinches11-10-20 American Goldfinches 11-10-20 American Goldfinches11-10-20 American Goldfinches

11-10-20 American Goldfinches11-10-20 American Goldfinches

 

On Wednesday, three Pine Siskins were back. It had been ten days since we had seen any. The Cedar Waxwings had finally gotten a chance to bathe when the robins left. The remaining waxwing rather reluctantly shared some space with a siskin.

 

11-11-20 Pine Siskins11-11-20 Pine Siskins

11-12-20 Pine Siskin and Cedar Waxwing11-12-20 Pine Siskin and Cedar Waxwing

11-12-20 Pine Siskin and Cedar Waxwing11-12-20 Pine Siskin and Cedar Waxwing

11-12-20 Pine Siskin and Cedar Waxwing11-12-20 Pine Siskin and Cedar Waxwing

 

Northern Flickers have been thirsty, too. I've been seeing four individuals, two females and two males. The female is pictured first, then the male with the notable 'moustache'.

 

11-13-20 Northern Flicker female11-13-20 Northern Flicker female 11-13-20 Northern Flicker11-13-20 Northern Flicker

 

The bird of the week appeared briefly yesterday and I was only able to get one photo. This is a male Purple Finch. So, be watching those feeders carefully. This is predicted to be a very good winter for us to see them and other irruptive species.

 

11-13-20 FOS Purple Finch11-13-20 FOS Purple Finch

 

Here is a photo from a few years ago, with the Purple Finch on the left and a House Finch on the right.

 

Purple Finch on left, House Finch on rightPurple Finch on left, House Finch on right

 

Have fun watching the feeders!

 

 


 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/11/second-week-of-november-11-14-20 Sat, 14 Nov 2020 17:34:24 GMT
First week of November, 11-8-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/11/first-week-of-november-11-8-20  

The week began with a few warblers. Orange-crowned, a late Black-throated Green and a few Yellow-rumped Warblers were seen feeding and visiting the water features.

 

11-1-20 Orange-crowned Warbler11-1-20 Orange-crowned Warbler 11-1-20 Black-throated Green Warbler11-1-20 Black-throated Green Warbler

11-2-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler11-2-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler

 

A Winter Wren came in along with a lone Pine Siskin. A Golden-crowned Kinglet was also seen.


11-1-20 Winter Wren11-1-20 Winter Wren 11-1-20 Pine Siskin11-1-20 Pine Siskin

11-2-20 Golden-crowned Kinglet11-2-20 Golden-crowned Kinglet

 

A Downy Woodpecker took an unusual approach to the water, clinging to the Bubbler Rock. Dark-Eyed Juncos often find seeds in the garden, and then come to the water to wash them down. A Brown Creeper was seen every day, it must be one of the winter residents.


11-1-20 Downy Woodpecker11-1-20 Downy Woodpecker 11-2-20 Dark-eyed Junco11-2-20 Dark-eyed Junco

11-4-20 Brown Creeper11-4-20 Brown Creeper
 

The usual suspects now have to accept several species that will be around for the winter, yet some are not always ready to share. A Tufted Titmouse seemed to tell this White-throated Sparrow who was boss. Another came in later, all fluffed out, and satisfied to have the place to itself. 

 

11-2-20 Tufted Titmouse and White-throated Sparrow11-2-20 Tufted Titmouse and White-throated Sparrow

11-4-20 Tufted Titmouse11-4-20 Tufted Titmouse

 

A Carolina Wren drank from the well of the hummingbird feeder. Yes, there is still one feeder up, just in case a rare species would come in. Once we saw a Rufous Hummingbird, checking out the feeders, on 11-20-2008.
 

 

11-3-20 Carolina Wren11-3-20 Carolina Wren

 

American Robins have been dominating the water when they come in. Squabbles are quick to break out, thrushes love to get in to bathe.

  11-5-20 American Robins11-5-20 American Robins

 

The last of the Blackhaw fruits are being enjoyed by many different species. Northern Cardinals, American Robins and even Cedar Waxwings have come in to take them. It has gotten dry again, so birds are also using the sump puddle to have more access to water.

 

11-2-20 Northern Cardinal with Blackhaw fruit11-2-20 Northern Cardinal with Blackhaw fruit
11-6-20 American Robin with Blackhaw fruit11-6-20 American Robin with Blackhaw fruit 11-6-20 Cedar Waxwing11-6-20 Cedar Waxwing 11-6-20 Cedar Waxwing with Blackhaw fruit11-6-20 Cedar Waxwing with Blackhaw fruit 11-6-20 Cedar Waxwings11-6-20 Cedar Waxwings 11-6-20 Cedar Waxwings11-6-20 Cedar Waxwings 11-6-20 Cedar Waxwing11-6-20 Cedar Waxwing

 

On Saturday, two species of thrushes came in. The robins were not ready to budge but eventually, the Eastern Bluebirds had their way!

 

11-7-20 American Robin and Eastern Bluebird female11-7-20 American Robin and Eastern Bluebird female 11-7-20 Eastern Bluebird female11-7-20 Eastern Bluebird female 11-7-20 Eastern Bluebird females11-7-20 Eastern Bluebird females 11-7-20 Eastern Bluebird11-7-20 Eastern Bluebird

11-7-20 Eastern Bluebird11-7-20 Eastern Bluebird
11-7-20 Eastern Bluebird11-7-20 Eastern Bluebird

 

"The bluebird carries the sky upon his back."

Henry David Thoreau

 

 

To see all the photos since the last blog post:  November photos

 

Peace, and Good Health to you and yours!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/11/first-week-of-november-11-8-20 Sun, 08 Nov 2020 16:55:13 GMT
Blue Moon Halloween 10-31-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/10/blue-moon-halloween-10-31-20 Halloween Treats have been coming in all week!

 

An Orange-crowned Warbler investigated the Bubbler Pond by holding onto a leaf of Wild Ginger and splashing about. It's always interesting to watch how individual birds approach the water. A Nashville Warbler took the typical route and Golden-crowned Kinglets looked on.

 

10-25-20 Orange-crowned Warbler at pond edge10-25-20 Orange-crowned Warbler at pond edge

10-25-20 Nashville Warbler10-25-20 Nashville Warbler
 

10-25-20 Pair of Golden-crowned Kinglets10-25-20 Pair of Golden-crowned Kinglets

 

Rain had started on Monday and the temperature dropped all day. Tuesday brought in a Yellow-rumped Warbler who seemed to enjoy watching the bubbles it saw in the pond. The rain let up and as I was going to fill the feeders in the garden, another Winter Wren skittered across the deck in front of me. It showed up later at the Bubbler.

 

10-27-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler10-27-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler 10-27-20 Winter Wren10-27-20 Winter Wren 10-27-20 Winter Wren10-27-20 Winter Wren

 

Tuesday also brought in 3 Red-breasted Nuthatches that were constantly at the peanut and bark butter feeders. The first two are males, the third is a female, with a paler breast.

 

10-27-20 Red-breasted Nuthatch10-27-20 Red-breasted Nuthatch 10-27-20 Red-breasted Nuthatch10-27-20 Red-breasted Nuthatch 10-27-20 Red-breasted Nuthatch10-27-20 Red-breasted Nuthatch

 

Dark-eyed Juncos arrived on Sunday, 10-25-20. They are often called 'snowbirds'. A Brown Creeper has been seen on different days.

 

10-27-20 Dark-eyed Junco10-27-20 Dark-eyed Junco 10-27-20 Brown Creeper10-27-20 Brown Creeper

 

Despite cold rains, birds love to bathe, and a Carolina Chickadee took a quick dip on Thursday, 10-29-20. It was certainly a raw, wet day. Again, the temperature dropped most of the day, into the low 40's. As they say, though, "Bad weather brings good birds!" A pair of Eastern Bluebirds came in to feast on the last of the Blackhaw fruits. The Bluebirds were a good omen, as it turned out. 

 

10-29-20 Carolina Chickadee10-29-20 Carolina Chickadee 10-29-20 Eastern Bluebird10-29-20 Eastern Bluebird

10-29-20 Eastern Bluebird female10-29-20 Eastern Bluebird female

10-29-20 Blackhaw drupes10-29-20 Blackhaw drupes

 

There was a solitary Pine Siskin on the feeder by the back door and I went to check on the feeders in the garden, hoping to see more of them there, but no joy. When I returned within a minute, this very yellow bird was on the peanut feeder, wagging its tail. Wait, what? I blinked, trying to make sense of what I was looking at when the bird flew. It was in a nearby Blackhaw and I was able to get a few photos of it there.  It was a Palm Warbler, but a rare subspecies for our area. We usually see the Western species here and this was the Eastern or Yellow Palm Warbler. The Eastern subspecies has been documented a number of times in Missouri, mostly in December. So, this sighting will contribute to those records.
 

10-29-20 Yellow/Eastern Palm (Rare10-29-20 Yellow/Eastern Palm (Rare 10-29-20 Yellow/Eastern Palm (Rare10-29-20 Yellow/Eastern Palm (Rare 10-29-20 Yellow/Eastern Palm (Rare)10-29-20 Yellow/Eastern Palm (Rare)

 

Pine Siskins did come in a flock later that day, with eight as my high count. That number may increase over the winter, my birding friends report seeing 30-60+ birds in their yards! That's sure a challenge for a good pair of eyes to track.

 

10-29-20 Pine Siskins10-29-20 Pine Siskins 10-29-20 Pine Siskins10-29-20 Pine Siskins

 

Another Orange-crowned Warbler dropped in yesterday, 10-30-20. There was a quiet spell, then the light was so pretty on a Tufted Titmouse that I took a few photos and was checking them when another yellow bird appeared! Wait, wait, don't tell me...this bird has only come to the Bubbler once before, in March, 2014, a bright Pine Warbler. 

 

10-30-20 Orange-crowned Warbler10-30-20 Orange-crowned Warbler 10-30-20 Tufted Titmouse10-30-20 Tufted Titmouse 10-30-20 FOS Pine Warbler10-30-20 FOS Pine Warbler 10-30-20 FOS Pine Warbler10-30-20 FOS Pine Warbler 10-30-20 FOS Pine Warbler10-30-20 FOS Pine Warbler

 

For a while this fall, it seemed that our yard was not on the main path for migration as it had been in the spring. I just wasn't seeing the typical warblers in the usual numbers. Well, no more whining! To have three warblers that I've not had before in the fall season is remarkable. Maybe these birds took the 'road less traveled by'. Cape May, an Eastern Palm and a Pine Warbler have been here, and what treats they have been! 

 

If you're interested in seeing the Fall Warbler Gallery, begin here:  Fall Warblers

If you'd like to view all the birds since the last blog post, begin here:  Birds since 10-25-20

 

Here is one last unexpected, and spooky, sighting, thanks to our Stealth Cam in the woods.

The light in the background is the infrared light on the Bubbler Cam.

 

10-20-20 Coyote pair

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/10/blue-moon-halloween-10-31-20 Sat, 31 Oct 2020 21:38:12 GMT
Happy 20th Anniversary for the Bubbler, and October sightings 10-25-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/10/happy-20th-anniversary-bubbler-october-sightings-10-25-20 Yes, 20 years for the Bubbler, and October is still busy with migration.

 

One Nashville Warbler joined three Tennessee Warblers in a bit of an Indian summer party atmosphere. American Robins utilized the dripper baths while a Downy Woodpecker got a drink in the stream bed of the big pond.

 

10-17-20 3 Tennessee Warblers and Nashville Warbler10-17-20 3 Tennessee Warblers and Nashville Warbler 10-17-20 American Robins10-17-20 American Robins 10-17-20 Downy Woodpecker10-17-20 Downy Woodpecker

 

Over at the Bubbler, Eastern Phoebes continued to come in for sips of water and quick splash-baths. From tiny Ruby-crowned Kinglets to large American Crows, the water features have been visited often until we finally got some rain. 

 

10--18-20 Eastern Phoebe10--18-20 Eastern Phoebe 10-18-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglets10-18-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglets 10-18-20 American Crow10-18-20 American Crow

 

Our first of the season, FOS Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers arrived on Wednesday, 10-21-20. A female flew in first, but was quickly upset by an immature bird, which was instantly joined by another. I saw the female again later that day, but the little scruffy ones flew up into the canopy.

 

10-21-20 FOS Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female10-21-20 FOS Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female 10-21-20 FOS Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female and immature10-21-20 FOS Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female and immature 10-21-20 FOS Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immatures10-21-20 FOS Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immatures

 

The following day, a couple titmice mirrored each other in getting freshened up. 

 

10-22-20 Tufted Titmice10-22-20 Tufted Titmice

 

A Blue-headed Vireo had the basin all to itself when it came in later. Apparently, this uncommon species isn't often seen in places other than parks and larger migrant traps. Lucky us, this vireo really knows how to belly-flop! Whoopee!

 

10-22-20 Blue-headed Vireo10-22-20 Blue-headed Vireo 10-22-20 Blue-headed Vireo10-22-20 Blue-headed Vireo 10-22-20 Blue-headed Vireo10-22-20 Blue-headed Vireo 10-22-20 Blue-headed Vireo10-22-20 Blue-headed Vireo

 

After the vireo left, it got very quiet, so to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Bubbler, we gave it a little makeover. We had planned to replace the tubing with a slightly larger diameter and Dan had gathered all the components. This small change would push 25% more water through the tubing. It was our last warm day to tackle the project, and we got it done. I also raised the rock in the basin so it now flows over the flat face in a way that makes a bit more sound and flushes water through the whole basin. We liked it, now would the birds notice?

 

10-22-20 New tubing, more vigorous flow10-22-20 New tubing, more vigorous flow 10-22-20 New tubing, more vigorous flow in basin. Raised rock for more sound.10-22-20 New tubing, more vigorous flow in basin. Raised rock for more sound.

10-23-20 Bubbler Makeover

 

The next morning, I saw a greenish bird fly into the small elm behind the Bubbler. It was a female Summer Tanager. This is getting late for this species! It kept looking around and then flew to the Blackhaw viburnum, grabbed a ripe drupe and carried it higher, out of sight. Later that day, an American Robin came in to feast on them and a Yellow-rumped Warbler was eyeing the fruit. 

 

10-23-20 Summer Tanager female10-23-20 Summer Tanager female

10-23-20 American Robin eating Blackhaw fruit10-23-20 American Robin eating Blackhaw fruit
10-23-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler10-23-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler

 

Back at the basin, the birds were all excited! Three Ruby-crowned Kinglets were popping in and out, and just as one got in to bathe, a Blue-headed Vireo came in to check things out. Yes, it looked like the birds approved the new look.

  10-23-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Blue-headed Vireo10-23-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Blue-headed Vireo

 

A single Black-throated Green Warbler came in and was followed by an Orange-crowned Warbler. Look closely, yes, the crown is visible on this drab little bird.

  10-23-20 Black-throated Green Warbler10-23-20 Black-throated Green Warbler 10-23-20 Orange-crowned Warbler10-23-20 Orange-crowned Warbler 10-23-20 Orange-crowned Warbler10-23-20 Orange-crowned Warbler 10-23-20 Orange-crowned Warbler10-23-20 Orange-crowned Warbler 10-23-20 Orange-crowned Warbler10-23-20 Orange-crowned Warbler 10-23-20 Orange-crowned Warbler10-23-20 Orange-crowned Warbler

 

White-throated Sparrows have arrived, and they've been in the basin. A Tennessee Warbler came briefly in the morning.

 

10-23-20 White-throated Sparrow10-23-20 White-throated Sparrow 10-24-20 Tennessee Warbler10-24-20 Tennessee Warbler

 

A new bird for the year arrived yesterday, 10-24-20, a Pine Siskin for #118. Large flocks are being seen in the area now. I hope this visitor found the finch feeders, there is one freshly filled and waiting in the garden near all the seed heads of Purple Coneflower, Ironweed and Eastern Blazing Star. This is an irruptive species which only comes our way when food is scarce up north. Its needle-sharp bill and yellow wing patches help to distinguish it from the larger female House Finch in the last photo.

 

10-24-20 FOY#118 Pine Siskin10-24-20 FOY#118 Pine Siskin 10-24-20 House Finch and FOY#118 Pine Siskin10-24-20 House Finch and FOY#118 Pine Siskin

 

To view all the photos since 10-15-20, begin here: Images

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/10/happy-20th-anniversary-bubbler-october-sightings-10-25-20 Sun, 25 Oct 2020 19:32:36 GMT
Second week of October, 2020 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/10/second-week-of-october-2020  

Oh, my! Saturday, 10-10-20 was like this all day long!

A Tennessee Warbler was dwarfed by two American Robins who claimed possession of the water. 

 

10-10-20 American Robins and Tennessee Warbler10-10-20 American Robins and Tennessee Warbler

 

Four new first of the season (FOS) birds arrived that day. I was so tickled when this tiny Winter Wren popped out from under the deck and bounced its cheery hello to me.

 

10-10-20 FOS Winter Wren10-10-20 FOS Winter Wren

 

At the sump puddle, joining the influx of robins was a solitary Wood Thrush! I believe it's the first time one has been here in the fall. It was looking for food among the cypress knees.

 

10-10-20 FOS Wood Thrush10-10-20 FOS Wood Thrush

 

Another FOS species was Blue-headed Vireo. There were two birds, the first had a bluer head than the second bird. Their 'spectacles' make their eyes look huge. They both took splash baths.

 

10-10-20 Blue-headed Vireo10-10-20 Blue-headed Vireo

10-10-20 Blue-headed Vireo10-10-20 Blue-headed Vireo

 

Our FOS Brown Creeper arrived on Saturday, too. This bird went to the water on several days, staying close to the tree, its familiar 'terrain'. 

 

10-10-20 FOS Brown Creeper10-10-20 FOS Brown Creeper

10-12-20 Brown Creeper10-12-20 Brown Creeper

 

A Red-breasted Nuthatch has been around, foraging for insects, too. It's always great fun to be outside to hear and see them.

 

10-11-20 Red-breasted Nuthatch10-11-20 Red-breasted Nuthatch

 

 

Both kinglets have been here most days this past week. The Golden-crowned have been fewer in number, but oh, so beautiful!

 

10-10-20 Golden-crowned Kinglet10-10-20 Golden-crowned Kinglet 10-10-20 Golden-crowned Kinglet10-10-20 Golden-crowned Kinglet 10-10-20 Golden-crowned Kinglet10-10-20 Golden-crowned Kinglet

 

There have been at least 3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets almost every time I've looked in any one tree! The other day, two were constantly chasing each other in dizzying spirals. Finally, one of them really enjoyed a bath without being disturbed. And, boy, did that bird ever flash!

 

10-10-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet10-10-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10-14-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet10-14-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10-14-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet10-14-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

 

Now, for the warblers. There have been regular visitors and two rarer birds. Black-throated Green, Nashville and Tennessee have been here at least every other day. The Chestnut-sided was here just once, with the influx of birds on Saturday.

 

10-10-20 Black-throated Green Warbler10-10-20 Black-throated Green Warbler 10-10-20 Nashville Warbler10-10-20 Nashville Warbler 10-10-20 Tennessee Warbler10-10-20 Tennessee Warbler

10-10-20 Chestnut-sided Warbler10-10-20 Chestnut-sided Warbler

 

Yellow-rumped Warblers have been at the bubbler, the dripper baths and the stream bed, in very good numbers. Some think of them as dull. But, see how their plumage is perfect camouflage with the mossy rocks and falling leaves of our native trees. 

 

 

In a typical fall, I'll have several days with Blackburnian Warblers. On 10-12-20, finally the second bird of fall appeared, ready for a good old-fashioned splash-fest! The birds are SO grateful for water right now!

 

10-12-20 Blackburnian Warbler10-12-20 Blackburnian Warbler 10-12-20 Blackburnian Warbler10-12-20 Blackburnian Warbler 10-12-20 Blackburnian Warbler10-12-20 Blackburnian Warbler 10-12-20 Blackburnian Warbler10-12-20 Blackburnian Warbler

 

The following day we were without power for an hour, which meant NO bubbler or pond pumps working! It was restored, then off again for 20 minutes and finally, all was back in order. Things were beginning to pick up at the bubbler, a Yellow-rumped and Tennessee had been in the basin when I looked up from the camera to see...a male Cape May Warbler! This is the first time I've seen a male here in the fall. It is a rare bird, and considered 'casual' by mid-October with only 5-15 records in the state.

 

10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare!10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare! 10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare!10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare! 10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare!10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare! 10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare!10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare! 10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare!10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare! 10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare!10-13-20 FOS Cape May Warbler! Rare!

 

The navigational coding packed into a migratory bird's DNA is exceptional. I wondered, is it the same bird that was here on 5-6-20 when it was in too big a hurry to be first on its territory? It had stopped to take a look at the bubbler then, and with helpful winds and a bit of luck might return. Well, inquiring minds need to know...but the bird kept that answer to itself. Its presence was gift enough for me. 

 

5-6-20 Cape May Warbler!5-6-20 Cape May Warbler!

 

To view all the photos since the last post, begin here:  Second week of October, 2020

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/10/second-week-of-october-2020 Thu, 15 Oct 2020 15:53:01 GMT
First week of October 10-9-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/10/first-week-of-october-10-9-20 Parade of Fall Migrants and Visitors

 

Fall warblers have been here in different combinations of small mixed flocks since the last blog post. It has varied between 1 or 2 species up to 6 species seen on 10-1-20. This is always an interesting season with birds moving south for the winter and for some, our area is their winter home. Let's look at the warbler group first.

 

Tennessee Warblers are first to be shown and the second image demonstrates what all the small birds are after, caterpillars! Just as in spring, this food source makes up the major portion of their diet. From tiny inchworms to much larger caterpillars, they're looking underneath leaves to find them and tug them away. All that protein is worth the effort!

 

9-29-20 Tennessee Warbler9-29-20 Tennessee Warbler

10-9-20 Tennessee Warbler with caterpillar on Elm10-9-20 Tennessee Warbler with caterpillar on Elm

 

Bay-breasted and Black-and-white, Black-throated Green and Chestnut-sided Warblers have been seen, foraging and coming in for water. 

 

9-29-30 Bay-breasted Warbler9-29-30 Bay-breasted Warbler 9-29-20 Black-and-white Warbler9-29-20 Black-and-white Warbler 9-30-20 Black-throated Green Warbler9-30-20 Black-throated Green Warbler 10-1-20 Chestnut-sided Warbler10-1-20 Chestnut-sided Warbler

 

Magnolia Warblers have pretty much gone through now, but Nashville Warblers are still around.
 

10-1-20 Magnolia Warbler10-1-20 Magnolia Warbler
10-2-20 Nashville Warbler10-2-20 Nashville Warbler
 

The first Yellow-rumped Warblers have arrived and are the main warbler species expected to be seen during the winter. This female took a dip at the pond, then grabbed a small ant from the fish-feeding rock to eat.

 

10-7-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler in Clove Currant10-7-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler in Clove Currant

10-7-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler with ant10-7-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler with ant


Other tiny birds sometimes mistaken for warblers are the two Kinglets. Male Ruby-crowned Kinglets don't really show their crowns unless they're excited, but both male and female Golden-crowned Kinglets always show some yellow. When the males get excited is when you see their fiery orange crowns.


10-2-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet10-2-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

10-7-20 Golden-crowned Kinglet10-7-20 Golden-crowned Kinglet

 

Finally had a Brown Thrasher at the bubbler on 10-1-20. It was very early in the morning, and the bird seemed glad to get some water. A young Red-eyed Vireo checked out the bubbler, too. Its eyes are still brown rather than red, which indicates its age.

 

10-1-20 FOS Brown Thrasher10-1-20 FOS Brown Thrasher 9-30-20 Red-eyed Vireo immature- brown eyes9-30-20 Red-eyed Vireo immature- brown eyes

 

Another female Summer Tanager was seen on 10-2-20. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are still coming through but in much smaller numbers. I saw two last Sunday, and one at the black-and-blue salvia flowers on 10-5-20. They may be seen through the month, but after that, rarer hummingbird species may show up.

  10-2-20 Summer Tanager10-2-20 Summer Tanager

10-3-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird10-3-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

Eastern Phoebes may hang around a while and they only go as far south as they have to in order to find insects. I've seen one almost every day, fly-catching here.

 

10-7-20 Eastern Phoebe10-7-20 Eastern Phoebe

 

American Robins are moving through and we had at least two dozen a couple days ago. Anywhere we had water, they were there. They also were checking the Beautyberries, which aren't quite ripe yet. When the leaves flag yellow, they'll be ready.

 

10-7-20 American Robins10-7-20 American Robins 10-7-20 American Robins at Beautyberries10-7-20 American Robins at Beautyberries

 

There were two nice surprises on 10-6-20. The first came early in the morning when a "murder" of American Crows from the neighborhood was circling the top of our pond cypress and having an absolute fit! When they behave this way, there's usually one sure explanation, the presence of a Great Horned Owl. I went out and found it readily, but the bird had hidden itself deeper in the tree by the time I got back with the camera. This large bird was #117 for the year list. 

 

10-6-20 Great Horned Owl hidden in Pond Cypress10-6-20 Great Horned Owl hidden in Pond Cypress

 

The crows had been taking turns at sentry duty, but they started to take 15 minute breaks when the owl was apparently asleep. Well, the owl gave the crows the slip at some point mid-morning. It got busy with other birds finally coming in. About 1:20 pm, we had just finished a late lunch when I heard a Pileated Woodpecker, which has been calling more in the last few weeks. Then, Dan saw it fly to the small oak by the bubbler. Wow, what a great bird to have come in close! They're our largest woodpecker at up to 19.5" long. It was eating ants on the tree and even some of the bark butter I had put out. Thankfully, I was ready for this second surprise! If you look closely, you can see the red feathers in its 'mustache' which indicate a male. Soon, I'll have some comparison photos with the other woodpeckers to share.

 

10-6-20 Pileated Woodpecker10-6-20 Pileated Woodpecker 10-6-20 Pileated Woodpecker10-6-20 Pileated Woodpecker 10-6-20 Pileated Woodpecker10-6-20 Pileated Woodpecker

 

To learn more about the bird:  Pileated Woodpecker

 

Last but not least, our FOS (first of season) Hermit Thrush arrived on Thursday, 10-8-20. It was back again this morning to enjoy a bath. As it preened, it would raise and slowly lower its tail, a signature move by this species.

 

10-9-20 Hermit Thrush10-9-20 Hermit Thrush 10-9-20 Hermit Thrush10-9-20 Hermit Thrush

 

To see all the photos since the last post, begin here:  Images from 9-29- and on

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/10/first-week-of-october-10-9-20 Fri, 09 Oct 2020 22:24:44 GMT
September is flying by! 9-29-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/9/september-is-flying-by-9-29-20 Migrants are still parading through, sometimes stopping long enough to check out the facilities.

 

Our FOS (first-of season) tanagers have been here. The Scarlet Tanager is now in non-breeding plumage, with dull yellow feathers like the females, but with darker black wings.There has been one male here three times or three males at different times, who knows? Only the bird, and it won't tell me. This one spent eight full minutes pondering the bubbler and finally getting into the basin, where it was watched by a Downy Woodpecker.

 

9-23-20 Scarlet Tanager9-23-20 Scarlet Tanager 9-23-20 Scarlet Tanager9-23-20 Scarlet Tanager 9-23-20 Scarlet Tanager9-23-20 Scarlet Tanager 9-23-20 Scarlet Tanager9-23-20 Scarlet Tanager 9-23-20 Downy Woodpecker and Scarlet Tanager9-23-20 Downy Woodpecker and Scarlet Tanager

 

This female Summer Tanager didn't hesitate as long. It was joined by a Carolina Chickadee and Magnolia Warbler for easy size comparison. Its raised head feathers form a bit of a crest, not often seen, and its color has more of a warm, orangey tinge.

 

9-26-20 FOS Summer Tanager female9-26-20 FOS Summer Tanager female 9-26-20 FOS Summer Tanager female9-26-20 FOS Summer Tanager female 9-26-20 FOS Summer Tanager female and Carolina Chickadee9-26-20 FOS Summer Tanager female and Carolina Chickadee 9-26-20 FOS Summer Tanager female and Magnolia Warbler9-26-20 FOS Summer Tanager female and Magnolia Warbler 9-26-20 FOS Summer Tanager female and Magnolia Warbler9-26-20 FOS Summer Tanager female and Magnolia Warbler

 

Philadelphia Vireos have also been here a few times, considering a splash-bath, or maybe not.

 

9-24-20 Philadelphia Vireo9-24-20 Philadelphia Vireo 9-24-20 Philadelphia Vireo9-24-20 Philadelphia Vireo

 

A young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak joined the onlookers one day.

 

9-28-20 Rose-breasted Grosbeak immature male9-28-20 Rose-breasted Grosbeak immature male

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are still vying for the feeders and flowers, fattening up for the long flight ahead.

 

9-24-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird, immature male9-24-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird, immature male

 

Warblers in small flocks still seem to be circling the neighborhood. Some days, I'll see eight or nine species in different combinations. Northern Parulas are one of the smallest, like this female.

 

9-23-20 Northern Parula9-23-20 Northern Parula

 

Magnolia Warblers wear some of the best camouflage. If you look up at one, it blends in with the sun and yellowing leaves. From the side, the mossy greens and grays on its back help it blend into the natural scene. 

 

9-24-20 Magnolia Warbler9-24-20 Magnolia Warbler

 

Bay-breasted Warblers are likewise suited to the environment they must traverse in the season.

 

9-25-20 Bay-breasted Warbler9-25-20 Bay-breasted Warbler

 

Finding enough food is what it's all about when these migrants make a rest stop. This Black-throated Green Warbler was catching flying ants, tasty little snacks.

 

9-27-20 Black-throated Green Warbler with insect9-27-20 Black-throated Green Warbler with insect

 

Nashville Warblers also blend in as blue plus yellow equals green.

  9-27-20 Nashville Warbler9-27-20 Nashville Warbler

 

So, what accounts for the Halloween Warbler, the American Redstart? Black and orange, light and shadow, it flutters down onto a branch as gracefully as a leaf.

 

9-28-20 American Redstart9-28-20 American Redstart
 

The dull yellow female Tennessee Warblers are easily mistaken for leaves.

 

9-27-20 Tennessee Warbler9-27-20 Tennessee Warbler
 

The Ovenbird walks along the floor of scattered leaves, blending in with earth, sticks and stones. It doesn't call, "teacher, teacher, TEACH!" in the fall and is easily missed.

 

9-28-20 Ovenbird9-28-20 Ovenbird
 

 

We all have stresses and worries in these strange pandemic times,

so here's a tiny bit of pure, unadulterated joy to brighten your day!

(Black-throated Green Warbler)

 

9-25-20 Black-throated Green Warbler in the Bubble

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/9/september-is-flying-by-9-29-20 Tue, 29 Sep 2020 16:12:07 GMT
Fall has arrived! 9-23-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/9/fall-has-arrived-9-23-20 Fall is Here

 

Birds have been coming in every day, it has been a busy two weeks since my last post. Young Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been busy feeding, investigating food sources, preening, chasing rivals and even getting in occasional catnaps (yes, eyes closed). We still have one or two adult males around. They will all be on their way soon enough to winter homes.

 

9-10-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird, preening9-10-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird, preening 9-12-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird9-12-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

9-14-20 Downy Woodpecker and Ruby-throated Hummingbird9-14-20 Downy Woodpecker and Ruby-throated Hummingbird 9-14-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird pair9-14-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird pair 9-19-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird9-19-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

9-10-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird, male9-10-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird, male
 

Warblers have also been arriving for rest stops in our small oasis. It has been very dry so the water features continue to attract them. A female Canada Warbler enjoyed the 'bubble' and a Northern Waterthrush checked out the basin. 

 

9-13-20 Canada Warbler, female9-13-20 Canada Warbler, female 9-14-20 Northern Waterthrush9-14-20 Northern Waterthrush

 

Northern Parulas, a single Blackburnian Warbler and numerous American Redstarts have come down from the canopy. Two Magnolia Warblers approached the water together.
 

 

9-16-20 FOS Northern Parula9-16-20 FOS Northern Parula 9-21-20 FOS Blackburnian Warbler9-21-20 FOS Blackburnian Warbler 9-17-20 American Redstart9-17-20 American Redstart

9-14-20 Magnolia Warblers9-14-20 Magnolia Warblers

 

Days when several species get in together show us the variety of warblers we have in the visiting flock. Magnolia, Black-and-white, Black-throated Green and Chestnut-sided Warblers often travel together. 

 

9-14-20 Magnolia, Black-throated Green,  Chestnut-sided and Black-and-white Warblers9-14-20 Magnolia, Black-throated Green, Chestnut-sided and Black-and-white Warblers

 

The Black-and-white left and a Tennessee Warbler came in the back door to join the other three. The lookout was the Black-throated Green.

 

9-14-20 Magnolia, Black-throated Green,  Chestnut-sided and FOS Tennessee Warblers9-14-20 Magnolia, Black-throated Green, Chestnut-sided and FOS Tennessee Warblers

 

Last Friday, 9-18-20 was a lovely day and the Bay-breasted, Golden-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers got cozy together. Safety in numbers helps to ensure their survival.

 

9-18-20 Bay-breasted, Golden-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers9-18-20 Bay-breasted, Golden-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers

 

Another way to help the birds is to provide plenty of cover for them. This Ovenbird, a warbler, is most often found walking along the ground as it forages. The Bay-breasted Warbler used the Elm (Ulmus americana) for perfect camouflage and the Magnolia Warbler dried off in the native Smooth Hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens).

 

9-16-20 FOS Ovenbird9-16-20 FOS Ovenbird 9-18-20 Bay-breasted Warbler in Elm9-18-20 Bay-breasted Warbler in Elm 9-19-20 Magnolia Warbler9-19-20 Magnolia Warbler

 

We've seen other migrants, too. A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher looked earnestly for insects and a Red-breasted Nuthatch finally appeared! I'd been hearing them several days in a row and this female stopped in at the bubbler. This is an irruptive species and we should see them through the winter.

 

9-16-20 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher9-16-20 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 9-17-20 Red-breasted Nuthatch, female9-17-20 Red-breasted Nuthatch, female

 

Philadelphia Vireos have been splash-bathing in the bubbler pond. And last but not least, a young Rose-breasted Grosbeak took a quick bath before returning to the canopy.

 

9-15-20 Philadelphia Vireo9-15-20 Philadelphia Vireo

9-18-20 Rose-breasted Grosbeak9-18-20 Rose-breasted Grosbeak

 

Photographing birds is one of the most challenging things I've ever done. Thank you for being patient! If you'd like to see the most recent images in addition to these, and there are about 170 more, begin here:

 

Images since 9-8-20

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/9/fall-has-arrived-9-23-20 Wed, 23 Sep 2020 18:07:15 GMT
First week of September, 9-8-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/9/first-week-of-september-9-8-20 And September begins with hummingbirds...

 

Ruby-throats have been busy drinking nectar, sometimes while peeing, perching for quick catnaps, and dancing with the dripper. All the while, they are watching out for competitors and yes, predators!

 

9-3-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird pooping while at Cardinalflower9-3-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird pooping while at Cardinalflower 9-3-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Jewelweed9-3-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Jewelweed 9-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)9-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) 9-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis)9-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis) 9-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis)9-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis) 9-7-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at dripper bath9-7-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at dripper bath 9-7-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird9-7-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

The native Praying Mantis (Stagomantis carolina) will take a hummingbird and actually eat it. There are plenty of videos online to show the gory details. This is the first time I've seen one on the feeder pole and then the dome of the hummingbird feeder. Our grandson, Dean assured me this was a female. "The females are much bigger and they don't have wings, GyGy." He had watched an episode of Wild Kratts which told him all about them. So, I just removed the feeder and let the mantis look for insects, its usual prey. As I was taking the feeder back inside, I turned to see a young hummer looking for it. The mantis lunged at the bird, but missed! This was getting serious.

 

Learn more about this valuable insect: Missouri's Praying Mantis

 

9-5-20 Praying Mantis on feeder pole9-5-20 Praying Mantis on feeder pole 9-6-20 Praying Mantis on dome of hummingbird feeder9-6-20 Praying Mantis on dome of hummingbird feeder

 

Today, for the first time since 8/31/20, a male Ruby-throat was at the feeder in back. It allowed a female to come in, then chased it off.

 

9-8-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird, first male since 8-319-8-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird, first male since 8-31 9-8-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird female9-8-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird female

9-8-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird female, male9-8-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird female, male

 

I had not seen the mantis near the feeder on the east side yesterday, so I had re-hung the feeder. Well, today it was poised for action on the feeder itself. Normally, I do my best not to interfere in nature's processes. But, it was time to take this feeder away. I gently coaxed the reluctant mantis off with a stick, and brought the feeder in to clean it. We'll find another place for the feeder further away from this predator's patch. More hummingbirds will be coming through for another month or so. 

 

9-8-20 Praying Mantis on hummingbird feeder9-8-20 Praying Mantis on hummingbird feeder

 

Now, it's time to talk about migration! Birds are on the move and there was a big push with the cool front last Thursday, 9-3-20. I usually just watch the weather to figure out when birds may be coming through, but there is another option called BirdCast. Here's the website:

 

Bird Migration Forecast

 

One can sign up here to get an email alert about a change in the forecast:  blogtrottr - Reader Subscription Service

 

Most of the birds with this last strong front and the Full Corn Moon just kept on going, flying over during the night. But I did have a few that stopped in. An American Redstart and a first of the season (FOS) Swainson's Thrush were here on 9-3-20, ahead of the front.

 

9-3-20 American Redstart9-3-20 American Redstart 9-3-20 FOS Swainson's Thrush9-3-20 FOS Swainson's Thrush

 

On Friday, 9-4-20 a Wilson's Warbler was in the bubbler basin quite early. A Red-eyed Vireo was observed taking berries from the Rough-leaf Dogwoods, and a Chestnut-sided Warbler stopped by the bubbler.

 

9-4-20 Wilson's Warbler9-4-20 Wilson's Warbler 9-4-20 Red-eyed Vireo9-4-20 Red-eyed Vireo 9-4-20 Chestnut-sided Warbler9-4-20 Chestnut-sided Warbler

 

That same day, while I sitting in my spot reviewing some photos, a young Cooper's hawk came to investigate the bubbler. It didn't seem to have noticed me at all. I moved very, very slowly and was able to get quite a few photos. Of course, with this raptor there, no small birds were making a peep. I wondered how long it would be before it saw me. About ten minutes into this game, Dan came back from a bike ride and used the back door to go inside. At first, Dan couldn't see what I was photographing. Then, the bird spooked and flew. I don't think it ever registered that I had been there the whole time.

 

9-4-20 Coopers Hawk immature9-4-20 Coopers Hawk immature 9-4-20 Coopers Hawk immature9-4-20 Coopers Hawk immature 9-4-20 Coopers Hawk immature9-4-20 Coopers Hawk immature

 

We haven't had any rain in quite a while now, so the water features are getting lots of activity. Carolina Chickadees stop by the dripper and the bubbler to quench their thirst.

 

9-7-20 Carolina Chickadee at dripper bath9-7-20 Carolina Chickadee at dripper bath 9-7-20 Carolina Chickadee at dripper bath9-7-20 Carolina Chickadee at dripper bath 9-8-20 Carolina Chickadee drinking9-8-20 Carolina Chickadee drinking

 

We often see one, two or more mammals in one family come together for water. Deer, raccoons and opossum come to mind. It is rare though, to see two different species encounter each other. On Thursday, 9-3-20, one surprised another!

 

9-3-20 Raccoon surprise!

 

Hope this brightened your day...here's to more of nature's surprises!

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/9/first-week-of-september-9-8-20 Tue, 08 Sep 2020 19:27:00 GMT
Last week of August, 8-31-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/8/last-week-of-august-8-31-20  

Two-thirds of the year is nearly behind us.

Birds, birds, birds ~ TGFB!

 

Birds know how to have fun, and they can brighten the darkest days. Here are some of the past week's images and observations.

 

One of our Carolina Wrens was poking around under the dripper bath in the east bed and decided that it would be even more fun to just take a bath there. The water was gently dripping down, so why not? Eventually, it came up top and tried that, too. Was this a young bird? Couldn't tell, but there was no question that it made the most of the situation.

 

8-26-20 Carolina Wren, under dripper bath!8-26-20 Carolina Wren, under dripper bath! 8-26-20 Carolina Wren8-26-20 Carolina Wren

 

One of the Carolina Chickadees was seen checking out the larger dripper bath. We have timers on both of them, and they alternate being on. This bird was there at exactly the right moment before the dripper came on, studying the water and waiting! The smart little bird was soon rewarded! 

 

8-26-20 Carolina Chickadee waiting for dripper to start8-26-20 Carolina Chickadee waiting for dripper to start 8-26-20 Carolina Chickadee8-26-20 Carolina Chickadee

 

Friends, you have questioned me about it being too early for "Fall", but the White-breasted Nuthatches are grabbing seeds to cache away in their secret hidey-holes already! They're thinking "Winter"!

 

8-27-20 White-breasted Nuthatch, looking to cache seed8-27-20 White-breasted Nuthatch, looking to cache seed

 

Young birds, like these Northern Cardinals are finding their way around the bubbler and feeders, too. Cardinals have been a very productive species this year in our woodland, with several families having young.

 

8-27-20 Northern Cardinal immature8-27-20 Northern Cardinal immature 8-27-20 Northern Cardinal immature8-27-20 Northern Cardinal immature

 

Each cool front now has the potential to bring in migrating species. Saturday, 8-29-20 brought in seven warbler species. Both Magnolia and Chestnut-sided Warblers investigated the bubbler area in between foraging.

 

8-29-20 Magnolia Warbler8-29-20 Magnolia Warbler 8-29-20 Magnolia Warbler8-29-20 Magnolia Warbler 8-29-20 FOS Chestnut-sided Warblers8-29-20 FOS Chestnut-sided Warblers 8-29-20 FOS Chestnut-sided Warblers8-29-20 FOS Chestnut-sided Warblers

 

Distinctive female Canada Warblers were heavy feeders Saturday and Sunday, but one did check out the bubbler.

 

8-29-20 FOS Canada Warbler female8-29-20 FOS Canada Warbler female 8-29-20 Canada Warbler female8-29-20 Canada Warbler female

 

Several Black-and-white Warblers joined in the mixed flock. A first fall female didn't hesitate to enjoy a bath.

 

8-29-20 Black-and-white Warbler8-29-20 Black-and-white Warbler
8-29-20 Black-and-white Warbler female8-29-20 Black-and-white Warbler female 8-29-20 Black-and-white Warbler female8-29-20 Black-and-white Warbler female

 

A First-of-Season Nashville Warbler was one of two seen on Saturday.

  8-29-20 FOS Nashville Warbler8-29-20 FOS Nashville Warbler 8-29-20 FOS Nashville Warbler8-29-20 FOS Nashville Warbler

 

Several American Redstarts were also in the small flock. A first fall male and an adult male were vying for the "Bubble".

 

8-30-20 American Redstart first fall male8-30-20 American Redstart first fall male 8-30-20 American Redstart8-30-20 American Redstart 8-30-20 American Redstarts8-30-20 American Redstarts

 

Do NOT be fooled by young Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. They may look pretty cute, but they will get in anybody's face! I've seen them buzz so many different kinds of birds over the years, even owls. The offenders don't even have to be close to a feeder or a flower to draw their ire! I've even had one at my ear when I was too close to a Cardinal flower. If I'm in my usual spot, they ignore me, and sit at the feeders with their backs to me as if to say, "Ha. Just try to catch me! I double-dare ya!"

  8-30-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird female/immature8-30-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird female/immature 8-30-30 Ruby-throated Hummingbird buzzing American Goldfinch8-30-30 Ruby-throated Hummingbird buzzing American Goldfinch

 

September should bring in many more southbound travelers!

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/8/last-week-of-august-8-31-20 Mon, 31 Aug 2020 20:00:20 GMT
Fall Migration has begun! 8-23-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/8/fall-migration-has-begun-8-23-20 Perhaps you've noticed an uptick in the number of

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in your yards?

 

That cool front brought in more birds. They are being seen sipping nectar from every available source, chasing each other mercilessly and getting in other birds' faces, too. What a fun time to watch them as they exercise those wings to be ready to move on.

 

8-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

8-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 8-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

8-17-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-17-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 8-18-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-18-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 8-18-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-18-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

A long-distance migrant that has nested in our neighborhood is the Mississippi Kite. They are graceful, acrobatic flyers, catching insects like dragonflies, and even bats, on the wing. We've had them land in the very tops of our trees and they've been difficult for us to see there, let alone photograph. I have been hearing them call "Phee-phew!" and found this immature bird in our neighbor's tree. The banded tail is what tells us this is a young bird. They're beautiful, pearly gray, small raptors and are now on their way to South America. Look closely in the last photo to find the tell-tale silhouette.

Learn more here:  Mississippi Kite

 

8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature 8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature 8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature 8-16-20 Mississippi Kite 'kiting' overhead8-16-20 Mississippi Kite 'kiting' overhead

 

American Goldfinches, on the other hand, will be here all year. They have been gorging on the Purple Coneflowers and feeding their brood of fledglings. The youngsters are now learning their way around.

 

8-11-20 American Goldfinch8-11-20 American Goldfinch 8-11-20 American Goldfinch8-11-20 American Goldfinch 8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature 8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature 8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature

 

Carolina Chickadees and Carolina Wrens also are resident birds. They run the place, in case you didn't know. They show the migrating birds by their cheerful calls that they find everything they might need, right here in our Sanctuary.

 

8-8-20 Carolina Chickadee8-8-20 Carolina Chickadee 8-16-20 Carolina Wren8-16-20 Carolina Wren

 

Eastern Phoebes and Common Grackles have also been seen. The Phoebes will move a bit further south for the winter while the Grackles will be in and out all winter. All the birds are getting new feathers in now, being in their summer molt. 

 

8-12-20 Eastern Phoebe immature8-12-20 Eastern Phoebe immature 8-18-20 Common Grackle immature8-18-20 Common Grackle immature

 

 

The first two warblers came in on 8-16-20 and a Black-and-white Warbler followed two days later. They'll be trickling in for the next two months or so. They don't sing like they do in the spring, but they're just as hungry and must eat 35-50% of their body weight in caterpillars and other small insects at each 'rest stop'.

 

8-18-20 FOS Black-and-white Warbler8-18-20 FOS Black-and-white Warbler 8-18-20 FOS Black-and-white Warbler8-18-20 FOS Black-and-white Warbler

 

Monarchs are also in the garden almost daily as they nectar and lay eggs. I found a good-sized caterpillar this morning, munching away on its only food, milkweed leaves. The species that does the best here for them is the Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).

 

8-9-20 Monarch at Marsh Milkweed8-9-20 Monarch at Marsh Milkweed

8-9-20 Monarch at Marsh Milkweed8-9-20 Monarch at Marsh Milkweed
8-23-20 Monarch Caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed8-23-20 Monarch Caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed

8-23-20 Monarch Caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed8-23-20 Monarch Caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed

 

Enjoy Nature's diversity in these waning days of summer.

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/8/fall-migration-has-begun-8-23-20 Sun, 23 Aug 2020 16:01:00 GMT
Into August 8-4-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/8/into-august-8-4-20  

Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies are often seen in the garden and woodland. More tiny eggs were laid on 7-26-20 by this female who quickly darted upwards before I could catch her ovipositing. A male has been nectaring at the purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea).The egg develops into the first instar caterpillar within five days. By the seventh day, the hungry little caterpillar has emerged from the egg and eaten enough leaf matter to lay down the silk mat and fold the leaf into a protective covering. 

 

 

7-26-20 Spicebush Swallowtail takes off after laying an egg7-26-20 Spicebush Swallowtail takes off after laying an egg 7-28-20 Spicebush Swallowtail on Purple Coneflower7-28-20 Spicebush Swallowtail on Purple Coneflower

7-29-20 Spicebush Swallowtail egg day 37-29-20 Spicebush Swallowtail egg day 3 8-1-20 Spicebush Swallowtail larva first instar on day 68-1-20 Spicebush Swallowtail larva first instar on day 6 8-2-20 Spicebush Swallowtail larva first instar on day 78-2-20 Spicebush Swallowtail larva first instar on day 7

 

Eastern Phoebes have been very actively looking for food here in our Sanctuary. Warm days get tiny insects moving, and this young Phoebe, a flycatcher, was nabbing gnats over the pond. This bird seems to have gotten the hang of it.

 

7-26-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile in Spicebush7-26-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile in Spicebush 7-26-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile with gnat7-26-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile with gnat

7-26-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile7-26-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds also search for tiny insects. The nectar and sugar water at feeders just fuels this insect-catching behavior. To me, it looked like that was exactly what this hummingbird was doing. 

 

7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Purple Coneflower-zoom in7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Purple Coneflower-zoom in 7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Purple Coneflower7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Purple Coneflower 7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Purple Coneflower7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Purple Coneflower

 

These birds do love to nectar at Cardinal flower and Marsh Milkweed, which is just opening its flowers on warm days.

 

7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Cardlinal flower7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Cardlinal flower

7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Cardlinal flower7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Cardlinal flower

7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Marsh Milkweed7-28-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Marsh Milkweed

 

The American Robins have been coming in by sixes and twelves to grab berries off the Rough-leaf Dogwood trees. The Black Cherries are also ripe and ready for them.

  7-29-20 American Robin eating Rough-leaf Dogwood berries7-29-20 American Robin eating Rough-leaf Dogwood berries

7-30-20 American Robin eating Black Cherries (Prunus serotina)7-30-20 American Robin eating Black Cherries (Prunus serotina)

 

Yesterday, one of the young Eastern Phoebes checked out the Blackhaw fruit after grabbing some dogwood berries. However, this fruit must turn dark purplish black before it's ready to eat. Supposedly they're safe for humans, but we'll leave them for the birds.

 

8-3-20 Eastern Phoebe at Blackhaw fruit (Viburnum prunifolium)8-3-20 Eastern Phoebe at Blackhaw fruit (Viburnum prunifolium)

 

This morning, one of the Ruby-throats was defending the south feeder and would turn its head in every direction, checking for invaders. By late October, these hummingbirds will have gained enough weight to be well on their way to their winter homes.

 

8-4-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-4-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 8-4-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-4-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 8-4-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-4-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 8-4-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-4-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

We have beautiful cool weather now for a few days. Time to get back outside and see if any migrants are about.

The first to move south will be on their way soon. 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/8/into-august-8-4-20 Tue, 04 Aug 2020 19:47:18 GMT
7-25-20 Summertime views and a program with Dr. Doug Tallamy https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/7/7-25-20-summertime-views-program-Doug-Tallamy Juvenile birds of all sizes are being seen in our sanctuary now. The Northern Cardinals have been successful with having both male and female chicks in their brood. They're on their own now as they explore for food and investigate the water features.

 

7-11-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile7-11-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile
7-18-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile female7-18-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile female
7-18-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile female7-18-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile female
7-18-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile female7-18-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile female
 

House Finches have had a second batch of chicks and they're often seen together as they move around the woodland.

 

7-16-20 House Finch juvenile trio7-16-20 House Finch juvenile trio
 

Young Red-shouldered Hawks, screaming, "like pterodactyls," according to my sis-in-law, announce their presence in the neighborhood. They have begun to get a bit more serious as they learn the importance of stealth in their hunting techniques. One came up with prey on its own after a good rain, a nightcrawler. It will soon be graduating to mammals like voles, chipmunks and even rabbits.

 

Red-shouldered Hawk

 

7-13-20 Red-shouldered Hawk juvenile7-13-20 Red-shouldered Hawk juvenile 7-16-20 Red-shouldered Hawk juvenile, hunting prey7-16-20 Red-shouldered Hawk juvenile, hunting prey 7-16-20 Red-shouldered Hawk juvenile with earthworm7-16-20 Red-shouldered Hawk juvenile with earthworm

7-22-20 Red-shouldered Hawk juvenile7-22-20 Red-shouldered Hawk juvenile
 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird numbers are ticking upwards now with the arrival of juvenile birds. The chase is on! The young birds are at feeders as well as flowers like the Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), so keep a lookout for them in your own yards.

 

7-18-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird7-18-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

7-23-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird juvenile7-23-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird juvenile 7-23-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird juvenile7-23-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird juvenile

 

7-22-20 Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle7-22-20 Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle

 

The Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is prolific in the garden this year and is being visited by many types of pollinators, like this small carpenter bee, a Ceratina species.

 

7-13-20 Small Carpenter Bee, Ceratina7-13-20 Small Carpenter Bee, Ceratina
 

Coneflowers are also attracting small skippers and larger butterflies, like this female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. There are two female forms of this butterfly, yellow and black. We have lots of Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) in the yard, the primary host plant for this species. Black Cherry is also considered to be a Keystone Native Plant because it supports 313 species of moths and butterflies here in our area! It is second only to the mighty Oaks, or Quercus species, which support 429 Lepidoptera.

 

7-23-20 E. Tiger Swallowtail female7-23-20 E. Tiger Swallowtail female 7-23-20 E. Tiger Swallowtail female7-23-20 E. Tiger Swallowtail female 7-23-20 E. Tiger Swallowtail female7-23-20 E. Tiger Swallowtail female

 

 

The very best way to support our native birds, specialist bees, butterflies, and all of nature is with

native plants in our yards. Grab a cold drink and enjoy this entertaining and uplifting program

featuring nature's best friend and mentor to so many, Doug Tallamy.

 

Wild Ones presents Nature's Best Hope with Dr. Doug Tallamy

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/7/7-25-20-summertime-views-program-Doug-Tallamy Sat, 25 Jul 2020 15:28:01 GMT
July sightings and introduction to Fall Warblers! 7-12-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/7/july-sightings-and-introduction-to-fall-warblers-7-12-20 Wow. It's never too early in the morning to make the wrong assumption!

 

Remember the hungry little caterpillar? I couldn't find it because it had crawled off to another leaf during the night. I discovered it a few days later and it had been changing dramatically into a "fifth instar" caterpillar. Instead of looking like a bird dropping, it had taken on the form of a formidable looking, large-eyed snake. 

 

6-30-20 Spicebush Swallowtail 5th instar6-30-20 Spicebush Swallowtail 5th instar 6-30-20 Spicebush Swallowtail 5th instar6-30-20 Spicebush Swallowtail 5th instar

7-2-20 Spicebush Swallowtail7-2-20 Spicebush Swallowtail

 

The last time I found it was on the morning of 7-3-20. By noon, it had gone AWOL again. However, I did find another small one on a lower branch of the same plant. 

 

7-7-20 Second Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar7-7-20 Second Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar

 

On the Fourth of July, I did another bee survey and found this interesting little Agapostemon species or Striped Sweat Bee. Its psychedelic coloring included violet antennae. That day, I confirmed a Monarch in the garden, though the photo was hardly in focus, it only stayed a millisecond.

 

7-4-20 Striped Sweat Bee Agapostemon sp.7-4-20 Striped Sweat Bee Agapostemon sp.

7-2-20 Monarch on Purple Coneflower7-2-20 Monarch on Purple Coneflower

 

Tiger Swallowtails have been dancing in the garden, too. Just like the bees, they are all over the sweet balls of the Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).


7-8-20 E. Tiger Swallowtail on Buttonbush7-8-20 E. Tiger Swallowtail on Buttonbush

 

White-tailed does and fawns have been coming through. At times, the young ones really kick up their heels and chase each other.

 

7-9-20 Fawn7-9-20 Fawn

 

Birds have been busy feeding and getting into the water features. Mourning doves are sometimes seen in the morning or late afternoon.

 

6-27-20 Mourning Dove6-27-20 Mourning Dove

 

Youngsters are now coming on their own or in pairs. Northern Cardinals, Tufted Timice and Carolina Chickadees are frequent visitors.

 

7-3-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile7-3-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile 7-5-20 Tufted Titmouse7-5-20 Tufted Titmouse 7-5-20 Carolina Chickadee7-5-20 Carolina Chickadee

 

The bigger the bird, the longer it takes to raise them. American Crows have a lot to learn from the adults. The sump puddle has become a bit of a classroom for them, and they are noisy about their lessons.


7-5-20 American Crow juvenile7-5-20 American Crow juvenile

 

All thrushes, like these American Robins, do love to bathe. They're quick studies when it comes to claiming ownership of a water feature.

 

7-6-20 American Robin juveniles at Dripper Bath7-6-20 American Robin juveniles at Dripper Bath

 

Two young Cooper's hawks have been investigating the basin this week. The larger one is probably a female. It seemed to be having some difficulty keeping lunch down.

  7-7-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #17-7-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #1 7-7-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #17-7-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #1 7--9-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #27--9-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #2

 

At least one female and two male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been seen fairly regularly in the yard. One plant that is not native, but one I keep for them is this Salvia x Black and Blue. It has a high sugar content in the nectar and they really go for it. It keeps their energy up for catching tiny gnats and other insects.

 

7-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Salvia 'Black and Blue'7-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Salvia 'Black and Blue'

 

The American Goldfinches are checking the Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) for seed already. It's definitely a favorite of theirs. 

 

7-6-20 American Goldfinch  on Purple Coneflower7-6-20 American Goldfinch on Purple Coneflower

 

Part of my time the last few weeks was spent in completing a project that's been on my list for a couple of years. Fall migration is fast approaching, believe it or not. Identifying warblers during this season is much more difficult because many of the birds don't just look dull, but look completely different. So, here is a link to a new gallery that shows an introductory slide for each species in the spring, followed by a variety of images of that species in the fall. There's even a quiz near the end. Have fun!

 

Fall Warbler Species at Shady Oaks

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/7/july-sightings-and-introduction-to-fall-warblers-7-12-20 Sun, 12 Jul 2020 21:50:54 GMT
6-26-20 What happens in the woods... https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/6/6-26-20-What-happens-in-woods  

What happens in the woods...stays in the woods.

 

Early last Thursday, 6-18-20, I was having breakfast when I spied some movement on a small oak. We had visitors! The Barred Owl pair were perched together on a short branch. They were sharing some tidbit, preening and generally staying pretty well-hidden from Blue Jays and American Crows.

 

6-18-20 Barred Owl pair6-18-20 Barred Owl pair

 

It had been five years since I had taken a photo of them in that spot, on 4-6-15. The "cuddlin' branch" was one of their favorite perches back then. They've probably come in during the night at times to use it, but it was an honor to see them on it again, in morning light. It seemed that they felt safe here and stayed a while before moving to an even more secluded area. Sanctuary!

 


 

Nesting species are still busy with young birds. The Northern Cardinal pair seem to be nearly finished with their first brood. The female now comes fairly often to drink. The male was foraging in a Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) for a meal.

 

6-18-20 Northern Cardinal female6-18-20 Northern Cardinal female

6-21-20 Northern Cardinal in Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)6-21-20 Northern Cardinal in Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

 

The primary food for 96% of our terrestrial birds is caterpillars of moths and butterflies, all belonging to the order of insects called Lepidoptera. I've seen the beautiful Spicebush Swallowtail in our garden every year, nectaring on many different flowers. This is a male on Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and resting on our 'fish-feeding' rock. The third photo is of a female, resting on Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). 

 

Spicebush Swallowtail on Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) 7-25-17Spicebush Swallowtail on Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) 7-25-17
 

Spicebush Swallowtail 7-11-18Spicebush Swallowtail 7-11-18

8-4-19 Spicebush Swallowtail female resting on Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)8-4-19 Spicebush Swallowtail female resting on Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

 

This plant is a Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) which is the host plant for which the butterfly is named. We have at least six of these plants, but I have never been able to find a caterpillar on one, until this last week. Can you spot it in the photo? Ah, that's not really fair without a clue. Look for a folded leaf. 

 

6-23-20 Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)6-23-20 Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

 

Here is a photo from last year when a female laid eggs on this plant. I've seen a female patrolling the woods this spring, so it must have laid eggs. Butterflies and moths lay hundreds of eggs, and they do that to ensure that some will survive to maturity. Many, if not most will become food for birds. "After all, no caterpillars, no baby birds! It takes 6,000-9,000 caterpillars (or Leps), to raise one brood of Carolina Chickadees!" 

Credit: Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy



8-4-19 Spicebush Swallowtail  female laying eggs on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)8-4-19 Spicebush Swallowtail female laying eggs on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

 

After the Barred Owls left, I went out to fill the feeders. I felt like a kid again when I discovered this tiny Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar on a leaf! It eats part of the leaf, then lays down a mat of silk that it folds over onto itself for protection from predators, i.e. birds! The hungry little caterpillar spends some time during the day leaving its protected area and eating more of the leaf before returning. In this way, the host plant takes the energy from the sun, and gives it to the caterpillar through the leaves that are eaten. 

 

6-16-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)6-16-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

6-16-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)6-16-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

6-16-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)6-16-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) 6-21-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar has eaten leaf on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)6-21-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar has eaten leaf on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

 

I looked at my other Spicebushes, hoping to find more caterpillars, but all I found were empty leaves. Hungry little caterpillars are vulnerable. I hoped to see all the instar stages of the little one I had found. It's a very interesting insect!

 

Spicebush Swallowtail

 

6-19-20 Empty leaf on 2nd Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)6-19-20 Empty leaf on 2nd Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

 

Let's take another look for the caterpillar's leaf. Did you spot it this time?

 

6-23-20 Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)6-23-20 Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) 6-23-20 Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)6-23-20 Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

 

On Monday, 6-22-20, the hungry little caterpillar had shed its skin, and then was out and about on a lower leaf, chomping away. When I checked an hour later, it was back in its leafy bed. I spent some time writing pen pal letters to our grandsons.
 

6-22-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar has shed skin6-22-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar has shed skin 6-22-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar moving about6-22-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar moving about 6-23-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar sheltering6-23-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar sheltering

 

Thought to check one more time about 2 hours later, and the caterpillar had disappeared. Had it become a meal for a hungry little bird, like this fledgling Northern Cardinal? Probably. What happens in the woods, stays in the woods.

 

6-23-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar - gone6-23-20 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar - gone

 

A young Eastern Phoebe was looking for a meal around the pond a few days ago. Dan had put up a small fence to deter the doe because it loves to eat waterlilies.That gave this bird another perching place. It spotted an insect on the viburnum in the background and nabbed it on the fly. That's what flycatchers do. One way we can tell this is a young bird is that its gape is still visible, though not as bright in color now. This bird must find its own food, not beg from an adult any more. 

 

6-22-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile6-22-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile 6-22-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile6-22-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile 6-22-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile with insect6-22-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile with insect 6-22-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile6-22-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile

 

The doe and fawn are still being seen as they forage on jewelweed, hydrangeas and Solomon's seal, or look for a shady spot in the heat.

 

6-14-20 Doe in the woodland6-14-20 Doe in the woodland 6-22-206-22-20
 

 

Besides the birds and wildlife, I'll be spending time looking for more pollinators, specifically, our native bees. Our garden is part of the ShutterBee Study, co-sponsored by St. Louis University's Billiken Bee Lab and Webster University. Here are a few of the subjects found so far and contributed to the project through iNaturalist. 

 

Brown-belted Bumble Bee on Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) and on Purple Coneflower(Echinacea purpurea).

 

6-24-20 Brown-belted Bumble Bee6-24-20 Brown-belted Bumble Bee 6-24-20 Brown-belted Bumble Bee6-24-20 Brown-belted Bumble Bee

 

Hylaeus species or Masked Bee on Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescensand Augochlorine Sweat Bee on Smooth Hydrangea cultivar (Hydrangea arborescens x 'White Dome').

 

6-24-20 Hylaeus species or Masked Bee6-24-20 Hylaeus species or Masked Bee 6--24-20 Augochlorine Sweat Bee6--24-20 Augochlorine Sweat Bee

 

Leafcutter, Mortar and Resin Bee species on Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).

 

6-24-20 Leafcutter, Mortar and Resin Bee species6-24-20 Leafcutter, Mortar and Resin Bee species
 

 

Stay cool, stay safe and well!

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/6/6-26-20-What-happens-in-woods Fri, 26 Jun 2020 20:01:41 GMT
Late spring migrant and other sightings 6-15-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/6/late-spring-migrant-and-other-sightings-6-15-20 You'll hear more birds than you see,

and you'll see more birds than you can possibly photograph.

 

We left off with water features, and well, the birds are still using them every day. From the youngsters like the Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadees to adults like the female Northern Cardinal and American Robin, water is the ticket to happiness! There's just nothing like a refreshing bath after downing insects all morning. They're fun to watch as they line up to get in.

 

6-5-20 Tufted Titmouse juvenile6-5-20 Tufted Titmouse juvenile 6-5-20 Carolina Chickadee6-5-20 Carolina Chickadee 6-5-20 Carolina Chickadee6-5-20 Carolina Chickadee

6-5-20 Northern Cardinal6-5-20 Northern Cardinal
6-5-20 American Robin6-5-20 American Robin
 

On Sunday morning, 6/7/20, I was enjoying my coffee in the gazebo when I heard what I thought was a Blackpoll Warbler. Wait a minute! What? I had heard and seen this species on 8 days this spring, and managed one photo. They were staying high in the canopy to feed. Sometimes, they do come down lower. The second close-up image was taken two years ago, on 5/10/18.

 

5-7-20 Blackpoll Warbler5-7-20 Blackpoll Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler 5-10-18Blackpoll Warbler 5-10-18
 

The last Blackpoll Warbler seen was twenty days earlier on 5/18/20. I heard it again. It was staying high in our north sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and I could not see it, or even think about getting a photo. Time to try the recording app on my phone and see if I could document it that way. This was one late bird! Finally, I got an audio clip that I added to my eBird checklist which was reviewed and confirmed. There are at two June records listed in The Status and Distribution of Birds in Missouri by Mark B. Robbins. This definitive work is constantly updated and is an open access pdf if anyone would like to have a free copy:  Birds in Missouri 

 

Blackpoll Warbler in Spring: Latest dates: 1, 9 Jun 1945, Hannibal, Marion Co. (WC); male, 6 Jun 1964, west of Cardwell, Dunklin Co. (DE; KU 118769).

 

This bird is often missed because its song is nearly inaudible. If you want to view the checklist and listen to the bird, it helps to know what the notes look like on the audiogram. It's a distinctive pattern and it sounds like "seet-seet-seet-seet-seet". This is the slower song. To some, it sounds like a little sewing machine, going, "tick-tick-tick-tick-tick". 

 

6-7-20 Blackpoll Warbler audiogram6-7-20 Blackpoll Warbler audiogram

 

To view the checklist and audiogram, here is the link:  eBird Checklist

 

To check out the full song and more on this interesting species:  Blackpoll Warbler

 

This species has been observed here every spring for the last 24 years. The first blog post that I wrote was about a very rare fall sighting of a female Blackpoll Warbler on 10/4/13. It was documented with my photo as the third record for fall migration in Missouri. 

 

The Status and Distribution of Birds in Missouri by Mark B. Robbins
 

Blackpoll Warbler in Fall: The primary migration route for the species is well to the north and east of Missouri.

Only the following have been documented: probable imm, 2 Oct 2005, Tower Grove (JE); probable imm, photos, 23 Oct 2006, Forest Park (S. McCowan); 1, photos, 4 Oct 2013, St. Louis (M. Terpstra); 1, 24 Sep 2017, Lake of the Ozarks, Miller Co.(K. McKay, A. Hartley).

 

 

There's hardly a dull moment in a native garden. Familiar Bluets, small damselflies were seen mating on the bubbler rock where it was moist. An American Toad took refuge in the basin one morning.

 

6-7-20 Familiar Bluets mating6-7-20 Familiar Bluets mating

6-7-20 American Toad6-7-20 American Toad

 

We have been wondering when we'd see the first white-tailed fawn. It caught my eye it as it was moving through the woodland to find a napping  spot in a bit of jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). A few days later, the doe was seen, nursing the fawn.

 

6-11-20 White-tailed Fawn in Jewelweed6-11-20 White-tailed Fawn in Jewelweed 6-14-20 White-tailed Doe and Fawn6-14-20 White-tailed Doe and Fawn

 

Evidence of nesting species includes Downy Woodpecker. The red 'cap' tells us that this is a young bird. Adult male Downy Woodpeckers have red on the back of the head, similar to the Hairy Woodpecker in the next image with the American Robin.

 

6-7-20 Downy Woodpecker juvenile with red cap6-7-20 Downy Woodpecker juvenile with red cap 6-7-20 American Robin and Hairy Woodpecker6-7-20 American Robin and Hairy Woodpecker

 

Birds often go through a very quiet period when they are nesting. This Gray Catbird had not been seen or heard since 5/20/20, but it may be nesting close by. It does know a safe place to find water.

 

6-7-20 Gray Catbird6-7-20 Gray Catbird

 

Eastern Phoebes have been back in the yard, the male calling and juveniles hawking insects on their own. This juvenile took advantage of the bubbler to bathe in. They often have another brood, so I'm keeping an eye out for nest building again. 

 

6-13-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile6-13-20 Eastern Phoebe juvenile

 

The unseen coronavirus is still present and we remain sheltered at home. Our world is in flux right now.

We extend our hopes for good health, peace and justice for all.

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/6/late-spring-migrant-and-other-sightings-6-15-20 Mon, 15 Jun 2020 23:03:21 GMT
Summer Scenes and Moving Water 6-5-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/6/summer-scenes-and-moving-water-6-5-20 Summer officially arrived on Memorial Day, 5-25-20

 

Before 6:30 one morning, I saw this gawky little fledgling in an elm by the driveway. Okay, kids, what is this bird of the day? It has a face "only a mother could love", eh? Its parent later took a splash in the dripper bath. Answer at the end of the post!

 

5-25-20 Northern Cardinal fledgling5-25-20 Northern Cardinal fledgling

 

We've been seeing Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at the feeders and at the flowers. When the lighting is just right, the bird really flashes its gorget.

 

5-27-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird5-27-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 5-27-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird5-27-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 5-27-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird5-27-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

The native Copper Iris (Iris fulva) is pollinated by the hummingbirds, but I have never caught one in the act. It's good to have something on the 'to do' list! The dark iris is a hybrid of two natives and it is called Black Gamecock. These blooms are eagerly anticipated and last just a few days.

 

5-21-20 Copper Iris (Iris fulva)5-21-20 Copper Iris (Iris fulva) 5-23-20 Copper Iris (Iris fulva)5-23-20 Copper Iris (Iris fulva) 6-1-20 Native hybrid iris Black Gamecock6-1-20 Native hybrid iris Black Gamecock 6-2-20 Native hybrid iris Black Gamecock6-2-20 Native hybrid iris Black Gamecock

 

This has been a great year for plants that love moisture. The hydrangeas are the size of small elephants, and Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) is blooming quite nicely.The red and yellow blooms of Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica) also appreciate consistent moisture. It's another hummingbird favorite. One was literally buzzing next to my ear when I took these photos, staking claim to the patch!

 

6-4-20 Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus)6-4-20 Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus) 6-1-20 Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica)6-1-20 Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica) 6-4-20 Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica)6-4-20 Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica)

 

Our water features are spread around the property so the birds never have to go far to get a drink of water or take a quick splash bath. We have two ponds, two dripper baths and two fountains. This spring, we added inline timers to the dripper baths. In this way, water is conserved, which protects the trees from over-saturation. The timers we chose can be set to come on at 4 different times a day for the same interval, say for an hour or hour and a half. So, Dan set them up to alternate and the birds are using them regularly.

 

5-24-20 Inline timer for dripper5-24-20 Inline timer for dripper 5-29-20 North Dripper Bath5-29-20 North Dripper Bath

5-5-20 East inline timer for dripper5-5-20 East inline timer for dripper 5-29-20 East Dripper Bath5-29-20 East Dripper Bath

 

Now, what about that bird of the day? Did you recognize the baby Northern Cardinal? By fall, it will look like one of its parents. The male, bright red, is followed by the female in muted tawny plumage. 

 

6-4-20 Northern Cardinal6-4-20 Northern Cardinal

5-22-20 Northern Cardinal5-22-20 Northern Cardinal

5-24-20 Northern Cardinal female5-24-20 Northern Cardinal female
 

For those of you who may be new to the idea of adding water to your gardens to attract birds, here are older

blog posts that have all the information you need to get our take on the subject!

 

Simple Ways to Add Moving Water

 

Bubbler Water Features - Part One - Bubbler Pond and Basin

 

Bubbler Water Features - Part Two - Pondless Bubbler 

 

Bubbler Water Features - Part Three - Perches!

 

 

Email us from the Contact page if you would like a pdf of our Bubbler Maintenance Guide.

Contact page
 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/6/summer-scenes-and-moving-water-6-5-20 Fri, 05 Jun 2020 19:46:49 GMT
Migration winds down 5-24-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/5/migration-winds-down-5-24-20  

Migration is slowing down as birds move on to their breeding grounds.

 

What wonders have stopped in to rest, feed and freshen up here! Bay-breasted Warblers have been here on ten days, the last one on Wednesday, 5-20-20.

 

5-20-20 Bay-breasted Warbler5-20-20 Bay-breasted Warbler

 

Warblers like Chestnut-sided, American Redstart and Tennessee are more common, but this is the last we'll see of them until their return trip in early fall.

 

5-20-20 Chestnut-sided Warbler5-20-20 Chestnut-sided Warbler 5-21-20 American Redstart female5-21-20 American Redstart female 5-22-20 Tennessee Warbler5-22-20 Tennessee Warbler

 

A Common Yellowthroat female finally showed up yesterday, on 5-23-20, coming to the bubbler very early and again late in the day before moving on.

 

5-23-20 Common Yellowthroat female5-23-20 Common Yellowthroat female
 

 

We were playing a game Thursday evening when I spotted a bright red bird! This Scarlet Tanager was a very pleasant interruption. A robin chased it from the basin and over to the Bubbler rock. (Link to more photos and a video at the end.)

 

5-21-20 Scarlet Tanager5-21-20 Scarlet Tanager

5-21-20 Scarlet Tanager5-21-20 Scarlet Tanager 5-21-20 Scarlet Tanager5-21-20 Scarlet Tanager

 

A Carolina Chickadee was having fun splashing around when a surprise dropped in next to it, the 'chickadee warbler'. Its true name is the Golden-winged Warbler. and this is the female.

 

5-22-20 Carolina Chickadee5-22-20 Carolina Chickadee 5-22-20 Golden-winged Warbler female and Carolina Chickadee5-22-20 Golden-winged Warbler female and Carolina Chickadee 5-22-20 Golden-winged Warbler female5-22-20 Golden-winged Warbler female 5-22-20 Golden-winged Warbler female5-22-20 Golden-winged Warbler female

 

Last September, a rare hybrid of the Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers came to the bubbler. It's called a Lawrence's Warbler and is a well-studied hybrid. Genetically, these two species are 99.97% alike! A very interesting article on this phenomenon of their hybridization can be found here:  Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers

In the second photo, the color difference is quite obvious.The Lawrence's looks like a Golden-winged with a soft yellow wash.

 

9-4-19 Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers9-4-19 Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers 5-23-20 Golden-winged and hybrid Lawrences' Warblers5-23-20 Golden-winged and hybrid Lawrences' Warblers

 

We've been seeing both male and female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. This male tucked into the Solomon's Seal flowers for a sip of nectar.

 

5-20-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum)5-20-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum)
 

Gray Catbirds will nest in the area, but this one has apparently moved on now.

 

5-20-20 Gray Catbird5-20-20 Gray Catbird

 

A lovely little bird, this Philadelphia Vireo was splash-bathing in the pond the other morning.

 

5-23-20 Philadelphia Vireo5-23-20 Philadelphia Vireo

 

The latest addition to the year list is this Yellow-bellied Flycatcher for FOY #112. As of today, this ties up with last year's record.

 

5-23-20 FOY #112 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher5-23-20 FOY #112 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

 

There may be a few more migrants yet to see, We'll be watching.

Here are the photos since the last post and a Bubbler cam video of the Scarlet Tanager to view. Enjoy!

 

Birds since 5-18-20

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/5/migration-winds-down-5-24-20 Sun, 24 May 2020 20:46:55 GMT
Never-ending story! 5-18-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/5/never-ending-story-5-18-20 This is proving to be a memorable migration for those birding in the St. Louis area. The NW winds and cool weather have impeded the progress of the migrants. They need warm, southerly winds to help them in their travels north. So, they are here, feeding voraciously in every migrant trap like Tower Grove Park, Forest Park, and in our sanctuary, too.

 

To begin, a lovely Mourning Warbler was here on 'Big Day', 5-9-20. This bird has alway been a bit of a nemesis for me. I was able to get lovely looks at it early that morning. When I followed it and tried to get this photo, well, of course, the bird did not cooperate. "Not fair!" Especially not fair when this bird is the one that made such a difference in my habits. The old story will open on a new page:

This Birder's Tale

 

 Belated Happy Mother's Day to all the moms!

 

5-9-20 Mourning Warbler, not cooperating5-9-20 Mourning Warbler, not cooperating

 

Many species of warblers have been here this past week. It has been a super challenge to keep up, and they're still here! Golden-winged Warblers have continued to be seen nearly every day. One finally visited the basin.

 

5-9-20 Golden-winged Warbler5-9-20 Golden-winged Warbler 5-9-20 Golden-winged Warbler5-9-20 Golden-winged Warbler

 

A huge surprise was having a second female Cerulean Warbler also come in on 5-9-20. It came to check out the bubbler, the closest a Cerulean has ever gotten to the water. What a lovely bird, and such a rarity!

 

5-9-20 Cerulean Warbler female (second of the spring!)5-9-20 Cerulean Warbler female (second of the spring!) 5-9-20 Cerulean Warbler female (second of the spring!)5-9-20 Cerulean Warbler female (second of the spring!) 5-9-20 Cerulean Warbler female (second of the spring!)5-9-20 Cerulean Warbler female (second of the spring!)

 

Bay-breasted Warblers first showed up on 5-7-20 but they have been here on nine days since then. These are uncommon migrants.

 

5-10-20 Bay-breasted Warbler5-10-20 Bay-breasted Warbler 5-10-20 Bay-breasted Warbler5-10-20 Bay-breasted Warbler 5-11-20 Bay-breasted Warbler5-11-20 Bay-breasted Warbler

 

Magnolia Warblers began to show up on 5-7-20 and have been here on at least seven different days. They are striking birds.

 

5-15-20 Magnolia Warbler on American Elm (Ulmus Americana)5-15-20 Magnolia Warbler on American Elm (Ulmus Americana)

 

5-16-20 Magnolia Warbler5-16-20 Magnolia Warbler 5-16-20 Magnolia Warbler5-16-20 Magnolia Warbler

 

There has been a lot of 'bubble magic' lately. This Black-and-white Warbler claimed ownership of the bubble with a Northern Parula and a female Golden-winged Warbler.

 

5-16-20 Black-and-white Warbler and Northern Parula5-16-20 Black-and-white Warbler and Northern Parula 5-16-20 Black-and-white Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler female5-16-20 Black-and-white Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler female 5-16-20 Black-and-white Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler female5-16-20 Black-and-white Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler female

 

I've been hoping this quick moving little Wilson's Warbler would be enticed to come in close. Once they do, they seem to stay in the water and fully enjoy it.

 

5-16-20 Wilson's Warbler5-16-20 Wilson's Warbler 5-16-20 Wilson's Warbler5-16-20 Wilson's Warbler 5-16-20 Wilson's Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler5-16-20 Wilson's Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler

 

We all have our favorites, but I think the female Bay-breasted is such a richly colored bird.

 

5-16-20 Bay-breasted Warbler female5-16-20 Bay-breasted Warbler female 5-16-20 Bay-breasted Warbler female5-16-20 Bay-breasted Warbler female 5-16-20 Bay-breasted Warbler female5-16-20 Bay-breasted Warbler female 5-16-20 Bay-breasted Warbler female5-16-20 Bay-breasted Warbler female

 

This Northern Parula and Tennessee Warbler had their own version of a tango to dance.


5-16-20 Northern Parula and Tennessee Warbler5-16-20 Northern Parula and Tennessee Warbler

5-16-20 Tennessee Warbler and Northern Parula5-16-20 Tennessee Warbler and Northern Parula

5-16-20 Tennessee Warbler and Northern Parula5-16-20 Tennessee Warbler and Northern Parula
5-16-20 Tennessee Warbler and Northern Parula5-16-20 Tennessee Warbler and Northern Parula

 

Last Monday, on 5-11-20, the warblers and a few others, like a Gray Catbird, had to make way for Cedar Waxwings. The flock has been coming in to the Pondcypress (Taxodium ascenders) and feeding heavily on tiny larvae. It's a messy business. No wonder they needed to bathe!

 

5-11-20 Cedar Waxwing5-11-20 Cedar Waxwing

5-11-20 Cedar Waxwings

5-11-20 Cedar Waxwing5-11-20 Cedar Waxwing

 

To view all the best images since the last post, sit back, relax with a cuppa and start the slideshow: 

Birds since 5-9-20

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/5/never-ending-story-5-18-20 Tue, 19 May 2020 02:36:17 GMT
First week of May 5-8-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/5/first-week-of-may-5-8-20  

So many birds, so little time...

 

Must focus on the highlights of the past eight days, and there are many! Here are some of the best birds seen in their beautiful breeding plumage. The Blackburnian Warbler was still here this week. We can never get enough of this species, it's a gem.

 

5-1-20 Blackburnian Warbler5-1-20 Blackburnian Warbler 5-1-20 Blackburnian Warbler5-1-20 Blackburnian Warbler

 

There was a baby opossum out on its own, on two different days!

  5-1-20 Young Opossum5-1-20 Young Opossum

 

A Palm Warbler finally made it to the bubbler area, soon followed by a Chestnut-sided Warbler.

 

5-2-20 Palm Warbler5-2-20 Palm Warbler 5-2-20 Chestnut-sided Warbler5-2-20 Chestnut-sided Warbler

 

The Golden-winged Warbler is always highly anticipated. This species is the most at-risk bird that we've seen here, with a Conservation Concern Score of 16 out of 20.

To read more about the State of North American Birds Assessment:  State of the Birds 2016

  5-2-20 Golden-winged Warbler5-2-20 Golden-winged Warbler

5-4-20 Golden-winged Warbler5-4-20 Golden-winged Warbler
 

 

Nashville Warblers are numerous, and many are shy, however this one didn't hesitate to do the 'Bubble Boogie'!

 

  5-2-20 Nashville Warbler5-2-20 Nashville Warbler 5-2-20 Nashville Warbler5-2-20 Nashville Warbler

 

The Warbling Vireo is a species more often heard than seen. They have been more numerous this past week and every time I hear one I think of my birding mentor, Vivian Liddell. She told me the mnemonics were, "If I sees ya, then I'll squeeze ya til ya SQUIRT!"

See if you agree: Warbling Vireo

 

  5-3-20 Warbling Vireo5-3-20 Warbling Vireo

 

Northern Parula is a warbler species, and just so gorgeous despite their small size. This one found an inchworm on a silken strand for a quick meal on the go. They will sing for their supper! Listen up:  Northern Parula

 

  5-3-20 Northern Parula5-3-20 Northern Parula 5-3-20 Northern Parula with inchworm5-3-20 Northern Parula with inchworm

5-7-20 Northern Parula, singing5-7-20 Northern Parula, singing
 

 

Another Summer Tanager was here this week, investigating the water. A young Baltimore Oriole was curious, too! Love hearing their chatter.

 

  5-3-20 Summer Tanager5-3-20 Summer Tanager

5-3-20 Baltimore Oriole, first year male5-3-20 Baltimore Oriole, first year male 5-3-20 Baltimore Oriole, first year male5-3-20 Baltimore Oriole, first year male

 

Black-throated Green Warblers have been welcomed again, along with another Orange-crowned Warbler. 

 

5-4-20 Black-throated Green Warbler5-4-20 Black-throated Green Warbler

5-5-20 Orange-crowned Warbler5-5-20 Orange-crowned Warbler

 

The biggest surprise was a gorgeous Cape May Warbler on Wednesday, 5-6-20. Most years, less than 5 of these are recorded across the state! The last male we had was in 2009. Indeed, it was a rare thrill to see it.

 

5-6-20 Cape May Warbler!5-6-20 Cape May Warbler! 5-6-20 Cape May Warbler!5-6-20 Cape May Warbler!

 

We have been seeing numerous Indigo Buntings, in their deep blue feathering.

 

5-6-20 Indigo Bunting5-6-20 Indigo Bunting

 

Some warblers have been staying high in the canopy to feed, like this Blackpoll Warbler in our pondcypress (Taxodium ascendens). A near look-alike, the Black-and-white Warbler has been more willing to come to the bubbler area.

 

5-7-20 Blackpoll Warbler5-7-20 Blackpoll Warbler 5-7-20 Black-and-white Warbler5-7-20 Black-and-white Warbler

 

Today brought in our first Canada Warbler for the year. Not sure if it is the same bird, but I can almost always count on finding one in this patch of American Elms (Ulmus americana) at the end of the driveway.

 

5-8-20 FOY #101 Canada Warbler in American Elm (Ulmus americana)5-8-20 FOY #101 Canada Warbler in American Elm (Ulmus americana)

 

This morning, a Scarlet Tanager was feeding in the white oaks (Quercus alba). The sun really highlighted its color.

 

5-8-20 Scarlet Tanager5-8-20 Scarlet Tanager

 

A Bay-breasted Warbler is another striking beauty. First seen yesterday, it stayed somewhat high again today, feeding in various oak trees like this shingle oak (Quercus imbricaria).

 

5-8-20 Bay-breasted Warbler5-8-20 Bay-breasted Warbler

 

Last but not least, this Common Yellowthroat found a green tidbit in the smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens).

 

5-8-20 Common Yellowthroat with insect5-8-20 Common Yellowthroat with insect

 

To view all 150+ photos from this week, begin here: First week of May

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/5/first-week-of-may-5-8-20 Sat, 09 May 2020 02:43:02 GMT
Busy last week of April! 4-30-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/4/busy-last-week-of-april-4-30-20 Eye candy is on the move - check your trees!

 

Thursday, 4-23-20 was drippy and cool. Conditions were ideal to show off the red buckeye blooms (Aesculus pavia). I was hoping to catch a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at these, but instead, a 'red bird' dropped into a spicebush (Lindera benzoin) behind them. It was our FOY #64 Summer Tanager! It was seen all afternoon, feeding in different trees.

 

4-23-20 Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)4-23-20 Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) 4-23-20 FOY#64 Summer Tanager in Spicebush4-23-20 FOY#64 Summer Tanager in Spicebush 4-23-20 FOY#64 Summer Tanager in White Oak4-23-20 FOY#64 Summer Tanager in White Oak

 

The following day was perfect for the Carolina Wrens to leave the nest. I counted four little fledglings and watched as they followed one parent across the 'great swamp' over to the brush pile. These are small packages of personality plus.

 

4-24-20 Carolina wren fledgling4-24-20 Carolina wren fledgling 4-24-20 Carolina wren fledgling4-24-20 Carolina wren fledgling

 

The following day, Saturday, 4-25-20 brought in four new year birds. Two species were heard only, in the rain. Three Baltimore Orioles were seen in the neighbor's oak across the street, what an eyeful! Sunday was the best day yet with 48 species for the day and 11 new birds for the year. The biggest surprise of the day was this lovely female Cerulean Warbler, just 4.5" long. It came to the bubbler area at 9:11 a.m. I have only had this species one other time, a male on 5-5-07 (see fourth photo). This species is at high risk of extinction, with a Conservation Concern Score of 15. The female didn't stay long and quickly got back to finding food. What a very rare sight! 

 

4-26-20 FOY #75 Cerulean Warbler female, rare CCS 154-26-20 FOY #75 Cerulean Warbler female, rare CCS 15 4-26-20 FOY #75 Cerulean Warbler female, rare CCS 154-26-20 FOY #75 Cerulean Warbler female, rare CCS 15 4-26-20 FOY #75 Cerulean Warbler female, rare CCS 154-26-20 FOY #75 Cerulean Warbler female, rare CCS 15

Cerulean Warbler 5-5-07Cerulean Warbler 5-5-07

 

This Northern Waterthrush first arrived on Saturday, one of two present. A stunning Red-headed Woodpecker was here all afternoon on Sunday. A Blue-Winged Warbler gave us great looks as it probed an 'oddball' leaf pouch, looking for Leaf-tier moth caterpillars, on the smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens).

 

4-26-20 Northern Waterthrush4-26-20 Northern Waterthrush 4-26-20 FOY #78 Red-headed Woodpecker CCS 134-26-20 FOY #78 Red-headed Woodpecker CCS 13 4-26-20 FOY #74 Blue-winged Warbler4-26-20 FOY #74 Blue-winged Warbler 4-26-20 FOY #74 Blue-winged Warbler4-26-20 FOY #74 Blue-winged Warbler

 

White-eyed Vireos used to come to the bubbler often in the early days, but I had never photographed one until this week. Heard calling, "chick-peereo-chick", it was fun to finally get to study one as it stayed for two days. It got in a splash-bath, too. The Blue-headed Vireo also spent time splash-bathing in the bubbler pond. This is typical behavior in vireos.

 

4-26-20 FOY #79 White-eyed Vireo4-26-20 FOY #79 White-eyed Vireo 4-27-20 White-eyed Vireo4-27-20 White-eyed Vireo 4-27-20 White-eyed Vireo4-27-20 White-eyed Vireo 4-27-20 Blue-headed Vireo4-27-20 Blue-headed Vireo
 

Our FOY # 82 was the gorgeous Blackburnian Warbler. Always a favorite of birders, they take my breath away with that fire-throat! One of the Baltimore Orioles stayed around long enough for me to get its passport photo. The Great Crested Flycatcher has returned, it has nested here in past years.

 

4-27-20 FOY#82 Blackburnian Warbler4-27-20 FOY#82 Blackburnian Warbler 4-27-20 Baltimore Oriole4-27-20 Baltimore Oriole 4-27-20 FOY#84 Great Crested Flycatcher4-27-20 FOY#84 Great Crested Flycatcher

 

The Blue-winged Warbler returned again to the bubbler area, singing loudly, "bee-buzz"! Any bird's call can be heard by searching this site:

 

Blue-winged Warbler

 

4-28-20 Blue-winged Warbler singing4-28-20 Blue-winged Warbler singing
4-28-20 Blue-winged Warbler singing4-28-20 Blue-winged Warbler singing

 

The Carolina Wren fledglings continue to move about the woodland. This little bloke wasn't six feet away from me. That's trust.

 

4-28-20 Carolina wren fledgling4-28-20 Carolina wren fledgling

 

Tennessee Warblers are one of the plainer birds looking up at them from below, but nicely colored blues and olives from these views. And the Blackburnian Warbler? Unmistakable with that blazing orange throat!

 

4-28-20 Tennessee Warbler4-28-20 Tennessee Warbler 4-28-20 Tennessee Warbler4-28-20 Tennessee Warbler 4-28-20 Blackburnian Warbler4-28-20 Blackburnian Warbler 4-28-20 Blackburnian Warbler4-28-20 Blackburnian Warbler

 

This next bird has been a bit of a nemesis for me this spring. I have heard it calling, loudly, for almost every one of the last NINE days.

Worm-eating Warbler

Finally, on Wednesday, 4-29-20, I got a visual on it, high in the canopy, feeding on inchworms, of course. At lunchtime, I spotted it below the deck railing and managed to capture a few images of it feeding in different American elms (Ulmus americana). About 5:20 pm, it was seen checking out the bubbler.

 

4-29-20 Worm-eating Warbler4-29-20 Worm-eating Warbler 4-29-20 Worm-eating Warbler4-29-20 Worm-eating Warbler

 

A Common Yellowthroat popped out from the ground cover shortly after that on Wednesday. So many colorful birds coming through right now!

 

4-29-20 Common Yellowthroat4-29-20 Common Yellowthroat

 

Today, the Worm-eating Warbler came to the bubbler. That hasn't happened in 12 years! The gorgeous Blackburnian soon followed. What a nice wrap to the month of April.

 

4-30-20 Worm-eating Warbler4-30-20 Worm-eating Warbler 4-30-20 Blackburnian  Warbler4-30-20 Blackburnian Warbler

 

To see all the best photos in the last week, start here:  Birds since 4-23-20

 

Tomorrow is May Day!

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/4/busy-last-week-of-april-4-30-20 Thu, 30 Apr 2020 23:35:19 GMT
Earth Day 4-22-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/4/earth-day-4-22-20 ~ Today is the 50th Earth Day ~ 

 

Here are some of the sights seen in our Shady Oaks Sanctuary in the last week. Finally, I caught a Ruby-throated Hummingbird sipping nectar from the flowers of Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia). Though we had frost two mornings, the flowers were not really damaged. Native plants are hardy, they have evolved with our Missouri weather!

 

4-17-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)4-17-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

 

Both male and female (sans moustache) Northern Flickers have been seen in the woodland lately.

 

4-18-20 Northern Flicker4-18-20 Northern Flicker

4-18-20 Northern Flicker female4-18-20 Northern Flicker female

 

Chipping sparrows came in a flock of about a dozen or so on 4-18-20. I'm still hearing and seeing a few each day.


4-18-20 Chipping Sparrow4-18-20 Chipping Sparrow

 

There is at least one, sometimes two, Hermit Thrushes that are here right now. 

 

4-18-20 Hermit Thrush4-18-20 Hermit Thrush

4-19-20 Hermit Thrush4-19-20 Hermit Thrush
 

The Eastern Phoebes have been more active in the woodland and more vocal. I'm beginning to think that they may still try to use the nest they built. Maybe they're just waiting for the Carolina wren nestlings to be taken on the grand tour of the neighborhood. Once they fledge, the adults teach them how to find food, and those babes will be ready for their first flights very soon.

 

4-19-20 Eastern Phoebe4-19-20 Eastern Phoebe

 

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is still going to the bluebells. It does come to the feeder, but it seems to prefer the natural food. I'm so glad to see this because the nectar must provide something important to their diet. Some years, the birds have arrived too late for the blooms. Now that the birds know it's a reliable food source here, they look for it, as well as the tiny insects that hover near the flowers. 

 

4-19-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird4-19-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4-19-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)4-19-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

 

White-throated Sparrows are numerous now, and the white form birds are quite striking in their plumage. 

 

4-19-20 White-throated Sparrow4-19-20 White-throated Sparrow

 

This Tufted Titmouse grabbed a small caterpillar off the hydrangea by the bubbler. It's the perfect size to feed a young nestling.

 

4-19-20 Tufted Titmouse with caterpillar4-19-20 Tufted Titmouse with caterpillar

 

An Orange-crowned Warbler was #60 for the year. This was the only photo I was able to get, but hopefully more birds will be arriving soon.

 

4-20-20 FOY#60 Orange-crowned Warbler4-20-20 FOY#60 Orange-crowned Warbler

 

Those perky Ruby-crowned Kinglets are still frisking about at the Bubbler nearly every day! So exuberant! Yee-ha!

 

4-20-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-20-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-20-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-20-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-20-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-20-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-20-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-20-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

 

This photo was in the last post, but not everyone could find the bird. Believe me, I know how difficult it can be to find these tiny birds! It is the same species as the bird above, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Just wanted to give everyone an idea of this bird's tiny size in respect to its surroundings. It averages 3.5-4.3" long. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird is close to the same, but averages a bit smaller, 2.8-3.5". Look for the bird again...I'll add a 'show-me' photo at the end. 

 

4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

 

Warblers, warblers, that's what we're waiting for. The Yellow-rumped are here every day, both male and female. 

 

4-20-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler4-20-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-22-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler female4-22-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler female

 

I had seen my first Northern Parula on 4-15-20, and yesterday, 4-21-20 another beautifully marked male was here. It was singing its heart out in the largest elm we have, right over my head. "zreeeeee-up!" The bird kept working his way around and down through the canopy, preferring the elms. I finally was able to get a few images when it was working the tree just above the Bubbler. That joyful noise made my day!

 

4-21-20 Northern Parula singing in American Elm (Ulmus americana)4-21-20 Northern Parula singing in American Elm (Ulmus americana) 4-21-20 Northern Parula in American Elm (Ulmus americana)4-21-20 Northern Parula in American Elm (Ulmus americana) 4-21-20 Northern Parula in American Elm (Ulmus americana)4-21-20 Northern Parula in American Elm (Ulmus americana)

 

The Northern Parula averages 4.5" in length, the same as a Carolina Chickadee. To hear the sound of the bird, here's a link:  Northern Parula

 

This morning, a new bird for the year, #63 stopped in at the Bubbler, a Swainson's Thrush. It doesn't have the rusty tail like the Hermit Thrush, but has buffy-colored eye-rings.

 

4-22-20 FOY #63 Swainson's Thrush4-22-20 FOY #63 Swainson's Thrush

 

Here are a few more of our native blooms: Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) at their peak and Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans). 

 

4-8-20 Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)4-8-20 Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) 4-22-20 Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans)4-22-20 Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans)

 

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), like the Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) is also visited by hummingbirds.

 

4-22-20 Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)4-22-20 Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) 4-22-20 Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)4-22-20 Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

 

Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum) has just begun to open. What a lovely color, too. That's a wood violet beneath it on the left. 

 

4-22-20 Cranesbill (Geranium maculatum)4-22-20 Cranesbill (Geranium maculatum)

 

Last but not least, the 'show-me' photo! Congratulations, you found the bird!

 

4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

 

Stay healthy and safe out there!

 

 


 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/4/earth-day-4-22-20 Thu, 23 Apr 2020 02:32:16 GMT
Second week of April 4-16-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/4/second-week-of-april-4-16-20  

Hermit Thrushes have been coming to the bubbler since 4-5-20. They are typically kind of shy birds, but like all thrushes, they do love to bathe.

 

4-6-20 Hermit Thrush4-6-20 Hermit Thrush 4-6-20 Hermit Thrush4-6-20 Hermit Thrush

 

One of the Red-shouldered Hawks has been coming in nearly every day. Sometimes it perches in the sugar maple by the pond to rest, or perhaps to digest a meal.

 

4-7-20 Red-shouldered Hawk4-7-20 Red-shouldered Hawk

 

We had a couple hot days in a row. On Wednesday, 4-8-20 the temperature reached 90.3 degrees, and the first Eastern Three-toed Box Turtle was seen in the woodland. It dug in under the leaves to stay cool. 

 

4-8-20 Eastern Three-toed Box Turtle4-8-20 Eastern Three-toed Box Turtle
 

Hairy Woodpeckers have enjoyed getting bark butter more often since we moved the feeder to the back pole. The male will come down to get a drink at the basin. It seemed to be admiring the bluebells one day. A Brown Creeper stopped in, it had been a week since we'd seen one. Birds are on the move!

 

4-9-20 Hairy Woodpecker4-9-20 Hairy Woodpecker 4-10-20 Brown Creeper4-10-20 Brown Creeper

 

We've seen a Yellow-rumped Warbler over the winter, but now they are coming into their striking breeding plumage. Since they're more common, they're often not given enough credit as a 'beautiful' warbler. What do you think?

 

4-11-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler4-11-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler

 

The Carolina Wrens have been very busy feeding nestlings and carrying away fecal sacs from the nest. This bird pecked away at a black cherry log until a larval tidbit was revealed. Easter morning brought the Easter Bunny, of course!

 

4-11-20 Carolina Wren with larvae for nestlings4-11-20 Carolina Wren with larvae for nestlings

4-12-20 Easter Bunny!4-12-20 Easter Bunny!

 

Easter evening brought us a new yard bird for #152. What a surprise it was to hear an Eastern Whip-poor-will right outside our back door. We used to hear them when we'd go camping as a family. It is a species in trouble, so we hope it found plenty of moths and insects to eat while it was here. If you're not familiar with its call, it can be quite loud and go on and on! Check it out:

Eastern Whip-poor-will 

 

Ruby-crowned Kinglets have been enjoying the 'bubble' and flashing that fiery crown!

 

4-13-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet in 41 degrees4-13-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet in 41 degrees 4-13-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-13-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-13-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-13-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-13-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-13-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-13-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-13-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

 

The first 'humming-blur' arrived on 4-15-20. It paid no attention to the feeder, but worked the Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) all day long, for nectar and tiny insects. (Fourth photo - it's after an insect.) Ruby-throated Hummingbirds love tubular, bell-shaped flowers which do not need to be red to get their attention. The bird even perched in the smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), watching over its bluebell patch.

 

4-15-20 FOY#56 Ruby-throated Hummingbird4-15-20 FOY#56 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4-15-20 FOY#56 Ruby-throated Hummingbird4-15-20 FOY#56 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4-15-20 FOY#56 Ruby-throated Hummingbird4-15-20 FOY#56 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

4-15-20 FOY#56 Ruby-throated Hummingbird with insect4-15-20 FOY#56 Ruby-throated Hummingbird with insect 4-15-20 FOY#56 Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)4-15-20 FOY#56 Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)

 

Also on 4-15-20, our first Northern Parula of the year was heard and briefly checked out the bubbler. 

 

4-15-20 FOY#57 Northern Parula4-15-20 FOY#57 Northern Parula

 

Back to the Ruby-crowned Kinglet with different views and more action shots at the bubbler today - they love to get wet even at 40 degrees!

 

4-15-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-15-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet   4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-16-20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

 

This morning, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird stopped at the feeder for a full 'cuppa Joe' before heading to the bluebells. It was fun to see the flared scarlet gorget lit through the feathers by the sun!

 

4-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird4-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

4-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird4-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

One last surprise this morning was the appearance of a young female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. A few of us agree that these NW winds have hampered the movement of birds, creating a bottleneck to the south of us. We anticipate a big change in the next week, with many more birds showing up. Hang onto your hats! Migration will be in full swing very soon! You can always check the galleries, I try to keep them updated daily.

 

To see all the photos since the last post, begin here:  Since 4-5-20

 

Nesting update: The Eastern Phoebes appear to have given up their nesting attempt here. I see them occasionally in the yard, foraging for insects. It's quite disappointing, but we cannot interfere with these processes.This is exactly why we need more good habitat, there's just not enough to sustain all of our native birds.

4-16-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female4-16-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/4/second-week-of-april-4-16-20 Thu, 16 Apr 2020 22:08:42 GMT
April has arrived 4-5-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/4/april-has-arrived-4-5-20 The hues, scents and sights of April are with us!

 

Rosy Red Buckeyes (Aesculus pavia) are budding, the sweet fragrance of Clove Currant (Ribes odoratum) wafts on the breeze, and fat little bumblebees are busy at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica).

4-3-20 Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)4-3-20 Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) 4-5-20 Clove currant (Ribes odoratum)4-5-20 Clove currant (Ribes odoratum) 4-3-20 Bumblebee at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)4-3-20 Bumblebee at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

 

Warm days have brought birds in to freshen up and shake their tail feathers, like Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and American Robins.

 

3-30-20 Carolina Chickadee3-30-20 Carolina Chickadee

3-31-20 Tufted Titmouse3-31-20 Tufted Titmouse
4-2-20 American Robin4-2-20 American Robin
 

4-2-20 American Robin4-2-20 American Robin

 

Even one of the Cooper's Hawks came in to the sump puddle to bathe, until it was rudely interrupted by harassing crows. 

 

4-1-20 Cooper's Hawk takes off from sump puddle4-1-20 Cooper's Hawk takes off from sump puddle

 

Two female Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been seen on several days. The Brown Creeper may have moved on, more are being seen elsewhere, finally making it to friends' yards. 

 

3-31-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female #13-31-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female #1 3-31-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female #23-31-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female #2 3-31-20 Brown Creeper3-31-20 Brown Creeper

 

American Goldfinches are nearly finished molting into their bright plumage, though some are shy about sitting still for a portrait.

 

4-3-20 American Goldfinch takeoff4-3-20 American Goldfinch takeoff

 

The Eastern Phoebes are still busy at nest-building, constantly pumping their tails up and down, up and down when they stop to perch.

 

4-1-20 Eastern Phoebe, tail up4-1-20 Eastern Phoebe, tail up 4-1-20 Eastern Phoebe, tail down4-1-20 Eastern Phoebe, tail down

 

Carolina Wrens are still bouncing about. I saw one today fly to the nest on the left with a leaf in its bill, quickly tagged on the tail by the Phoebe! Nature is just full of interesting interactions, especially at this time of year.


4-4-20 Carolina Wren4-4-20 Carolina Wren 4-3-20 Nests under gazebo4-3-20 Nests under gazebo

 

We took the Eastern Bluebird box down for a few days to deter the Eurasian Tree Sparrows. They seem to have claimed a box in a neighbor's yard. Our friend, Cori suggested using the filament line to continue deterring them until bluebirds or other native birds take the box. Today, another sparrow approached, seemed confused by it, fluttered in front and did not go in! So far, so good!

 

4-4-20 Eastern Bluebird nest box with filament line to deter sparrows4-4-20 Eastern Bluebird nest box with filament line to deter sparrows

4-5-20 Eurasian Tree Sparrow flutters at nest box4-5-20 Eurasian Tree Sparrow flutters at nest box 4-5-20 Eurasian Tree Sparrow confused at nest box4-5-20 Eurasian Tree Sparrow confused at nest box

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are getting closer, one has made it as far as Michigan! So, we have two feeders up and ready. Here's the map if you want to keep tabs on their progress:  

2020 Ruby-throated Hummingbird map

 

4-4-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeder up4-4-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeder up

 

We've consolidated our feeding stations into one at this point, serving black oil sunflower, safflower, bark butter and peanuts. 

 

4-4-20 Feeding Station4-4-20 Feeding Station

 

A Hermit Thrush showed up yesterday, our newest bird for the year, species  #52. Today, I realized there were at least two here in the yard. The second one seems fine but is definitely different. It was easier to see why when it landed on the bluebird box!

 

4-4-20 FOY #52 Hermit Thrush4-4-20 FOY #52 Hermit Thrush

 

4-5-20 Hermit Thrush4-5-20 Hermit Thrush 4-5-20 Hermit Thrush- one legged4-5-20 Hermit Thrush- one legged 4-5-20 Hermit Thrush- one legged4-5-20 Hermit Thrush- one legged

 

"April is the cruelest month."

Nature is resilient, and adapts, even in the toughest of times. Perhaps we all could learn a bit from Nature.

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/4/april-has-arrived-4-5-20 Mon, 06 Apr 2020 02:14:48 GMT
First ten days of Spring 3/30/20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/3/first-ten-days-of-spring-3/30/20  

While you're staying at home and washing your paws,

take some time to get outside and enjoy nature in this wonderful season of Spring!

 

3-28-20 Stay Home Squirrel!3-28-20 Stay Home Squirrel!

3-18-20 Wash your paws Raccoon!3-18-20 Wash your paws Raccoon!
 

 

Here in our Shady Oaks Sanctuary yard, we're still seeing Brown Creepers that come in for a bit of bark butter in between forays up the trees for insects hiding in the crevices of the bark.

 

3-25-20 Brown Creeper3-25-20 Brown Creeper 3-25-20 Brown Creeper3-25-20 Brown Creeper

 

Eastern Phoebes are busy calling and catching insects. This one got a bit worried when a large predator swooped in above it. Yikes! It flew off to a higher perch as a Cooper's Hawk came down to the wetland to bathe.

 

3-25-20 Eastern Phoebe3-25-20 Eastern Phoebe 3-25-20 Eastern Phoebe3-25-20 Eastern Phoebe 3-25-20 Eastern Phoebe3-25-20 Eastern Phoebe 3-25-20 Cooper's Hawk3-25-20 Cooper's Hawk 3-25-20 Cooper's Hawk3-25-20 Cooper's Hawk

3-25-20 Cooper's Hawk3-25-20 Cooper's Hawk
 

Dark-eyed Juncos are still here, this one seen in soft afternoon light on Blackhaw(Viburnum prunifolium).

 

3-25-20 Dark-eyed Junco3-25-20 Dark-eyed Junco

 

A female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker clung to small oak trees as little gnat-like insects emerged from the bark. The bird quickly snatched up as many as it could! This is the first time I've captured this behavior.

 

3-26-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female3-26-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female 3-26-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female3-26-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female 3-26-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female3-26-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female

 

There is a lot going on in the nesting department around here! Eastern Bluebirds have been checking out the nest box. They have serious competition from the Eurasian Tree Sparrows, though.

 

3-27-20 Eastern Bluebird3-27-20 Eastern Bluebird 3-27-20 Eastern Bluebird3-27-20 Eastern Bluebird

3-27-20 Eurasian Tree Sparrows3-27-20 Eurasian Tree Sparrows

 

We cleaned out the nesting material the Eurasian Tree Sparrows had put in and brought the box inside for a few days. They are not native birds like the bluebirds, and we want to support our native birds. We may move it to a different location. We will keep you posted!

 

While I was keeping an eye on the bluebirds and sparrows, a new bird for the year popped up onto the feeder. It was a Chipping Sparrow! It continued foraging in the mossy lawn. A female Hairy Woodpecker was spotted on the base of a Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), which has such warty bark.

 

3-27-20 FOY #42 Chipping Sparrow3-27-20 FOY #42 Chipping Sparrow 3-27-20 FOY #42 Chipping Sparrow3-27-20 FOY #42 Chipping Sparrow 3-27-20 Hairy Woodpecker female on Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)3-27-20 Hairy Woodpecker female on Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

 

On that busy day, Friday, 3/27/20 a Carolina Wren decided it was time to bathe enthusiastically in the basin.

 

3-27-20 Carolina Wren3-27-20 Carolina Wren 3-27-20 Carolina Wren3-27-20 Carolina Wren 3-27-20 Carolina Wren3-27-20 Carolina Wren

 

On Saturday, 3/28/20 the Eastern Phoebes were busy at building their nest. However, which one? Been doing a bit of head scratching lately because it seems there may be two pairs of phoebes with nearby nests. I've seen the first pair chasing another pair, and some other squabbles. Typically, the female will not tolerate another so near. Perhaps the wrens are back in the first nest. I just don't know, time will tell!

 

3-27-20 Eastern Phoebe in Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)3-27-20 Eastern Phoebe in Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

3-28-20 Eastern Phoebe with moss3-28-20 Eastern Phoebe with moss
3-27-20 Eastern Phoebe nest #13-27-20 Eastern Phoebe nest #1 3-27-20 Eastern Phoebe nest #23-27-20 Eastern Phoebe nest #2

 

About noon that drippy day, I had just come into the breakfast room and saw a little brown bullet shoot from the bluebells by the bubbler right up to the back door, not a foot from where I stood. It was a Winter Wren, popping up and down, up and down as if to say, "I'm BACK, I'm BACK!" It flew to the brush pile and then it foraged among the fungi on a log. I believe it had to be the same wren that was here last October!

 

3-28-20 FOY #45 Winter Wren3-28-20 FOY #45 Winter Wren

3-28-20 FOY #45 Winter Wren3-28-20 FOY #45 Winter Wren

3-28-20 FOY #45 Winter Wren3-28-20 FOY #45 Winter Wren
 

Among the most beautiful of our resident birds right now is the Northern Cardinal, in its rich, scarlet breeding plumage.


3-28-20 Northern Cardinal3-28-20 Northern Cardinal

 

The American Toads have been very noisily calling for mates the last few days with the warmup. Sleeping with earplugs has been required. Yesterday morning, 3/29/20 a Red-shouldered Hawk was spotted having a toad for breakfast. May the hawk enjoy many more meals of toad!
 

3-29-20 Red-shouldered Hawk with American Toad3-29-20 Red-shouldered Hawk with American Toad

 

 

To view all the photos since the last post, open a new window here: Birds from 3/24/20

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/3/first-ten-days-of-spring-3/30/20 Mon, 30 Mar 2020 14:35:22 GMT
Spring has arrived! 3-23-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/3/spring-has-arrived-3-23-20 SPRING! 

 

It has arrived gradually, cool and wet. On 3-19-20 at 10:51 p.m. it was official. Earlier that day, I saw one of the Red-shouldered Hawks in the sugar maple by the pond. It was a drizzly day, but this bird looked VERY wet as it spread its feathers to dry! Later, I checked the gazebo cam for any activity. Well,  no wonder! This hawk had gone fishing about 9:30 a.m. and fish are not their usual prey! It looks like the fish was the one that got away.

 

Read more:  Red-shouldered Hawk

 

3-19-20 Red-shouldered Hawk3-19-20 Red-shouldered Hawk

3-19-20 Red-shouldered Hawk, fishing

 

Since last Wednesday, 3-18-20, I've been hearing the high-pitched trilling of Pine Warblers. I caught a quick glimpse of one in a tree. Guess what kind of tree? A white pine tree, of course. They used to come to the bubbler more often in the spring, but I've only gotten photos once. Here are three photos that I took on 3-14-14 of the bird at the bubbler, in our pond cypress and on a white oak.

 

You can listen to the bird and watch videos here:  Pine Warbler sounds

 

3-14-14 Pine Warbler at Bubbler Basin3-14-14 Pine Warbler at Bubbler Basin 3-14-14 Pine Warbler searching for food in the Pond Cypress3-14-14 Pine Warbler searching for food in the Pond Cypress 3-14-14 Pine Warbler perches briefly on trunk of oak3-14-14 Pine Warbler perches briefly on trunk of oak

 

The Eastern Phoebes have been very active around the nest site. It has been just warm enough for small flying insects to be emerging, and these insects are a primary food source for flycatchers. I saw them chase away a pair of phoebes on two different days, another sure sign of this pair defending their territory. Nesting is all about location, location, location! The male is in the first and last photo, on the pond cypress branch and in the sugar maple. The female is in the middle two photos, on the pond cypress 'knee' in the swampy thicket and in the sugar maple.

 

 

3-19-20 Eastern Phoebe3-19-20 Eastern Phoebe 3-19-20 Eastern Phoebe female3-19-20 Eastern Phoebe female 3-19-20 Eastern Phoebe female3-19-20 Eastern Phoebe female 3-19-20 Eastern Phoebe3-19-20 Eastern Phoebe

 

Northern cardinals are also paired up and setting up territory. They may be waiting for it to warm up a bit more before building their nests.

 

3-19-20 Northern Cardinal female3-19-20 Northern Cardinal female

 

Friday, 3-20-20 was our first full day of spring. I found these Virginia bluebells with their tiny, pink, star-shaped buds just peeking out!

 

3-20-20 Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)3-20-20 Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

 

The female Hairy Woodpecker has been coming to get a few bites of bark butter, along with its cousin, the female Downy Woodpecker. I put the two photos together and it's easier to see the size difference between the birds! The beaks are different, too.

 

3-20-20 Hairy Woodpecker female3-20-20 Hairy Woodpecker female

3-20-20 Downy Woodpecker female3-20-20 Downy Woodpecker female 3-20-20 Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers - composite3-20-20 Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers - composite

 

Birds need water all year, and American Goldfinches have been coming to the bubbler to drink.


3-21-20 American Goldfinch3-21-20 American Goldfinch

 

Brown Creepers are back again looking for insects moving about.

 

3-21-20 Brown Creeper3-21-20 Brown Creeper

 

Dark-eyed Juncos will be here a while yet, leaving sometime in April to fly further north. Spring is the time when we still see birds of winter, like the juncos, and newly arriving migratory species, like the warblers. 

 

3-21-20 Dark-eyed Junco3-21-20 Dark-eyed Junco

 

The Carolina wrens were on the feeder together, looking about and making sure the coast was clear. The male and female look alike, though the male is the singer. 

 

3-21-20 Carolina Wrens3-21-20 Carolina Wrens

 

Yesterday, it started snowing with big, fat flakes. Sleet mixed in, too. It only lasted a few hours, not enough to build a snowman.

Here is an American Goldfinch changing into its bright coat of yellow, sitting in a blooming spicebush and being snowed upon. 

 

 

Spring is about to get pretty boisterous now! Being out in nature is so good for us.

We hope you are finding interesting birds, insects and blooms in your yards, too.

 

3-22-20 American Goldfinch on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) in snow3-22-20 American Goldfinch on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) in snow

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/3/spring-has-arrived-3-23-20 Mon, 23 Mar 2020 19:32:57 GMT
On the cusp of spring 3-18-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/3/on-the-cusp-of-spring-3-18-20 Promises, promises...we are truly on the cusp of Spring!

 

We will be making the most of our time now to observe nature and share what we can capture with our different means of photography. A new bird species, FOY #40 was spotted first by Dan while I was getting some coffee on Saturday morning, 3-14-20. We don't see this species every year, last year a pair flew over, but it has been wet enough to tempt them to come in and check out the wetland.

 

Mallards! They dabbled and waddled, making the most of the ducky weather for a good twenty minutes.

 

3-14-20 FOY #40 Mallard pair3-14-20 FOY #40 Mallard pair 3-14-20 Mallard Drake3-14-20 Mallard Drake 3-14-20 Mallard Hen3-14-20 Mallard Hen

 

Early the next morning, a deer was checking out the bubbler area. Our two grandsons giggled with this one! 

 

3-15-20 Deer nuzzling camera

 

Later in the morning, I thought I saw an Eastern Bluebird again, diving down into the leaves for an insect. When I came back with the camera, I couldn't find the male but there was a female high in one of the sugar maples. 

 

3-15-20 Eastern Bluebird female3-15-20 Eastern Bluebird female

 

Last year we thought about putting up a nest box, but we have concerns with other species taking over them in our fairly wooded space. I asked Dan if we should reconsider giving it a try. Dan was on it! We looked up plans online and he came up with enough cedar from other projects. He made a slightly altered version of a Gilwood box, giving it a thicker roof with a bit of a slant.

 

Nestbox plans
 

3-15-20 Eastern Bluebird nest box, built by Dan.3-15-20 Eastern Bluebird nest box, built by Dan.

 

Dan enjoyed the challenge and we both relished having an idea to focus on that was positive, helping another native bird species right in our own yard. It will take some luck and careful monitoring. We are novices at this! We had two places in mind and are trying it in the garden first. We just aren't sure if this area will be open enough for them. Stay tuned for updates!

 

3-16-20 Eastern Bluebird nest box in the garden.3-16-20 Eastern Bluebird nest box in the garden.


One of the Carolina wrens was foraging in the leaves, near some emerging Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica). A hairy woodpecker came in to get some bark butter and look for insects in a small oak. That delicate white feathering around the eyes makes me think of a harlequin.

 

3-16-20 Carolina wren foraging in leaves near Virginia Bluebells3-16-20 Carolina wren foraging in leaves near Virginia Bluebells 3-16-20 Hairy Woodpecker3-16-20 Hairy Woodpecker 3-16-20 Hairy Woodpecker3-16-20 Hairy Woodpecker

 

A Carolina chickadee got a quick bath and a downy woodpecker came to the basin to get a sip of water.

 

3-16-20 Carolina Chickadee3-16-20 Carolina Chickadee 3-16-20 Downy Woodpecker3-16-20 Downy Woodpecker

 

St. Patrick's day was pretty cool to start, then warmed up enough to work in the garden. My first task was to pull some emerging wintercreeper euonymous (Euonymous fortunei), on the left with obovate leaves, and bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), in the upper right corner. The usually high, dry areas were nice and moist from earlier rains, just perfect conditions to get 'em now, roots and all. After years spent removing these invasive plants, they continue to try and take hold, so we make the effort to get on top of it early in the spring. 

 

3-17-20 Invasive Wintercreeper and Bush Honeysuckle before removal3-17-20 Invasive Wintercreeper and Bush Honeysuckle before removal

 

We have 80% native plants here now. The 20% that are non-native function in different ways in our garden. We enjoy the Lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis) for their very early blooms in shades of purplish-pink to soft white. They spread slowly, and not invasively.

 

3-17-20 Non-native Helleborus species in bloom3-17-20 Non-native Helleborus species in bloom 3-17-20 Non-native Helleborus species in bloom3-17-20 Non-native Helleborus species in bloom

 

However, I'm really looking forward to the April blooms of the native Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia), which are in bud now. Maybe this year, the timing will coincide and I'll catch a hummingbird getting nectar from the flowers. 

 

3-17-20 Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)3-17-20 Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

 

Back to birds, it seems the Carolina wrens have given up the nest site to the Eastern phoebes. I think they must have a new spot, the male was just singing his little heart out yesterday! What a joyful song.

 

  3-17-20 Carolina Wren3-17-20 Carolina Wren 3-17-20 Carolina Wren3-17-20 Carolina Wren 3-17-20 Carolina Wren3-17-20 Carolina Wren

 

The Northern cardinals were caught sharing a tidbit, a behavior called 'pair-bonding'. It's another promise of spring, cementing their relationship for this imminent, busy time of breeding, protecting their territory and caring for young.

 

3-17-20 Northern Cardinals, pair-bonding3-17-20 Northern Cardinals, pair-bonding

 

Last but not least, a short clip from the Bubbler cam to view. This critter does something that we humans are now doing a lot right now... but I don't think this raccoon has sung two verses!

 

3-18-20 Raccoon washing paws

 

Life is precious, take care and take time to be outside!

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) bluebird box bush honeysuckle invasive mallard nest raccoon wintercreeper https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/3/on-the-cusp-of-spring-3-18-20 Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:41:34 GMT
Friday, March 13, 2020 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/3/friday-march-13-2020 Hope springs eternal.

Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, 1732

Spring itself is a hopeful time, and it sure seems like we all need to reach deep within right now to stay in that positive, forward-moving lane of life. Just one week ago, Dan and I were very involved in the Partners for Native Landscaping events here in town. So much enthusiasm on display, such wonderful opportunities to hear positive thoughts and learn even more about conservation in our own yards from the most persuasive wildlife ecologist and author in the country today, Doug Tallamy. The speakers that followed him on Saturday were also brimming with excitement about new methods and new approaches to fulfill our collective proprietary goals of gardening for birds and wildlife, and thus supporting life in our local ecosystems. After all, as Doug says: 

"To save life on earth, we need to preserve functional ecosystems everywhere! So, save it where you live!" 

 

It is time to jump in on this conservation approach, every single one of us is needed! Do check out his newest book, Nature's Best Hope

I will continue to do my utmost to document and share with you, my friends, the wonderful interactions we see in our own

Shady Oaks Conservation Garden. The resiliency of Nature is our ultimate inspiration!

 

Let's begin with a surprising new visitor to the yard on 2/26/20, just as it began to snow. Yes, our first ever skunk. It kept on going, we have not seen (or smelled) it since. But, if you'd like to read more about this misunderstood critter, check this out:  Skunk

 

2-26-20 Skunk

 

Eastern bluebirds have been coming in, calling to each other and looking for insects in the leaves. What a brilliant blue coat the males wear! The most sustainable practice now is to leave the leaves in the garden beds so bluebirds and others will find plenty of insects to eat! Here's a look at the bird and butterfly garden and surrounding beds on 3/1/20. 

 

3-6-20 Eastern Bluebird3-6-20 Eastern Bluebird 3-6-20 Eastern Bluebird3-6-20 Eastern Bluebird

3-1-20 Leaves in E beds and bird and butterfly garden3-1-20 Leaves in E beds and bird and butterfly garden

 

On Friday, 3/6/20something was moving in the shade near the pond, one of the Carolina wrens gathering nesting material. I wondered where the pair was building a nest this year?.

 

3-6-20 Carolina wren gathering moss for nest3-6-20 Carolina wren gathering moss for nest 3-6-20 Carolina wren gathering moss for nest3-6-20 Carolina wren gathering moss for nest

 

The answer would soon be revealed. The little wren sure was busy, returning frequently to the same spot, collecting lots of soft green moss.

 

3-6-20 Carolina wren gathering moss for nest3-6-20 Carolina wren gathering moss for nest

 

The brown creepers are still visiting some days, and I caught this one as it took off, revealing the pattern in its wings.

 

3-6-30 Brown Creeper takes off3-6-30 Brown Creeper takes off

 

On 3/8/20, as I sat down with my favorite mug full of coffee, I heard a familiar call. Are they back already, 11 days earlier than last year? YES! The Eastern phoebe pair was chattering noisily, checking out their nest site from last year, under the gazebo. They are species #39 for the year.

 

3-8-20 FOY #39 Eastern Phoebe3-8-20 FOY #39 Eastern Phoebe

 

It was a bright, cool morning and birds became more active as the day warmed. The female Red-shouldered Hawk was perched in the sugar maple overlooking the pond. A Cooper's hawk flew in and landed on the tall white oak snag, followed by a noisy American crow. The Red-shouldered hawk flew over to the top of the same snag and began calling to her mate. The other two birds had flown off by the time I got outside to document what was going on. The male came in, the pair copulated and the male flew off into a nearby oak. Another sign of spring and the promise of life to come!

 

3-8-20 Red-shouldered Hawk female3-8-20 Red-shouldered Hawk female 3-8-20 Red-shouldered Hawk female3-8-20 Red-shouldered Hawk female 3-8-20 Red-shouldered Hawk pair copulating3-8-20 Red-shouldered Hawk pair copulating

3-8-20 Red-shouldered Hawk3-8-20 Red-shouldered Hawk

 

Shortly after this interaction, I walked down the steps to check out the Eastern phoebes' old nest site. Aha. Well, this was going to get more interesting, indeed! The Carolina wrens have been building their nest right on top of the phoebes'. Oh, dear...

 

3-8-20 Carolina wren nest atop old Eastern phoebe nest3-8-20 Carolina wren nest atop old Eastern phoebe nest

 

The next morning was quite gray and the female opossum was active in the woodland. (From the right angle, I could tell it was a female.)

 

3-9-20 Opossum female3-9-20 Opossum female

 

The Eastern phoebes are still around, undeterred by the obstruction of the wrens' nest. They flutter around underneath the site. One of the wrens was still carrying in nesting material on 3/9/20. I really don't know if the female wren is inside the nest on eggs yet or not. Inquiring minds need to know but all will be revealed at some point.

 

3-9-20 Eastern phoebe3-9-20 Eastern phoebe 3-9-20 Carolina wren with nesting material3-9-20 Carolina wren with nesting material 3-9-20 Carolina wren on the lookout3-9-20 Carolina wren on the lookout

 

The bubbler had yet another visitor on 3/10/20, early in the morning. We had a clip from January that showed a scrawny coyote, but this animal  looked quite robust. Two short clips are here for you to view.

 

3-10-20 Coyote 3-10-20 Coyote

 

This morning I took 2 photos, but I still have no clue as to what is going on. I'll leave them be, as 'least disturbance' is our motto here!

UPDATE - I studied the photos and realized there is much more mud in and around the nest. It looks more like the phoebes are taking over!

 

3-13-20 Carolina wren nest atop old Eastern phoebe nest3-13-20 Carolina wren nest atop old Eastern phoebe nest

3-13-20 Carolina wren nest atop old Eastern Phoebe nest3-13-20 Carolina wren nest atop old Eastern Phoebe nest

Last but not least, Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are emerging.

Hope does spring eternal.

 

Take deep breaths, stay informed, be pragmatic, calm and hopeful.

We will weather this current COVID-19 crisis in due time.

 

3-13-20 Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)3-13-20 Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/3/friday-march-13-2020 Fri, 13 Mar 2020 19:14:00 GMT
March is here! 3-2-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/3/march-is-here-3-2-20 February always seems to fly by, even in this Leap Year!

 

We have added a few birds to the year list and this hairy woodpecker came to the bubbler. On warmer days, which we have thankfully had, birds get in to splash and bathe in the sunshine. The Carolina wren and tufted titmouse are often first in.

 

2-20-20 Hairy Woodpecker2-20-20 Hairy Woodpecker

2-23-20 Carolina Wren2-23-20 Carolina Wren
2-23-20 Tufted Titmouse2-23-20 Tufted Titmouse 2-23-20 Tufted Titmouse2-23-20 Tufted Titmouse 2-23-20 Tufted Titmouse2-23-20 Tufted Titmouse

 

Nice days often precede a drop in temperatures and incoming snow. Here is how the garden looked early in the morning on 2/26 from my upstairs perch. Snow continued to fall, birds were hungry - there was a lot of activity.

 

 

2-26-20 Garden in snow2-26-20 Garden in snow

 

Brown creepers, European starlings and dark-eyed juncos came in with the usual mix of birds.

 

2-26-20 Brown Creeper2-26-20 Brown Creeper 2-26-20 European Starling2-26-20 European Starling 2-26-20 Dark-eyed Junco2-26-20 Dark-eyed Junco

 

Nature reveals itself in fine layers, almost like peeling an onion. Northern flickers fascinate as they seem to change from every angle viewed. From the back, one sees the heart shape on the head. From the side, there's the black mustache of the male. But from a full frontal view, wow, yellow feathers flash! It truly is a looker. Did you know that in the West, they are red-shafted, not yellow? Learn more about them by opening this page.

 

Northern Flicker

 

2-26-20 Northern Flicker2-26-20 Northern Flicker 2-26-20 Northern Flicker2-26-20 Northern Flicker 2-26-20 Northern Flicker2-26-20 Northern Flicker 2-26-20 Northern Flicker2-26-20 Northern Flicker

 

Birds are courting and pairing up. One of the red-shouldered hawks was checking out this old nest in an oak. Perhaps the birds may build it up, and refurbish it. The American crows have been seen carrying sticks to begin their own nests, and they sure harass the hawks at every chance.

 

2-26-20 Red-shouldered Hawk nest2-26-20 Red-shouldered Hawk nest

 

On Leap Day, I saw this American robin settled into the leaves. It was early, which led me to think the bird had slept there, soothed by the calming sounds of the water in the stream bed. 

 

2-29-20 American Robin resting2-29-20 American Robin resting

 

March began with a lovely day, the high reached 69 degrees and spring was in the air. The wren was singing a new tune that I hadn't heard before. American goldfinches are molting, yet blend in so easily with soft yellows and dull greens of Christmas fern and mossy rocks.

 

3-1-20 Carolina Wren3-1-20 Carolina Wren 3-1-20 American Goldfinch in spring molt3-1-20 American Goldfinch in spring molt

 

Surely, you recognize the cheery song of the Northern cardinals, who've begun chasing other males to prove their fitness? As spring arrives, it will bring more of our migrant birds. Cornell Lab has a FREE app that will help you identify birds in your own area on any given day! What a great idea to get a leg up on learning about our beautiful native birds!

 

Merlin Bird ID

 

3-1-20 Northern Cardinal3-1-20 Northern Cardinal
 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/3/march-is-here-3-2-20 Mon, 02 Mar 2020 23:19:50 GMT
Great Backyard Bird Count Highlights 2-18-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/2/great-backyard-bird-count-highlights-2-18-20  

We'll start with Thursday, 2-13-20. That was the day the temperature started to plummet. For a brief period, the birds seemed hyperactive as they realized what was happening. They would need some extra calories to get through a very cold night. 

 

The Red-bellied Woodpecker came to check out the bark butter while a Brown Creeper was on the same small oak.

 

2-13-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker and Brown Creeper2-13-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker and Brown Creeper

 

A few minutes later on the same tree, the female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was surprised by a Northern Flicker.

 

2-13-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female and Northern Flicker2-13-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female and Northern Flicker

 

The Red-bellied Woodpecker came back, circling the tree in a dance with the sapsucker. Looked like the sapsucker held on for the goods.

 

2-13-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female2-13-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female 2-13-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female2-13-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female 2-13-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female2-13-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female

 

The heater in the bubbler had failed on Thursday, 2-13, and Dan decided to wait out the short frigid spell and test the ability of the bubbler pump to keep percolating. He had faith in the warmth of the ground temperature to keep the whole system from freezing. On the morning of Friday, 2-14, the thermometer read 5.2 degrees and this is what it looked like. Icy! But, still flowing!

 

2-15-20 Icy Bubbler at 5 degrees2-15-20 Icy Bubbler at 5 degrees

 

The GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count) had begun! We had 19 species on Friday including American Goldfinches, the immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and at least 2 Brown Creepers.
 

2-13-20 American Goldfinch2-13-20 American Goldfinch 2-14-20 Immature female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker2-14-20 Immature female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2-14-20 Brown Creeper #12-14-20 Brown Creeper #1 2-14-20 Brown Creeper #22-14-20 Brown Creeper #2 2-14-20 Brown Creeper2-14-20 Brown Creeper

 

Late in the afternoon, a flock of robins came in, numbering 13 or more. I counted 11 when I took this photo. It's an eye test!

 

2-14-20 Eleven American Robins in leaf litter, north bed2-14-20 Eleven American Robins in leaf litter, north bed

 

About 8:30 the next morning, I went to check the east side of the yard and found the robins had come in again, along with starlings and a new bird, #35 for the year, Rusty Blackbirds! There were at least 8 that I was able to isolate as they worked in the leaf litter. They're a favorite of mine to see in the winter. This species is in a severe decline and watching them forage and find food here is very gratifying. Our yards do make a difference in helping our native birds!

 

2-15-20 FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird2-15-20 FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird 2-15-20  FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird pair2-15-20 FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird pairTwo Rusty Blackbirds foraging in leaf litter in our east bed. 2-15-20  FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird with insect2-15-20 FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird with insect

 

The Red-bellied Woodpecker was spending time on this side of the yard, as seen here on one of the sugar maples (Acer saccharum).

 

2-15-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker2-15-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker  

 

The American Robins were not deterred by the icy cold water in the stream bed. Several got in to bathe.

 

2-15-20 American Robin2-15-20 American Robin

 

The flock of Rusty Blackbirds, robins and starlings were here until about noon. They continued to find insects to eat under the leaves and in the swampy thicket. At times, they flew into cover to rest, like the bird in the twiggy Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).

 

2-15-20  FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird with insect2-15-20 FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird with insect 2-15-20  FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird with insect2-15-20 FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird with insect  

2-15-20  FOY 35 Four Rusty Blackbirds in swampy thicket2-15-20 FOY 35 Four Rusty Blackbirds in swampy thicket

2-15-20  FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird in cover of Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)2-15-20 FOY 35 Rusty Blackbird in cover of Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
 

An American Goldfinch was able to drink at the basin by early afternoon as a Carolina Wren perched nearby.

 

2-15-20 American Goldfinch2-15-20 American Goldfinch 2-15-20 Carolina Wren2-15-20 Carolina Wren

 

Sunday, 2-16-20, brought in 4 American Crows harassing the male Red-shouldered Hawk. It was interesting watching the larger birds. The hawk must have found a vole to eat in the swampy thicket, for it was low on the ground. The crows dived towards it, then the hawk flew to this perch and watched the crows intensely before going after them. It almost looked like a game of 'tag', but I suspect there was more to it!

​​​​​​

  2-16-20 Red-shouldered Hawk2-16-20 Red-shouldered Hawk

 

Enjoy our winter birds, for soon it will be spring!

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/2/great-backyard-bird-count-highlights-2-18-20 Tue, 18 Feb 2020 15:17:29 GMT
Another burst of cold expected soon 2-13-20 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/2/another-burst-of-cold-2-13-20 The predicted snowstorm for 2-5-20 moved a bit north of us and we just had sleety slush. We did have more goldfinches come in, some were busy at the feeders while others bathed. Residents like the cardinals numbered over twenty and the Dark-eyed Junco count also increased to a dozen. A single European Starling scout took advantage of a bath before temperatures dropped.

 

2-4-20 American Goldfinches2-4-20 American Goldfinches

2-4-20 American Goldfinches2-4-20 American Goldfinches
2-4-20 Northern Cardinal2-4-20 Northern Cardinal 2-4-20 Dark-eyed Juncos2-4-20 Dark-eyed Juncos 2-4-20 European Starling2-4-20 European Starling

 

A Blue Jay shook off the pellets of sleet while resting a bit. Oh, bother! The male Red-bellied Woodpecker is always as striking in the gray gloom as the Blue Jays. How their bright colors do lift our spirits!

 

2-5-20 Blue Jay in sleet2-5-20 Blue Jay in sleet 2-5-20 Blue Jay in sleet2-5-20 Blue Jay in sleet

2-5-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker2-5-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker

 

Even though the Red-shouldered Hawks blend into this oak woodland so well, their beauty is truly a treasure when spotted. They hunt for voles and mice, just like their nocturnal counterparts, the Barred Owls. The owls were both heard early in the morning on Tuesday.

 

2-5-20 Red-shouldered Hawk2-5-20 Red-shouldered Hawk 2-5-20 Red-shouldered Hawk2-5-20 Red-shouldered Hawk

 

About two dozen American Robins came in yesterday afternoon with some warmer air. The birds were busy taking turns bathing, preening and foraging in the leaves all around the yard.

 

2-11-20 American Robins2-11-20 American Robins

2-11-20 American Robins2-11-20 American Robins

2-11-20 American Robins2-11-20 American Robins

2-11-20 American Robin2-11-20 American Robin

2-11-20 American Robins finding food in leaf litter2-11-20 American Robins finding food in leaf litter
 

Just like the robins, Carolina Wrens consistently look in the leaf litter for overwintering insects to eat. Not only does leaf litter insulate our plants and enrich our soils with organic matter, it holds a veritable banquet for our native birds throughout the winter and during spring migration. According to Doug Tallamy's newest book, Nature's Best Hope, here are a couple reasons why. "More than 90% of the caterpillars that develop on plants do not pupate on their host plants. Instead, they drop to the ground and pupate within the duff on the ground or within chambers they form underground ... treasure your leaf litter. Many leaves that fall each autumn harbor small caterpillars within curled leaf margins, and dozens of caterpillar species eat fallen leaves."

The birds have obviously known about this for eons and that's why they spend so much time foraging in our garden beds and in the woods, where we leave our leaves.

Leaf litter harbors life! Leaf litter feeds birds! Leave your leaves!

 

This is just one of many simple steps each of us can take in our own yards to help restore balance in the ecosystem.

Learn more about this new approach to conservation:  Nature's Best Hope


2-9-20 Carolina Wren finding food in leaf litter2-9-20 Carolina Wren finding food in leaf litter 2-9-20 Carolina Wren finding food in leaf litter2-9-20 Carolina Wren finding food in leaf litter

 

 

 


 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/2/another-burst-of-cold-2-13-20 Wed, 12 Feb 2020 21:56:25 GMT
February warmup https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/2/february-warmup Two warm days, soon winter weather returns.

 

Many say February is the dullest month of the year, but it is the month when we begin to see signs of spring. A new record high of 69 degrees was set on Sunday, 2-2-20. It reached 70.7 degrees here. And, in case you hadn't heard, Sunday's date was an exceptional one, being a rare palindrome. Here's one story about it: Rare palindrome 

The warm winds brought Snow Geese flying high overhead this morning to add to the list for #33 for the year. The Brown Creepers were missed on Sunday, but one was back again today. Otherwise, birds have been seen at the usual pace for milder winter weather.

 

A female Downy Woodpecker stopped in to get a drink at the bubbler on 1-20-20. No matter what birds are eating, they often need water in winter.

 

1-20-20 Downy Woodpecker drinks1-20-20 Downy Woodpecker drinks

 

A Brown Creeper tried to slip in near a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker to snatch a teeny bit of bark butter.

 

1-21-20 Brown Creeper and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female1-21-20 Brown Creeper and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female

 

Carolina Wrens are often seen poking about in the leaves at the base of trees for hidden insects.

 

1-22-20 Carolina Wren1-22-20 Carolina Wren

 

A White-breasted Nuthatch used its bill to spear a bit of bark butter.

 

1-22-20 White-breasted Nuthatch1-22-20 White-breasted Nuthatch

 

The immature female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was seen on 1-27-20 very briefly. Both sapsuckers may return with colder weather!

 

1-27-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immature female1-27-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker immature female

 

One sign of spring that we spotted - Celandine or Wood Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) are beginning to emerge through the leaf litter. 

 

2-2-20 Celandine Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) emerging2-2-20 Celandine Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) emerging
 

More cold and a bit of snow is in the forecast, but hardy native plants know when it's time to take advantage of the warmer days. 

We've gained 50 minutes since the Winter Solstice!

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/2/february-warmup Mon, 03 Feb 2020 21:11:02 GMT
1-23-20 Winter challenges https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/1/1-23-20-winter Ah, winter. The time to curl up by the fire with a good book and a cuppa.

But...what if you're a squirrel or a bird?

 

This squirrel defended its white oak burl and stayed snug. The White-throated Sparrow found a cozy spot within a small pile of branches. The Brown Creeper may have sheltered overnight on the trunk of a shag-bark hickory, under bark that fanned out from the tree. Can you find it working along the trunk of the black oak?

 

1-12-20 Find the White-throated Sparrow in cover1-12-20 Find the White-throated Sparrow in cover 1-12-20 Find the Brown Creeper1-12-20 Find the Brown Creeper

 

A flock of 13 Red-winged Blackbirds have been seen a couple different days. The Yellow-rumped Warbler has been in as well, looking for food in the same places.

 

1-13-20 Red-winged Blackbirds1-13-20 Red-winged Blackbirds 1-16-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler with larvae from leaf litter1-16-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler with larvae from leaf litter

 

We set up a replacement camera for the Bubbler area. The deer were sure curious about it that night!

 

1-16-20 Deer curious about new bubbler cam

 

This White-throated Sparrow was eating seed from the Cliff Goldenrod (Solidago drummondii) while the Red-bellied Woodpecker was after the bark butter. It sure is a popular protein and fat source on cold winter days for a number of species, including the Northern Cardinals.

 

1-17-20 White-throated Sparrow1-17-20 White-throated Sparrow 1-17-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker1-17-20 Red-bellied Woodpecker 1-17-20 Northern Cardinal1-17-20 Northern Cardinal 1-17-20 Northern Cardinal female1-17-20 Northern Cardinal female

 

We have seen this pair of Brown Creepers every day of the new year. They move so quickly, this was a lucky shot.

 

1-17-20 Two Brown Creepers1-17-20 Two Brown Creepers   

 

This composite photo shows a pair of Downy Woodpeckers with the female (on left) and a male. The male has the red patch on the back of the head.

 

1-18-20 Downy Woodpeckers, female left, male right1-18-20 Downy Woodpeckers, female left, male right

 

One of the Barred Owls took a dip in the pond to catch a fish, just hours before the pond iced over. It shook itself off, then moved on.

 

1-19-20 Barred Owl at pond

 

Two female Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been coming in, the first one is an adult and the second is an immature. The young one spent quite a bit of time at the sugar maple (Acer saccharum). The bird had hammered away at the bark while warming itself in the sun. It was a cold day, but apparently just warm enough for the sweet sap to run and provide some nourishment. 

 

1-17-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female1-17-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female 1-20-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, immature female1-20-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, immature female 1-20-20 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
 

 

Here, one of the creepers came in as the female Downy Woodpecker was getting bark butter. This image is a good size comparison. 

 

1-20-20- Brown Creeper and Downy Woodpecker female1-20-20- Brown Creeper and Downy Woodpecker female

 

And, this fluffed-up creeper was caught cat-napping! Ever so brief was the nap, about a minute, but apparently just enough on a cold winter afternoon. 

 

1-20-20 Brown Creeper taking a catnap1-20-20 Brown Creeper taking a catnap

1-20-20 Brown Creeper awake1-20-20 Brown Creeper awake

 

Stay snug!

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/1/1-23-20-winter Thu, 23 Jan 2020 18:31:20 GMT
1-11-20 A new year, a new milestone https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/1/1-11-20-a-new-year-a-new-milestone  

January, 2020

 

So, it has begun! The first week of the year brought in some mild weather, nice birds and many visitors to the blog.

We have surpassed 50,000 visitors now. Thank you for looking at our blog and galleries! 

We hope you've picked up a thing or two about birds, especially how to support them in your own yards 

with native plants, which are the very best bird feeders, and water features. 

 

Our year list is off to a modest start with 30 species seen as of today, 1-11-20. Heard only species have been a vocal Red-shouldered Hawk and Barred Owl. The first Yellow-rumped Warbler came in very briefly on 1-2-20. I was lucky to see it at all and only got one photo when it landed in a Spicebush (Lindera benzoin).

 

1-2-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler1-2-20 Yellow-rumped Warbler

 

American Crows were the second species on our yard list and third at the Bubbler. This family of crows has become pretty comfortable coming in to get a drink of water or look for a handout. Since our city now provides a bin to put trash in, these birds no longer can ravage the trash bags and scavenge. I thought I had fooled them by waiting to put out bark butter. With the trees nearly bare, they spotted me a mile away. 

 

1-3-20 American Crow1-3-20 American Crow 1-3-20 American Crows1-3-20 American Crows

 

May I introduce my new BFF?

 

1-3-20 American Crow1-3-20 American Crow

 

I re-learned my lesson and only put it out on a couple trees near the deck. They aren't so sure about coming in that close. So far, so good. This Dark-eyed Junco took advantage of the situation before getting some water.

 

1-3-20 Dark-eyed Junco1-3-20 Dark-eyed Junco

1-4-20 Dark-eyed Junco1-4-20 Dark-eyed Junco

 

A couple Eurasian Tree Sparrows were seen on 1-4-20. 

 

1-4-20 Eurasian Tree Sparrow1-4-20 Eurasian Tree Sparrow

 

On Sunday, 1-5-20, I was able to get photos of the two Brown Creepers that have been coming in every day. Yes, they look virtually identical but it was a mild day and it was fun to be outside watching them chase each other in hide-and-seek fashion around this small oak. 

 

1-5-20 Brown Creeper #11-5-20 Brown Creeper #1 1-5-20 Brown Creeper #21-5-20 Brown Creeper #2

 

White-breasted Nuthatches, dressed in their tuxedoes, will go after the small sunflower chips in the finch feeders. Often, they chase off the American Goldfinches. The finches just swirl off to a branch and wait their turn again. Some of them are beginning to don bright yellow feathers.

 

1-5-20 White-breasted Nuthatch and American Goldfinch1-5-20 White-breasted Nuthatch and American Goldfinch 1-5-20 White-breasted Nuthatch1-5-20 White-breasted Nuthatch 1-5-20 American Goldfinch1-5-20 American Goldfinch

 

Red-winged Blackbirds were still in the neighborhood and showed up on Monday, 1-6-20. At least I won't be holding my breath to get them again on the very last day of the year! They came in with a large flock of Common Grackles and European Starlings. One of the males went to the feeder and the starlings splashed away.

 

1-6-20 Red-winged Blackbird (left) and Common Grackles1-6-20 Red-winged Blackbird (left) and Common Grackles 1-6-20 Red-winged Blackbird1-6-20 Red-winged Blackbird

1-7-20 European Starlings1-7-20 European Starlings

 

The Bubbler began to see a lot of action with the blackbird flock that came in. The next day, this Northern Cardinal had a turn before a flock of at least 60-80 American Robins showed up. The robins just kept coming, rotating in and dominating the bubbler from 10 am -3 pm.

 

1-7-20 Northern Cardinal1-7-20 Northern Cardinal

 

There were two Cedar Waxwings that really wanted part of the action. One was adamant, and stood up to the larger robin. If that waxwing was trying to impress a female, I think the bird succeeded! It gave the robin what-for as it held its ground.

 

1-7-20 American Robins and Cedar Waxwings1-7-20 American Robins and Cedar Waxwings

1-7-20 American Robins and Cedar Waxwing1-7-20 American Robins and Cedar Waxwing 1-7-20 American Robins and Cedar Waxwing1-7-20 American Robins and Cedar Waxwing 1-7-20 American Robins and Cedar Waxwing1-7-20 American Robins and Cedar Waxwing

 

Pecking order re-established, eh? 

 

1-7-20 Cedar Waxwing1-7-20 Cedar Waxwing

 

We have been having our share of technical challenges lately. The Bubbler Cam has effectively given up the ghost, but we did manage to catch a fox on it again on the evening of 1-6-20 with these two clips.

 

1-6-20 Fox getting a drink 1-6-20 Fox getting a drink

 

The big rainstorm began on Thursday afternoon, 1-9-20. On Friday, for our FOY (first of year) Bird Species #30, a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew in, just an hour after we replaced the Bubbler Cam with the other one to try it out. (Watch the lower right corner.) This bird didn't stick around long and it had chased all the other birds into cover. It was one wet, bedraggled looking bird. I watched it as it flew out of the yard.

 

1-10-20 Sharp-shinned Hawk

 

The rain event has totaled 5.25" here since Thursday, when it started. Snow showers have now begun!

We've gained 12 minutes of daylight, but that's sure hard to appreciate on such a dismal day. 

Keep warm and stay dry!

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/1/1-11-20-a-new-year-a-new-milestone Sat, 11 Jan 2020 21:26:12 GMT
1-7-2020 December Trip Recap and Bubbler Winter Maintenance Update https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/1/7/December/trip/recap/bubbler/winter/maintenance/update Dan's Images from Our December 'Snowbird' Trip

 

Many of us like to get away for a winter warm-up, and we've been getting questions about what to do with bubblers when people have that opportunity. So, we have a new page added to our Bubbler Maintenance Guide. We'll cover the information at the end of this post, just email us from the contact page if you'd like a copy of the revised pdf.  Contact us

 

We thought we'd begin the year with some of Dan's beautiful photos from our own 'snowbird' time on Sanibel Island, Florida in December. The island is 2/3 protected habitat within the revered Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, one of the top ten places to see birds in the United States. We spent time watching birds wherever we were. On our beach walks and every time we drove through the refuge, it was different! Depending on time of day, tidal effects and winds, birds could be found feeding, squawking, flying or scampering about. We enjoyed the great opportunity to study birds we don't see every day, it is truly a special place. 

 

We chose a new complex our friends recommended to stay in that had a larger dune area to walk through as we approached the beach. I spotted a small falcon, an American Kestrel, on a fencepost the first morning. It was finishing off a meal. Mouse or bird? Too late to tell. It then flew to this shrub to digest its food, where Dan photographed it. The bird was out there every morning. We had never seen a kestrel near the beach before in all the years we've been there.

 

12-15-19 American Kestrel in the dunes12-15-19 American Kestrel in the dunes

 

Ruddy Turnstones are common on the beach and we saw them every day. Osprey are paired up and beginning to build their nests. This bird was collecting some materials.

 

12-15-19 Ruddy Turnstone Trio12-15-19 Ruddy Turnstone Trio 12-15-19 Osprey with nesting material12-15-19 Osprey with nesting material

 

On our first trip through the refuge, we came upon a solitary Roseate Spoonbill standing alongside these 5 Wood Storks.

 

12-16-19 Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Storks12-16-19 Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Storks

 

A Yellow-crowned Night Heron was resting after its early breakfast. Like the Green Heron in the next photo, birds find food and cover in the red mangroves.

 

12-16-19 Yellow-crowned Night Heron12-16-19 Yellow-crowned Night Heron

12-16-19 Green Heron12-16-19 Green Heron

 

Dan captured this pattern of windswept grass in the sand. A Snowy Egret caught fish at the shoreline at low tide while a lineup of Sanderlings worked in the shallows for the tiny animals inside coquina shells.

 

12-16-19 Windswept sand12-16-19 Windswept sand 12-17-19 Snowy Egret at the shoreline12-17-19 Snowy Egret at the shoreline 12-17-19 Sanderlings12-17-19 Sanderlings

 

We went through the refuge on Wednesday, the high for the day had been at midnight with a heavy rain. By afternoon, it had begun cooling down. This Great Egret caught a tiny fish as Snowy Egrets hoped for the same. The size difference in the two birds is obvious and the larger bird has the yellow bill, black legs and feet.

 

12-18-19 Great Egret and Snowy Egrets12-18-19 Great Egret and Snowy Egrets

 

We had not seen so many Snowy Egrets before. They are quite animated when they're competing with each other. This image is a favorite of ours. Not only does one see the yellow feet, usually hidden in the muck, but the plumage is so well-defined against the dark background of the mangroves. See the drops of water flying from its bill? Soon, these birds will be in full breeding beauty.

 

12-18-19 Snowy Egret in Mangroves12-18-19 Snowy Egret in Mangroves

 

Another interesting image Dan got was of this Great Blue Heron, reflected in the pool.

 

12-18-19 Great Blue Heron12-18-19 Great Blue Heron

 

The last day that we could go through the refuge was Thursday, it is closed on Fridays to give all the birds and animals a break from the human traffic. ​​The winds had really picked up and when we arrived, we found a 'super-low tide'. The conditions were forcing the birds into the channels where the water was still moving. It was also where the fish were concentrated! This Great Egret had speared a fish that looked  like a swordfish to us.

 

12-19-19 Great Egret with fish12-19-19 Great Egret with fish

 

The lighting was beautiful, as you can see on this Yellow-crowned Night Heron, protected from the breeze.

 

12-19-19 Yellow-crowned Night Heron12-19-19 Yellow-crowned Night Heron

 

A Brown Pelican watched a Snowy Egret carrying another small tidbit off to eat without interference.

 

12-19-19 Brown Pelican and Snowy Egret with prey12-19-19 Brown Pelican and Snowy Egret with prey

 

A Reddish Egret was finally seen, 'dancing' as it caught fish. This is a distinctive behavior of the species.

 

12-19-19 Reddish Egret dancing in front of a Snowy Egret12-19-19 Reddish Egret dancing in front of a Snowy Egret

 

Another Snowy Egret Dan captured had a sizable shrimp! Last but not least, two more Roseate Spoonbills were preening in the afternoon light with their prehistoric looking bills.

 

12-19-19 Snowy Egret with shrimp12-19-19 Snowy Egret with shrimp 12-19-19 Roseate Spoonbills12-19-19 Roseate Spoonbills
 

So, are you planning a trip to sunny shores?  You know your bubbler best,

but here are some things to consider for your bubbler while you're away. 

 

Bubbler Maintenance - When you’re away

 

Are you leaving town for a few days or weeks?  Are you concerned about what to do with your bubbler while you’re away?  First, trust your own experience when deciding what steps to take in preparing the bubbler for an absence.  To help in that process, here are a few ideas based on our experience and feedback from those with both pondless and pond type bubblers.

 

 

Fall / Winter

My usual recommendation is to leave the system ON.  Make sure the filter is clean, the reservoir is topped up and the heater is functioning properly.  As long as the water level remains above the top of the filter/pump, water should circulate.  The birds will appreciate having the “bubble” of water even if the usual water puddles aren’t there because the water level gets a little low.

 

If you decide to turn the pump and heater OFF, cover the bubbler with a tarp or heavy plastic sheet to limit evaporation and keep out debris.  Be sure to secure the edges of the tarp to prevent it blowing off.  Unless temperatures fall into the single digits (ºF) for several days, there is little chance of thick ice forming.  As long as the bubbler reservoir is a foot or more deep into the ground, residual heat in the soil will keep the deeper water liquid, and this is most likely where your pump is located.

 

The heater could be left ON with the pump OFF, but probably isn’t necessary.  If the heater is left ON, be sure there is no possibility of the heater going “dry” (no water around the heater); pond/trough heaters are designed to work either floating on or submerged in water.  

 

Spring / Summer

Evaporation is probably the main consideration during warmer weather.  There are so many variables that affect evaporation it’s difficult to make specific recommendations.  Any UL listed pump is thermally protected, so even if it runs dry, it will not burn up (that’s not to say it will still function properly, just that it won’t cause a fire or electrical hazard).  An “auto-filler” is one option if evaporation is a concern (search on-line for “pond auto-filler” and any number of options come up).  If it’s not obvious, these do require a connection to a water source.  And, of course, if you have a neighbor willing to look in occasionally and top-up the bubbler when necessary, that’s always a nice solution.

 

Please check back on Sunday, 1/12/20 for the first of January's highlights!

 


 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2020/1/7/December/trip/recap/bubbler/winter/maintenance/update Wed, 08 Jan 2020 02:26:32 GMT
12-31-19 Farewell to the decade and 2019! https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2019/12/12-31-19-farewell-to-the-decade-and-2019 As we look back on this year, we are grateful for all we've been able to do and to witness here in

our conservation garden, Shady Oaks Sanctuary.

2019 Highlights

 

JANUARY... brought winter species that we don't get to see every year. The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a special 'irruptive species' and we had them around for months.Their little 'tin horn' or 'yank-yank' song is charming. Red-breasted Nuthatch sounds

 

Red-breasted Nuthatch 1-11-19Red-breasted Nuthatch 1-11-19

 

Rusty Blackbirds first arrived during 'Snowmaggedon' on 1/12 and were here for the Great Backyard Bird Count. They are a species of high conservation concern and we're always glad to see them find what they need here. 

 

FOY #30 Rusty Blackbird 1-12-19FOY #30 Rusty Blackbird 1-12-19

 

FEBRUARY... A family of Eastern Bluebirds brightened Valentine's Day.
 

Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19Eastern Bluebird 2-14-19

 

MARCH... Eastern Phoebes arrived on the Ides of March and raised two broods in their nest under the gazebo.

 

Eastern Phoebe feeds fledglings 5-23-19Eastern Phoebe feeds fledglings 5-23-19

 

By the end of March, a Louisiana Waterthrush and Yellow-throated Warbler had been seen, bringing the warbler count to four.

 

FOY Louisiana Waterthrush 3-29-19FOY Louisiana Waterthrush 3-29-19 FOY Yellow-throated Warbler 3-30-19FOY Yellow-throated Warbler 3-30-19  

 

APRIL... brought both kinglets, gnatcatchers and more warblers. The first Northern Parula was seen on 4/16. These beautiful, tiny warblers are so intensely marked! By fall, three at a time were in the dripper baths. 

 

FOY #61 Northern Parula 4-16-19FOY #61 Northern Parula 4-16-19


For the first time in many years, the exquisite song of the Wood Thrush was often heard in our sanctuary. What a thrill to host this bird that is of high conservation concern. Listen to the lovely flute-like song that has inspired poets:  Wood Thrush

 

Wood Thrush 5-7-19Wood Thrush 5-7-19

 

MAY... brought in many warblers, bringing the warbler count to 28. It's always a thrill when a Blackburnian Warbler graces us with its presence. How appropriate is its nickname, the 'fire-throat'.

 

Blackburnian Warbler 5-13-19Blackburnian Warbler 5-13-19
 

A female Hooded Warbler also stopped in near the bubbler. We had not seen one since 2012.

 

Hooded Warbler female 5-8-19Hooded Warbler female 5-8-19
 

A Golden-winged Warbler found sustenance in Leaf-tier moth caterpillars on the smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) behind the bubbler. (Always a good idea to have native shrubs around a water feature to observe this kind of behavior!)

 

Golden-winged Warbler 5-10-19Golden-winged Warbler 5-10-19

 

JUNE... was busy with parents raising youngsters, like this Tufted Titmouse. Native habitat works, feeding baby birds!

 

Tufted Titmouse brings insect to fledgling 6-13-19Tufted Titmouse brings insect to fledgling 6-13-19

 

JULY... Ruby-throated Hummingbirds found lots of nectar to feed on at plants like the Cardinal flower(Lobelia cardinalis).

 

7-30-19 Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis)7-30-19 Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis)

 

AUGUST... Barred Owls were seen on several days, often being harassed by squirrels!

 

8-5-19 Barred Owl8-5-19 Barred Owl

 

SEPTEMBER... Fall migrants had begun to arrive and on 9/1, a female Mourning Warbler #114 for the year, popped up in the smooth hydrangeas, finding insects. This skulking warbler is not easy to see for it likes to stay in cover. Another was found in the garden on 9/26. 

 

9-1-19 FOY #114  Mourning Warbler female with insect9-1-19 FOY #114 Mourning Warbler female with insect

 

However, perhaps the finest surprise was yet in store. The rarer hybrid of the Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers, this female Lawrence's Warbler came in with a mixed flock on 9/4. 

  9-4-19 Hybrid- female Lawrence's Warbler9-4-19 Hybrid- female Lawrence's Warbler

 

One of the busiest days of fall was 9/26, when there was a major fallout of birds. Six different species of warblers were at the bubbler at the same time. From left, Nashville in the background, Bay-breasted, Tennessee (4), Northern Parula and Chestnut-sided with two American Redstarts in the foreground. 

 

9-26-19 Six Warbler species9-26-19 Six Warbler species
 

Then, the birds moved to the east side and they were going crazy over the dripper baths! A Black-and-white Warbler looked on as two Tennessee Warblers flanked the sides of a Northern Parula. It was a memorable day for fall migration here. (Drippers are an easy way to add water to your native garden!)

 

9-26-19 Black-and-white, Tennessee Warblers and Northern Parula, middle9-26-19 Black-and-white, Tennessee Warblers and Northern Parula, middle

 

OCTOBER... Nature doesn't always reveal its secrets. However, this Orange-crowned Warbler gave us a glimpse of its hidden glory.

 

10-15-19 Orange-crowned Warbler10-15-19 Orange-crowned Warbler

 

A tiny Winter Wren was #117 for the year. It arrived on 10/19 and stayed around for nine days. Too dang cute!

 

10-20-19 Winter Wren10-20-19 Winter Wren

 

NOVEMBER... A family of Cedar Waxwings came to the bubbler for species #80 there this year on 11/10. 

 

11-10-19 Cedar Waxwings11-10-19 Cedar Waxwings

 

DECEMBER... We had a last minute surprise today, New Year's Eve. A "cluster" of Red-winged Blackbirds came in for species #118 for the year! These are a female and first year male, there were also six males that stayed in the wetland area feeding or resting in the trees.

 

12-31-19 FOY #118 Red-winged Blackbirds12-31-19 FOY #118 Red-winged Blackbirds

 

Now the winter visitors like this Dark-eyed Junco and usual suspects will keep us company as the days lengthen again. We have gained 2 minutes since the Winter Solstice. Can you tell?

 

12-10-19 Dark-eyed Junco12-10-19 Dark-eyed Junco

 

We hope YOUR year was as good in all respects as ours has been. We've had our highest bird count yet, which inspires us to plant more natives, and encourage others with shared information, programs and tours. The birds need all of us, so do the bees, pollinators and other creatures! 

 

2019 Bird List

118 Species

29 Warbler Species plus 1 Hybrid

 80 species at the Water Features

 

Look for information in an upcoming January post regarding the St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour held in June.

There will be TEN native gardens to visit, ours will be one of them! Register early, as tickets will be limited.

 

If you'd like to be added to our 'Bird of the Day' email list, use the contact page and send us an email.

Hummer Haven Contact Page

You'll receive an email from us every 7-10 days with the link to the latest blog post. 

 

HAPPY 2020!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2019/12/12-31-19-farewell-to-the-decade-and-2019 Wed, 01 Jan 2020 04:02:29 GMT
Merry Christmas! 12-25-19 https://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2019/12/merry-christmas-12-25-19  

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

12-25-19 Christmas Sunrise12-25-19 Christmas Sunrise

 

What a beautiful sunrise on this peaceful, Christmas morning!

 

It's time to share our sightings of birds and critters since the last post. American Robins have been showing up on warmer days to use the Bubbler. On the 10th, birds of different sizes came in looking for food, including a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Dark-eyed Junco.

 

American Robins 12-6-19American Robins 12-6-19 12-10-19 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, female12-10-19 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, female 12-10-19 Dark-eyed Junco12-10-19 Dark-eyed Junco

 

American Goldfinches were busy at the seed feeders and American Crows were checking the trees for bark butter.

 

12-10-19 American Goldfinches12-10-19 American Goldfinches 12-10-19 American Crow12-10-19 American Crow

 

We were very excited to find this clip on our Bubbler Cam the evening of Friday, December 13th. A beautiful, healthy fox was here!

 

12-13-19 Fox getting a drink

 

We took an opportunity to become snowbirds and flew south to enjoy being with dear friends, have some beach walks and look for an alternate set of 'backyard birds'! We missed the snowstorm at home, but not the Snowy Egrets, Brown Pelicans and Sanderlings on the beach. 

 

12-14-19 Sanddollar Beach12-14-19 Sanddollar Beach