New first of the year birds as of 4-10-16

April 10, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Things are picking up.  Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are still coming in.  A female was working this young oak and found a tiny insect.

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female with insect 4/5/16Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female with insect 4/5/16

 

The holes she drilled were pretty obvious.

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female drilling holes 4/5/16Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female drilling holes 4/5/16

 

A female Northern Flicker looked in the base of this Little Bluestem (Schizacrium scoparium) for a meal on Wednesday.

 

Northern Flicker looking in Little Bluestem 4-6-16Northern Flicker looking in Little Bluestem 4-6-16

 

As I scanned the garden, I realized there were several Chipping Sparrows there and in the natural lawn path, new arrivals for the year.

 

Chipping Sparrow 4-6-16Chipping Sparrow 4-6-16

 

About a month ago, we had cut up the two Christmas trees by the feeder and made a small brush pile.  The White-throated Sparrows have been taking cover in there.  I had seen three other sparrows foraging in the muddy area nearby.  They have white throats, too.  They are coming into their breeding plumage and not quite so dingy now.  But, every time I've tried to get a photo of one, they would skedaddle into the cover of the brush pile.  

A cold front came in late Friday night and the temperature dropped to 28.3 degrees.  Saturday morning, a brave sapsucker decided to take the plunge once it got up to 36 degrees.

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4-9-16Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4-9-16 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4-9-16Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4-9-16 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4-9-16Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4-9-16

 

BRRR...

It was still cold and those sparrows were still hiding out in the brush pile, only coming out occasionally to feed.  There must have been a bit of warmth in there from the sun.

 

Swamp Sparrow in the brush pile 4-9-16Swamp Sparrow in the brush pile 4-9-16

 

I had scattered some freeze-dried mealworms in a few places to help the birds get through the cold spell.  Sunday morning, one of the takers in Groucho Marx style was that mysterious little bird, a Swamp Sparrow.  

 

Swamp Sparrow 4-10-16Swamp Sparrow 4-10-16 Swamp Sparrow 4-10-16Swamp Sparrow 4-10-16

 

They are a pretty little bird and as the guidebooks say, "somewhat shy."  

 

Swamp Sparrow 4-10-16Swamp Sparrow 4-10-16

 

Another "somewhat shy" creature is the Hermit Thrush.  This bird is another first for the year.  I haven't seen one since October, although in some years, I've seen them more often through the winter.  

 

Hermit Thrush 4-10-16Hermit Thrush 4-10-16

 

Its breast is quite marked and does aid in its camouflage.

 

Hermit Thrush 4-10-16Hermit Thrush 4-10-16

 

The distinctive behavior that says this is a Hermit Thrush is the way it raises, then slowly lowers its rusty tail. 

 

Hermit Thrush 4-10-16Hermit Thrush 4-10-16

 

Finally, a White-throated Sparrow popped out onto this limb, surrounded by Mayapples, Virginia Bluebells and the opening leaves of native Hydrangeas.  The white-throats will be around for a while before they fly on to Canada to breed.  Next week looks like there will be a warming trend and winds from the southeast may bring in more migrants.

 

White-throated Sparrow 4-10-16White-throated Sparrow 4-10-16


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