Interesting winter species continue to reside here in our sanctuary.
Note: Changing up the format and captions will now be underneath the photos.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Northern Flickers are at the bubbler to drink and bathe often. That wet mop is a male, followed by the female.
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.
Here the Red-bellied Woodpecker actually showed us its named-for belly, then its striking back detail.
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.
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!