Sightings and a Snow Day!! 1-28-23

January 28, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Rarities, a Snowstorm and Lots of Birds!


Varied Thrush documentation drawing 1/23/03 for 10th Missouri RecordVaried Thrush documentation drawing 1/23/03 for 10th Missouri Record


Twenty years ago this week, a Varied Thrush came to the Bubbler on a frigid morning after a 2.5" snowfall. To document this very rare bird, I had to draw it for the Records Committee. It was just the tenth time this species had been documented in Missouri. After the experience, I asked Dan to help me figure out a setup to use so I could photograph birds. Little did I know how that bird would change my life.


10-21-22 First fall Chipping Sparrow10-21-22 First fall Chipping Sparrow

Fast forward to 10-20-21, when a first fall Chipping Sparrow showed up. It was the first time I'd seen a bird of this age and I needed a little help from my friends to be sure of the identification. Typically, these birds move far south for the winter but some do pop up in Missouri after migration.


1-16-23 FOY First Winter Chipping Sparrow - rare1-16-23 FOY First Winter Chipping Sparrow - rare

About three months later, on 1-16-23 again, a first winter Chipping Sparrow was foraging under the feeders. Was it the same bird? It was here for one day.


1-19-23 Hairy Woodpecker1-19-23 Hairy Woodpecker 1-22-23 Hairy Woodpecker female on Black Oak stump1-22-23 Hairy Woodpecker female on Black Oak stump

Woodpeckers have been busy finding food in the woods. The Hairy Woodpecker visited the Bubbler and his mate foraged for beetle larvae on the black oak stump.


1-22-23 Downy Woodpecker1-22-23 Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker poked around on sticks in the leaves for small insects.

1-19-23 One-footed American Robin1-19-23 One-footed American Robin

We've had days with American Robins around and this one was missing its right foot. 

  1-20-23 Red-breasted Nuthatch1-20-23 Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatches continue to eat peanuts or bits of sunflower hearts and cache some away for that day when feeders are too busy!


1-22-23 American Goldfinch1-22-23 American Goldfinch 1-18-23 12 American Goldfinches1-18-23 12 American Goldfinches

Some male American Goldfinches are just beginning to get a bit brighter. Both mesh feeders have been busy.



Sunrise was gorgeous on Tuesday, 1-24-23. The forecast was for a Winter Storm with 3-9" of snow possible, beginning late that evening.


1-24-23 First Winter Chipping Sparrow - rare1-24-23 First Winter Chipping Sparrow - rare

Guess what I saw foraging under the feeders again? That first winter Chipping Sparrow had returned after eight days elsewhere.


The snow was heavy, a wet 3" that packed on top of the little tent we had put over the Grab-n-Go table. The snow-laden branches of the rough-leaf dogwood hung gracefully over the deck railing.

  1-25-23 Blue Jay1-25-23 Blue Jay 1-25-23 Blue Jay1-25-23 Blue Jay

Birds were a bit hesitant to enter the tent, but hunger overcame their fear of the contraption.

  1-25-23 Rusty Blackbird1-25-23 Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbirds came to turn over leaves and drink at the basin.

  1-25-23 Eastern Bluebird female1-25-23 Eastern Bluebird female

Eastern Bluebirds knew the mealworms and peanut butter bits would be ready for them, and they rested in the dogwood during breaks in the snow.

  1-25-23 FOY Song Sparrow1-25-23 FOY Song Sparrow 1-25-23 First Winter Chipping Sparrow - rare Day 21-25-23 First Winter Chipping Sparrow - rare Day 2

The first Song Sparrow of the year joined the Chipping Sparrow under the feeders. Now, for about five minutes of fun...


Snow Day 1-25-23

Were you able to identify the four species in the last segment? How about Rusty Blackbirds, Mourning Dove, Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles. 


1-26-23 36 Red-winged Blackbirds and others1-26-23 36 Red-winged Blackbirds and others

The following day, 1-26-23 a very large flock of mixed blackbirds came in. It was predominantly Red-winged with 40 of them in the photo above, Rusty Blackbirds and Common Grackles.


1-26-23 Ten Red-winged Blackbirds One Rusty Blackbird1-26-23 Ten Red-winged Blackbirds One Rusty Blackbird

More Red-winged Blackbirds and one Rusty which is walking out of the upper left area.


1-27-23 First Winter Chipping Sparrow - rare -4th day1-27-23 First Winter Chipping Sparrow - rare -4th day

Our little friend returned yesterday for the fourth consecutive day. I had just photographed it when the next beauty came in.


1-27-23 FOY #35 Purple Finch1-27-23 FOY #35 Purple Finch

Purple Finch!


What will the next storm bring in?


To look up the Varied Thrush or any bird:  All About Birds





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