For a couple hours this morning I birded a few streets of the neighborhood. What a difference a day makes! Yesterday was overcast, humid, and cold. Today is clear and sunny and it felt much better being outside. I only found 22 species since I didn't cover all the different kinds of habitat along the creek. But it was still nice seeing a variety of year-round and winter-resident birds in our trees. I got this picture of a Blue-headed Vireo on Sherbourne. I've taken lots of photos of this species. Even though these birds are harder to find than, say, Ruby-crowned Kinglets or Carolina Chickadees, the Blue-headed Vireos seem to be a little tamer, slower, and easier to photograph when I do find one. And they're so pretty I can never resist taking more pictures of them.
Since I've lived here I've always seen a few Brown Creepers in the neighborhood in the winter. These inconspicuous birds shuffle up and down tree trunks like woodpeckers, but they have a delicate curved bill that they use to forage for bugs in cracks in the bark. They also look very much like tree bark, so they are easy to miss. But I had not seen one yet this winter, so this bird has been on my mind for the last month or so when I've been out. On my way back, about half a block from my house I heard a long high-pitched call and backtracked a bit to figure out where it came from. I spotted some movement on a tree trunk and sure enough, it was a Brown Creeper! I got this picture of it. You can see how good its camouflage is, and how it's long stiff tail acts as a brace against the tree.
Has anyone seen Cedar Waxwings around lately? They are usually common this time of year but after seeing a few back in November and early December, I've missed them in the neighborhood.