Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cold and Clear, Signs of Spring

This morning I birded the neighborhood but I kept to the streets, covering a little over 3 miles. I visited some streets I haven't been on in awhile, including Sherbrook, Springvale, Dalewood, Parkland and Longvale. The morning was cold and clear. It was freezing when I started at about 7:30, and I think it was in the low 50s when I got back home. There were more signs of spring today -- birds were singing quite a bit, including a few American Robins. Several woodpeckers were drumming on power line posts (their version of singing). And many trees are budding. On Stillforest I got this picture of a Red-shouldered Hawk, perched near a nest that they used last spring. I hope they raise another brood there this summer.

On Meadowheath I came across a large tree full of newly produced seeds and full of American Goldfinches eating them. I estimated that there were 80 birds in 2 or 3 trees in the same immediate area. I got this picture of one of them eating seeds.

Redbuds are exploding with color and I got this picture of one on Sherbourne.

On Springvale Drive I ran into a nice mixed species foraging flock that had Carolina Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, an Orange-crowned Warbler, and a Pine Warbler, a bird I rarely see in the neighborhood. I got this picture of the Pine Warbler. It's not that good, but it's the best I've gotten of this species so far.

Some other notable birds this morning were a Cooper's Hawk, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, and the first Common Grackles I've seen in the neighborhood this year. (They seem to disappear from the neighborhood for a month or 2 in the winter.) Another first for the year was a single male Purple Martin. I heard its gurgling song and found it flying in the sky almost directly over my house.

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