All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Farmington Bay Feb. 20 and 21 seemed more like the middle of March

I spent several hours Friday and today at Farmington Bay doing Cub Scout workshops and it looked more like the middle of March than February out there.Both days we saw:

American White Pelicans in large numbers hundred plus

Tundra Swans

Bald Eagles

Northern Harriers

Northern Rough-legged Hawk

American Kestrels

Red-tailed hawk

Great Blue Herons (This morning on the Rookery north of the Nature Center)

Song Sparrows

White-crowned Sparrows

Red-winged Blackbirds

Northern Pintails

Ruddy Duck

Northern Shovelers


Green-wing Teal

Canada Goose

Pied Billed Grebe

American Coot

Ring-billed Gull

California Gull

Glaucous Gull

Herring Gull

Ring-necked Pheasant

Western Meadow Lark

American Avocet

Why I said it seemed like March, I always drive through with my windows down so I can listen as well as look and this morning the Song Sparrows, Red-wing Blackbirds and Meadow Larks were singing their hearts out and this is the earliest I have seen American Avocets out there. Usually my first sighting each year is on Swan Day the second weekend of March.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Very Friendly Pine Siskin

This little guy stayed around when I went out to fill my bird feeders this evening so I walked closer and closer to him, he still didn't fly off so I stuck my finger out and touched him on the bumb. He stepped back and stood on my finger for about 7 or 8 seconds then flew off but came right back. I ran in side and got my camera and had my son in-law Dave take some pictures, here are a couple. He actually stood on my finger four different times then I left him alone to finish eating.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I posted yesterday that I am having Pine Siskins at my feeders this year, well that was an understatement they are showing up by the dozens. The Pine Siskins the last couple of days have out numbered the American Goldfinches. This may not seem like much but for my yard it is a real difference. In past years I have been lucky to see 5 or 6 Pine Siskins at a time and not day after day. Watching them today I noticed that as they defended their spot at the feeders they flashed their wings showing off their brilliant yellow coloration that is usually not that visable. It was quite interseting to me to watch their behavior and to see them in all their glory. Here are some pictures of them showing their colors.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Winter Finches

In the winter I put up my Nyger feeders to attract the small finches. It seems to vary from year to year what finches will show up. American Goldfinches can always be counted on but Pine Siskins and Lesser Goldfinches are not as predictable. Four years ago I had a lot of Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches but I had never seen a Lesser Goldfinch. The next winter and I didn't see any Pine Siskins but I had Lesser Goldfinches from January until June along with American Goldfinches. Last year I only had American Gold Finches no Lessers or Pine Siskins. This year so far I have the reliable American Gold finches and the Pine Siskins are back but no sign of Lesser Goldfinches. In addition I have had more Spotted Towhees this year than ever before. Here are some pictures of the Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February's Bird of the Month The Cedar Waxwing

The Cedar Waxwing is one of the most frugivorous birds in North America. Many aspects of its life, from its nomadic habits to its late breeding season, may be traced to its dependence upon fruit.

Medium-sized songbird.
Gray-brown overall.
Crest on top of head.
Black mask edged in white.
Yellow tip to tail; may be orange.
Size: 14-17 cm (6-7 in)
Wingspan: 22-30 cm (9-12 in)
Weight: 32 g (1.13 ounces)
Sex Differences
Sexes nearly alike.
Calls are very high pitched "bzeee" notes.

Conservation Status
Populations increasing throughout range. Other Names
Cool Facts:
The name "waxwing" comes from the waxy red appendages found in variable numbers on the tips of the secondaries of some birds. The exact function of these tips is not known, but they may serve a signaling function in mate selection.
Cedar Waxwings with orange instead of yellow tail tips began appearing in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada beginning in the 1960s. The orange color is the result of a red pigment picked up from the berries of an introduced species of honeysuckle. If a waxwing eats the berries while it is growing a tail feather, the tip of the feather will be orange.
The Cedar Waxwing is one of the few temperate dwelling birds that specializes in eating fruit. It can survive on fruit alone for several months. Unlike many birds that regurgitate seeds from fruit they eat, the Cedar Waxwing defecates fruit seeds.
The Cedar Waxwing is vulnerable to alcohol intoxication and death after eating fermented fruit.