A bit later the second Grosbeak flew up the the feeder on the railing. They were chomping through the oiler shells like tin snips on butter! The last time I saw Evening Grosbeaks was a few years ago with Ruthie in the Sax-Zim bog. They used to be so common when I was a girl. I remember enormous flocks of them descending on my Dad's feeders, cleaning them out in very little time. I hope they come back again. THAT was amazing.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I Made a Little Bird Wish
Art and I made a day trip up to Hasty Brook on Sunday to do some drywall mudding (Art) and birding (me!). It was a cloudy, overcast day but I was really wishing to see my First Of Year Turkey Vulture. When I went out on the balcony to fill the feeders, I noticed that the thistle socks were still about one fourth full. I assumed that my Redpolls had left for their northern home but later a handful of the pretty winter finches attacked the thistle.
I watched the regular visitors on the feeders and mentioned to Art that I would really love to see an Evening Grosbeak in the yard. Over the winter, our good neighbor Mark had mentioned that another neighbor had had Evening Grosbeaks visiting his feeders. I had meant to stop there for a look but never got around to it. Was it too much to wish to add Evening Grosbeaks to my Hasty Brook yardlist?
They came! I was sitting by the patio door with my bins, scanning the trees when I saw two larger birds across the creek. One flew to the maple on our side of the rushing creek and I didn't need binoculars any more to know that Evening Grosbeaks were at my Hasty Brook!
My jaw dropped and I begged Art to grab my camera. I was so close to the bird (5 feet) and didn't want to move and scare it off. Just look at those wings!
While the huge numbers of Redpolls were gone north, the trees were full of gorgeous Purple Finches.
At one point there were ten on the railing, ten on the feeders, and at least another forty in the trees nearby. Against the gloomy sky, these finches looked like they'd been dipped in raspberry jello. Lovely color, lovely song.
I took a walk toward the creek. The creek was running higher than we'd ever seen it. That sound was what had drawn me to the place the first time we looked at the land. I watched from the top of the hill overlooking the creek and saw the ground below was hopping with Juncos and Fox Sparrows. Movement in the treetops caught my eyes. It seemed early, but I was pretty sure it was a pair of Yellow-rumped warblers! I fired off a bunch of shots, but the sky was so gray, it was impossible to tell much about the birds in the photos. I didn't have any way to edit the photos with me. Rats.
Later, as I was trying to get a few last photos of the Redpolls in the maple, this little guy popped up, right at eye level, nicely exposed----
Yellow-rumped Warbler! How odd to see both a summer warbler and a winter bird like a Redpoll sitting in the same tree. I've always known Hasty Brook was a special place.
It was nearing time to and still no Turkey Vultures so walked up the clearing to our mound by the road and looked up and down the road. To the south- two Turkey Vultures flying right up the road toward me! They flew right over my head, tipping their wings in greeting and floated off. Coming from the north, a Bald Eagle. I stood, counting my blessings and heard the yodeling calls of Sandhill Cranes. I suspected they were gathering in the field a half mile to the west of us. Glancing up, I was thrilled to see two of them flying toward that field.
What a wonderful day, but it was time to go. bad weather was coming from the south so we packed up and left. While stopped for pop in the next town I watched 20+ Turkey Vultures riding the south wind ahead of the storm. about 20 miles later Art spotted a kettle of TUVUs tipping in the wind. I pulled the car over and we got out to watch AT LEAST another 70 Turkey Vultures float low in the bumpy wind, headed north.
People thought we were nuts.
I was happy.
I had an amazing yard list for a cold, gloomy day in April.