Saturday, January 17, 2009

Not the Most Exciting Winter

I was hoping that things would really pick up beginning this month, but no dice. Granted, it hasn't been a "bad' winter by any stretch of the imagination. I've seen MUCH worse. But, in comparison to the past two years (and especially last year), it's been somewhat of a disappointment.

Perhaps the best thing about this month was the return of the Townsend's Warblers (above). They've been semi-regulars here for the past two weeks and I can't tell you how happy I am about that. Their bright yellow plumage and lively mannerisms are a real pick-me-up on a typical dreary, overcast, foggy Oregon winter day. I'm still disappointed about the lack of Varied Thrushes, but Townsend's really help make up for it. I'd say that they're my favorite yard birds. Thankfully, we've also been blessed with a few "loyal" Yellow-rumped Warblers (at least two Myrtle and one Audubon's subspecies). The Myrtles are here ALL of the time - literally from dawn 'til dusk. I can hear their "chipping" calls outside as I type this. I suspect that we'll see another wave of Audubon's as April approaches. Downy Woodpeckers (below) and Northern Flickers have also been in abundance recently. And Ruby-crowned Kinglets have been foraging through the pines along our driveway over the past couple of weeks. But, strangely, they've been avoiding our suet feeders. I'm not sure why.

While our "Finch Famine" is essentially over, finches in general have been sparse. I tend to not see more than three to five Goldfinches Lesser or American Goldfinches at a time. House Finches are also not showing up daily, as they usually do. The lone Pine Siskin that was at my thistle feeder the other day was the first I've seen this month. I also haven't seen the neighborhood Song Sparrow for a couple of weeks, and the Golden-crowned Sparrow from December appears to be long gone. Sigh...

Anyway, here's hoping that the rest of the winter brings us a little more excitement.

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