It's been a while since my last post. The transition to my new computer was seamless, but I managed to come down with a really bad cold shortly afterwards. I think that I'm finally beginning to come out of it. And, thankfully, I have a little to talk about since the last installment.
The "Finch Famine" of 2008 is dead and gone. Double-digit American Goldfinches have been observed over the past few weeks, and 17 Pine Siskins were counted here this morning. Lesser Goldfinches (above) and House Finches (below) have also been representing in moderate numbers. There have been reports of Purple Finches around town, but so far none here.
One of the more interesting observations of the past few weeks is the fact that many American Goldfinches seem to be rather far into their molt for this time of the year. I noticed definite molting around their napes a few weeks ago. I thought that this seemed a little early, but shrugged it off. Then, I saw this guy today feeding with a flock of Pine Siskins...
and have to say that this seems REALLY early for an AMGO being well over halfway into full breeding plumage. This guy appears to be at least a month ahead of what I'd normally expect. But that's nature for you: full of surprises.
In other news, our first Sharp-shinned Hawk of the calendar year made an appearance last Saturday. Unfortunately, it didn't stick around long enough for a photo op. Later that morning, the first male Northern Flicker in almost a year (below) made an appearance. I don't know why, but we've hosted nothing but females and fledglings for almost a full year now. My last documented photo of a male was last March. While Townsend's Warblers seem to be avoiding our yard this winter, our two common winter Thrushes (Robins and Varied Thrushes) have been making appearances recently. Heck, I even saw a House Sparrow this morning, a somewhat unusual species for this neck of the woods.
A male Northern Flicker probes the pine trees for insects.
A male House Sparrow briefly stops by. Tell your friends that there's no food here!
Well, that's about it for now. Tomorrow is the beginning of March, which is pretty much the beginning of Spring migration. Activity should pick up soon...