Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Moving On...

It seems like just yesterday that we shut down operations at our previous residence and moved into our current home. But after a little more than a year and a half, we're on the move again. The combination of (partially) deflated housing prices, low interest rates, impending inflation, and our general desire for a larger home convinced us to buy a larger place. It's bittersweet, as I've recorded 60 species in the yard over this relatively short period of time. These have included a rare vagrant American Redstart, a couple of very unusual migrants (Calliope Hummingbird and White-throated Sparrow), numerous unexpected yard migrants (Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, MacGillivray's Warbler, Hammond's Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Lincoln's Sparrow, and Western Tanager), as well as some wintering species that hung around for much longer than expected (Evening Grosbeaks, Varied Thurshes, and Purple Finches). Black-capped Chickadees raised broods in our nesting box in each of the past two Springs. Birding here has been a tremendous success. While I'll be sad as I take down feeders this weekend, I look forward to setting them up at our new place on Monday morning.

So this is my last post regarding this yard. Thankfully, even in the dog days of summer, there has been ample activity.

After being semi-absent from the yard in June, hummingbirds have returned big-time. Anna's Hummers (shown above) have been visiting the nectar feeder multiple times throughout the day. Fledgling hummingbirds have also been visible. Last week, I spotted a fledgling Rufous Hummingbird begging/nagging its mother for food. That was a first for the yard. Male Rufous Hummers have presumably already headed south, as I have not seen one for some time.

A fledgling Rufous Hummingbird begs Mommy for some grub

This adult female Rufous Hummingbird appears to enjoy the mid-July rain

There has been a surprisingly-good showing of hatch-year birds in the yard this summer, much more so than I remember before. Last week, a juvenile Spotted Towhee was seen scratching around the bushes for food. Fledgling Scrub-Jays and House Finches have been all over the yard this month. Lesser-seen juveniles, such as Lesser Goldfinches and Red-winged Blackbirds have also been conspicuous as of late. Interestingly, a juvenile Northern Flicker also stopped by recently. This was a mix-raced "intergrade" between the Red- and Yellow-shafted subspecies. These individuals are typically more prevalent in the winter, but perhaps a wintering pair decided to nest locally.

A clueless-looking fledgling Red x Yellow-shafted Flicker stops in for... uh... something.

The red mark on the nape shows that this individual is mixed-race

This hatch-year Spotted Towhee scratches around for hidden seed

A hatch-year Western Scrub-Jay raids the peanut feeder, taking as much as possible

Some of the summer usuals have also been hanging around, including Black-capped Chickadees, Bushtits, American Goldfinches, House Sparrows, Starlings (barf!), and a few Brewer's Blackbirds here and there.

Well, that's about it for now. My next report will be next month from our new residence. I hope that there is some yard activity to discuss by then!


cerulean said...


I just posted to obol about some rufous hummer begging behavior - I wonder if it is the same behavior that you observed?


BJG said...


I read your post and am sorry to hear about that hummer. I have never seen the prolonged head-bobbing that you described. Fortunately, the fledgling that I photographed last month was (apparently) healthy.