We are currently hosting this uncommon migrant White-throated Sparrow.
One of our more interesting visitors has been a beautiful white-striped morph White-throated Sparrow (above). This individual, first observed yesterday morning, was a pleasant surprise, as they are rather uncommon winter migrants. (The last one that we hosted was two years ago, at our previous residence.) White-throated Sparrows tend to congregate on the coast, so this one may not hang around much longer than a week or so. At least one Song Sparrow has also been infrequently feeding in the yard. Song Sparrows are year-round residents here, but are only regulars in urban areas from the late fall through the early spring.
Our two species of wintering warblers, the Townsend's and Yellow-rumped, have also been frequenting the yard for at least a week. Neither are taking suet right now, indicating that insects are still in ample supply.
A male Townsend's Warbler, apparently tired of consuming bugs, darts off with a peanut.
This Yellow-rumped Warbler forages for insects in the neighbor's apple tree.
Our other regulars at this time include Dark-eyed Juncos (of course), Black-capped Chickadees, Bushtits, Scrub-Jays and Crows, who are devouring the walnuts that have fallen from our tree in the front yard. Interestingly, Chestnut-backed Chickadees are semi-regular at this point. Expected species that have not been showing up yet include Red-breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers, and Northern Flickers. I hope to see them soon.
A small flock of Lesser Goldfinches feed on hulled sunflower seed.
A female Anna's Hummingbird guards the nectar feeder from a nearby bush.
We were pleasantly surprised to see our first Cooper's Hawk of the new house last Saturday, a small-ish male. Interestingly, he showed up at the end of the afternoon, after the vast majority of birds had already left. Raptors are majestic and I can never get enough of them. We also appear to have a regular Western Gray Squirrel. This individual has been hanging around for the past few weeks and doesn't appear to be going anywhere. As much as I dislike squirrels eating seed that I put out for birds, it's always nice to see a Western Gray Squirrel thrive in an area where the more numerous Fox Squirrels have driven most of them out.
A male Cooper's Hawk searches for a meal in the rain.
Our resident Western Gray Squirrel feeds on an apple from the neighbor's tree.
Well, that's about it for now. I hope to see some more wintering sparrows and perhaps a small flock of Pine Siskins in the next month or so. Until then...