A male Townsend's Warbler stops in for a bite of suet
This Ruby-crowned Kinglet has been busy foraging for insects in the neighborhood
Our other regular winter warbler, the Townsend's (shown above), has also been visiting semi-regularly. Townsend's Warblers are far less numerous than Yellow-rumps at this time of the year and are far from a lock to visit suet and peanut feeders regularly throughout the winter. At this point, I'm seeing at least one a day foraging in a mixed flock, with Bushtits, kinglets, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. One will occasionally come to a feeder. It'll be interesting to see how things shake out as winter progresses.
Kinglets tend to exhibit major movements into the Willamette Valley in mid- and late-November, and this year was no exception. Golden-crowned Kinglets tend to move through and settle in rural areas, while many Ruby-crowned Kinglets (shown above) settle in urban/suburban areas, where they forage for small insects/spiders and take suet from feeders. Ruby-crowned Kinglets haven't yet visited my suet feeders, but have been observed foraging for insects in the area multiple times per day for the past couple of weeks. Golden-crowned Kinglets tend to move through quickly over the course of a week, and that's pretty much what happened last weekend. Surprisingly, I managed to count at least three (possibly more) foraging in my neighbor's yard last weekend. Golden-crowned Kinglets are constantly moving and are a nightmare to photograph, so I don't have any photos to share. :(
A really poor photo of the first Varied Thrush of the winter season
Other winter visitors observed recently include a Golden-crowned Sparrow, a Song Sparrow, two Spotted Towhees, a Pacific Wren, and a single Varied Thrush. (We may see more Varied Thrushes over the next month or two.) Large flocks of Cedar Waxwings roamed the neighborhood for the last half of November. The White-throated Sparrow reported in the last post is still hanging around.
Other species that have been conspicuously absent include Red-breasted Nuthatches and Downy Woodpeckers. Red-breasted Nuthatches were regulars in the late summer and early fall, but the locals are apparently wintering elsewhere for some reason. I'm also at a loss to explain the lack of Downy Woodpeckers. The surrounding neighborhood is more than adequate habitat for them. Northern Flickers have been conspicuously loud around the neighborhood for at least a month now, but have only been occasional visitors to the suet feeder. I am hopeful that all three species will represent in larger numbers over the next few months.
A confused Northern Flicker wonders where the old, easy-to-use feeder went...
... but doesn't take long to adapt to this one. They're very intelligent birds.
At this point, our most frequent visitor is the Dark-eyed Junco. Small flocks (6-12) are common throughout the day. Coming in a close second are Anna's Hummingbirds, with at least three individuals being a near-constant presence. Flocks of 5-10 American Crows pick through our piles of yard waste for black walnuts.
A female Anna's Hummingbird guards the nectar feeder from a nearby shrub
One of the many Dark-eyed Juncos that regularly visit the yard
Well, that's about it for now. The past few weeks have been great, but I hope to have some winter finches, woodpeckers, and nuthatches to report later this month. Until then, have a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!