First Robin this Year!

Another visit to Chichester and more evidence Spring is on the way …

First Robin of the year

There were also 4 Bufflehead males and a female floating in the Sumac pond. Two of the males were vying for pairing rights with the female and their antics were quite humourous to watch. She’s playing hard to get, though, and paid them no attention while they scooted and flapped and strutted their stuff.

Male Bufflehead showing off

Two male Buffleheads competing for a female

Bufflehead Ducks - she hasn't made a choice yet :D

Spring is Springing!

The Red-winged Blackbirds are showing up again – must mean Spring is on its way!

I stopped in at Chichester today and a male was yelling his head off from the bullrushes. I haven’t seen one there for a few months.

First RWBB at Chichester in 2010!

I am soooo ready for Spring!

The List Grows to 112

At Chichester today I added to my Bird List. The list I keep is a little different from most birders’ lists in that my species only count if I have photographed them.  Some birders keep Life Lists, some Yearly Lists and some Monthly Lists – or all three. While I may see them and identify them, or hear them but not see them, they don’t count until I get a picture of them and add them to My Bird List. Simple, eh?

It is always exciting when I can add to my list.

I have five new birds to add today, plus new pictures of some already on my list.

Here’s the new ones:


common yellowthroat-2009-10-06-DSC_8145

common yellowthroat-2009-10-06-DSC_8147

common yellowthroat-2009-10-06-DSC_8158

common yellowthroat--10-06-DSC_8159


Ruby Kinglet-2009-10-06-DSC_8106

Ruby Kinglet-2009-10-06-DSC_8638

Ruby Kinglet-2009-10-06-DSC_8644

Ruby Kinglet-2009-10-06-DSC_8676

Ruby Kinglet-2009-10-06-DSC_8679


Rock Pigeon-2009-10-06-DSC_8349

Rock Pigeon-2009-10-06-DSC_8353

Rock Pigeon-2009-10-06-DSC_8365





I already had a Male Downy Woodpecker on my list from last winter when one visited my suet feeder but I got this new one today, too …










Among the other birds I saw and photographed today, but which were already on my list, were Black-billed Magpies, Yellow-rumped Warblers,  Song and House Sparrows, dozens of Mallard Ducks, Northern Flickers, Gulls, Oregon Juncos (the first I have seen since the spring so winter is coming :( ), …

… and this scene from “The Birds” …




A Downy Day

A new bird turned up at my feeders today – a Downy Woodpecker!!! This now makes 53 different birds I have photographed – almost all of them at my feeders or in my yard and the orchard!!!

I am amazed they are so tiny!!!

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker


Well, I was pretty excited yesterday, eh???

You shoulda seen me today!!!

I was innocently sitting here in front of my computer, minding my own business, and keeping one eye on the window watching for the owl that came yesterday … (camera was ready this time, but the window still isn’t clean )

All of a sudden all my little sparrows and finches panicked and scattered!!!

So, up I jumped to have a look …

And LOOK who was out there – chasing my little birdies!

An immature Cooper’s Hawk …

(greatly cropped and shot through that dirty window)

When I first jumped up I saw him smash into a bunch of pallets I had leaning up against the outside wall of my woodshed – chasing after the little songbirds. Then he bounced up and sat there looking all around – he may have been a bit stunned cause I managed to get 6 shots of him.

Then I cursed the dirty window and went outside (tripped over the dawg again, too) to see if I could get a better shot.

Some little birdies were hiding in my wood box by my door and they flew out when I opened the door – and that hawk was after them like a shot! He flew right between the two buildings – and about 10 feet from where I was!

I felt sooo awful – but I didn’t see him catch one, so hopefully they are all okay. I could hear him cussing me from a tree at the neighbour’s so maybe he didn’t get any lunch today.

So OT and I sat on the Net for a while trying to decide what he is – and dithered between an immature Sharp-Shinned Hawk and an immature Cooper’s Hawk – we finally decided he’s a Cooper’s.

It took a long, long time before my little birdies came out of hiding. I am sure glad I have lots of cover for them here.

Hope you enjoy him!

A Noisy Little Fella

I’ve been hearing this critter rat-tat-tatting for several days now but couldn’t see where he was. Today I was outside without my camera and I could hear him “knocking” quite close to where I was, so I went into stealth mode and found him. Dashed back inside for the camera (luckily the 70-300mm was on it already) and hoped he would still be there when I got back out again.

I crept around the side of the building and he was still at it, so managed to fire off four shots before he realized “candid camera” was stalking him. He didn’t stick around. Three of my shots were complete duds, but this one was sorta salvageable.

He’s a Northern Flicker – part of the woodpecker family.

Northern Flicker

A Birder’s Paradise

One of the reasons I like living in the orchard is because of all the birds that come to my feeders. I have been a bird watcher for many years and am amazed at how happy they always seem to be. Even when they squabble and fight over who gets to eat, they don’t seem to hold grudges. Too bad people couldn’t learn a few lessons from them!

I get a wide variety of birds here. In the winter it’s mainly California quail, finches, sparrows, robins, chickadees and juncos, with the odd magpie thrown in. I have yet to get a decent picture of a magpie – they are like quicksilver when the camera comes out.

In March, the hummingbirds arrive. We get four varieties of hummers here – Calliope, Anna’s, Rufous and Allen’s. I like the Calliope best because they are the tiniest and yet are such great scappers!

Here’s a few of my bird pics – none of them wonderful, but they make me smile when I look at them …

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Finches …

House finch

Finch pair

Sparrows …


Another Sparrow

Yet Another Sparrow
Northern Flicker …

Northern Flicker

California Quail …

California Quail

And my all-time favourite … the Hummingbirds

Female Rufous 1

Male Rufous 1

In Illinois, we had a wonderful tree right outside our office window. Their state bird is the Red Cardinal and we used to get a breeding pair once in a while in the tree.

This is the best I could get of the Red Cardinal …


We also had Blue Jays in that tree …

Blue Jay

Here’s an American Robin …

American Robin

Okay – that’s enough birds for now. Looking at the ones from Illinois is making me sad. Sure do miss my Sweetie.