Thursday, January 20, 2022

Connecticut feeder birds

During the 18 years we resided in south Florida, I was disappointed if our early morning walks in the Wounded Wetlands provided sightings of less than 20 bird species. Here in inland northern Connecticut, I expected to find about  ten "target" winter resident species. After settling in for a couple of weeks, I put up an iron shepherd's hook and hung a tube feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds and a suet cake. It attracted absolutely no birds until the fourth day (January 13) when a Tufted Titmouse visited.


My photos were of poor quality, as I was shooting through the double-glazed windows of the front door, although I had carefully washed both inside and outside surfaces. 

Almost immediately, there was an explosion of avian visitors. Black-capped Chickadees were next to arrive:


The titmice dominated the feeder, chasing away the chickadees, which flew in and quickly perched just long enough to grasp a single sunflower seed and fly back to a tree to hack open its shell.

I had mixed some white proso millet with the sunflower seeds. The titmice scattered the millet on the ground as they retrieved the black seeds. This was good for the ground-feeding Dark-eyed Juncos, which gathered under the feeder:


They were joined by White-throated Sparrows which scratched with both feet at the same time to expose the fallen millet seeds:

 

A male Northern Cardinal flew in. He attempted to take some of the sunflower seeds, but the perch was too small. He settled for whatever fell to the ground:

He was joined by a demure female cardinal:


The word "demure" popped into my vocabulary. I meant it to describe her more sudued but certainly beautiful plumage, not her attitude or "birdsonality."  

A Blue Jay visited briefly:

The suet feeder attracted a Downy Woodpecker. Note that it has black bars on its tail.

I was surprised when a Hairy Woodpecker suddenly arrived. While its plumage is nearly identical to that of the Downy Woodpecker, this larger bird has a proportionally longer bill (about the length of its head). It also lacks black bars on its outer tail feathers. (To remember this distinction I say that the Hairy "H'aint" got any black tail bars). Red on its head indicates that it is a male;:


While they did not visit the feeders, a flock of "Bonus Birds" settled into trees behind the feeder, too far away for good images but clearly identifiable as  Cedar Waxwings:

We were delighted when the waxwings flew into a holly tree next to our door to feed on its red berries. They were so close to an adjacent window that I could not fit the entire birds into the viewfinder:


Eight species on the first day! The birds seemed to be jumping for joy:


Cold night on January 15 (minus 16.1 C):

Over a foot of snow fell after I put up the feeder on January 9:

That night at 9:30 PM in ambient darkness I took this photo with my iPhone 11  Pro Max. The only light was a wash from a window to the left, and the hand-held exposure was 1.5 second. It revealed hidden color and beauty. The low light performance of the phone camera is amazing: 

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Linking to:


Fences Around the World

Nature Thursday

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters

BirdD'Pot

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Natasha Musing

Our World Tuesday

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Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display
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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Crops & Clips: Flashback to January, 2019

As I do each month, I enjoyed looking back over my archived photos, taken three years previously, to remember how things were then and what I now will be missing this time of year in our new Connecticut  home.  As usual, I searched for images which reflected favorite memes: critters of all kinds (especially birds), skies and clouds, reflections, flowers and fences, as well as scenes which speak for themselves. We spent the entire month at home in south Florida. 

Little Blue Heron adult before sunrise on New Years Day:

An early morning Great Blue Heron:


Later, a Tricolored Heron reflected nicely as it took flight:

A Great Egret strutted lakeside:

A Tree Swallow in flight:

A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher foraged for insects in the fruiting Firebush (Hamelia Patens):


Black birds can be difficult photographic subjects. The light reflected nicely to reveal feather details of this Fish Crow:

Blue-headed Vireos migrate in rather late in autumn  and early winter. They can be reclusive, so it was a treat when I could obtain decent photos:

 

A lone American Robin appeared on January 30.  Some winters we fail to see a single one, although one year a large flock showed up:

On January 7, as I was approaching the trailhead near our home, a Bald Eagle, presumably the female of the pair at the local nest, swooped down in front of me and picked up a clump of dried grass. Since the eagles line their nest with softer materials, this is a sign that eggs or eaglets may be present:


An immature Red-shouldered Hawk roosted nearby:

Out in the Wounded Wetlands, female White-tailed Deer gathered together:

On January 20, we watched an eclipse of the full Wolf Moon:

 


Moonset on January 21...

...followed by morning rays:

The waning Wolf Moon peered through the clouds on the morning of January 23:


Bald Eagles stole the show. We believed that the first egg hatched about January 10, but the eaglets were not seen from the ground until the last day of the month. On January 25 the male (Pride, to right)) rearranged a stick and the pair appeared to be tending one or more eaglets:



On January 28 the female (Jewel) was feeding an unseen eaglet:

Two chicks finally came into view on January 31. This was my best view of one:

Fast-forward to the present... The reality of moving to northern Connecticut, in the wee hours of the morning this past week:


The view of sunrise from the front door offers compensation:

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Linking to:



Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters

BirdD'Pot

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Natasha Musing

Our World Tuesday

________________________________________________

Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display
________________________________________________