Thursday, January 1, 2015

Simple Effort...Big Birding Rewards

Birding is like sports, the right bounce here/there success (sometimes large) follows. So, I stepped outside (see photo below) this morning (9:20 am) on a clear, cold (10 F) day hoping to start my 2015 birding list with some common birds. Almost immediately, heard a American Robin "chortling" in the near distance, awesome first bird for year...very local around fruit bearing trees/shrubs. This was quickly followed by five other species: Common Raven, House Finch, Red Crossbill, Black-billed Magpie and American Crow.

Then walked to the other side of house near neighbors Mountain Ash and feeders down the street. My neighbor came outside to retrieve his newspaper and we proceeded with some football talk. After a couple of minutes of Peyton Manning et al a group of Western Bluebirds swooped into his Mountain Ash tree. I was stunned, never seen them in January...WOW. Abandoned the conversation and ran for my camera. Returned to find them perched atop nearby Blue Spruce (see photos below). Spent couple of minutes taking photos at different settings (want diagnostic pic). With mission accomplished a Northern Flicker blasts by me above and to left giving a odd call. Birds scatter, gotta be a hawk.

Yep, spy the streak to the left land in the branchy middle of Ponderosa's an Accipiter. Quick look with my binoculars, square tail...Sharpie. Camera in hand start taking photos while walking towards the bird. Get to within 35 yards before it flushes. This is really my morning, didn't do anything special...just catching all the breaks :-) Walking to the front door of house, you guessed it, more gold...Townsend's Solitaire flys over. Three species of thrush in January in 35 minutes; that is what is cool about birding...the unexpected. Get outside for your share of excitement :-)

Western Bluebird
Sharp-shinned Hawk