Thursday, November 8, 2018

Pine Siskins

We have two tube shaped thistle seed feeders in our backyard and this week we have noticed flocks of Pine Siskins at the feeders. These sparrow-sized birds with a swath of bright yellow on their wings breed in Canada but spend their winters in our area. They do like to eat seeds from pine cones but will readily eat thistle seed from feeders.

We observed the siskins battling with House Finches and Goldfinches for the thistle seed we offered. At first glance you may think you are observing House Sparrows but looks closer for that swath of yellow on the males. Both male and female Pine Siskin have lots of stripes all over. The females don't have the yellow on their wings.

So hang up your thistle seed feeder and attract our wintering birds!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Winter Is Coming

It's been a while since I've posted on this bird blog but that doesn't mean the birds haven't been doing their birdy thing!
This last week in October, has Luria Park and our own backyard full of migratory birds heading to warmer winter climates and some birds arriving to stay here for the winter. We have several birds in Luria Park and Raymondale that leave their breeding grounds in Canada and seek refuge during the  fall and winter months here. Here are some birds we saw on October 31st.

The White-throated Sparrow is one of the most notable winter residents. The male has a distinctive white throat and bright yellow lores above the beak. You can hear his sweet song in the park, a high pitched song that sounds aptly enough like "Oh, Canada, Canada!"

The Chipping Sparrow, above, may breed in our area but this fellow is seeking a warmer place to spend the winter.

This bright bird, a little smaller than a Robin, is the Yellow-breasted Chat. He was spotted just off the boardwalk skulking through the low underbrush and occasionally flying to a higher perch. An uncommon bird and a loner, this bird will migrate to a more southerly location for the winter.

This tiny bird, the Golden-crowned Kinglet, will spend its winter in our area after spending an active summer breeding in Canada. They are quite tiny and active. With binoculars you can easily spot the bright yellow stripe between dark stripes on top of its head.

At our feeder today we saw a Pine Siskin. These sparrow-like birds with sharp beaks and lots of stripes, may spend their winter here or farther south. You will most commonly see them at your feeders.

So get those sunflower seeds, thistle seeds, and suet out. Who know what you may see this fall and winter?

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Fun Around the Neighborhood Ponds

This afternoon, Dan and I were alerted to an unusual bird at the pond next to Jaguar rail. We headed over and found a Black-crowned Night Heron!

This cool bird winters along the southern Atlantic coast and further south to Central America. There is a chance that her could find a mate here and possibly breed and nest in the cattails at Fairview Park.

And speaking of Fairview Park...we found this summer resident walking along the rocky ledge:
This is the Spotted Sandpiper. The most common of the sandpipers. They could potentially breed in the Fairview Park area, most likely in the large area of cattails over the berm near the office towers.

There was a lot of Red-winged Blackbird activity around the pond and over the berm in the cattails. We were holing to see evidence of nest building or food carrying. A female red-winged blackbird scolded us from a tree after flying from the cattails when we walked past.

There is every chance these birds breed here but we need to continue observing to get conclusive evidence. Until then we will enjoy these lovely birds around the pond.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Bay-breasted Warbler

This morning in Luria Park I saw the Bay-breasted Warbler which is an uncommon warbler. He winters in northern South America, flies along the eastern Central American and Mexican coast, goes up the US Atlantic flyway and doesn't stop to breed until it arrives in northern Canada. I was thrilled to see him in our park and to get a few half-way decent shots before he flew away.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

May 6 Was Migratory Bird Mania In Luria Park

Dan and I spent two hours in Luria Park around lunch time today (May 6th) and were rewarded with lots of migratory birds! The recent cold front most likely brought them in and we were thrilled to see so many. Here are the highlights:

 Black-throated Blue Warbler.

Black-throated Green Warbler.

 Blackburnian Warbler.

 Chestnut-sided Warbler.

 Indigo Bunting (seen on our Brad Street backyard).

 Magnolia Warbler.

 Northern Waterthrush.

Wood Thrush.

Take your binoculars into the park, look for something moving in the trees, and take a look. You never know what you may see! These feathery jewels are amazing, don't you think so?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Spring Migration is in Full Swing!


Luria Park and our backyard on Brad Street have given us lots of spring/summer birds!

The highlight was a Cape May Warbler seen at the Luria Park playground on May 2, about 9:30 oin the morning.
This warbler is small, very active, and has a distinctive rusty swath beneath the eye. It winters in Cuba and breeds in northern Canada.

This is a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak at the sunflower seed feeder in our backyard. Her plumage is quite drab compared to her male counterpart.

This stealthy fellow is the Common Yellow-throat. His song is a "witchety-witchety-witchety" song and he prefers the cover of undergrowth. He was in Luria Park near the creek.

This little brown fellow is the House Wren. Small and mighty, this bird was pulling nest fluff from a previous nest only to transfer it across the backyard to another birdhouse!

A Red-shouldered Hawk was tending to her chick on a nest deep in Luria Park. This is the second year these raptors have made a home in our park.

An American Crow was taking a drink from our birdbath before gathering a twig and taking it high to the top of white pine tree on Brad Street where it was building a nest. Love 'em or hate 'em, crows will keep a street clean of squirrels and other critters that lost the battle with car traffic.

This stout fellow is a male Brown-headed Cowbird. I call him "Mr. Nasty" as cowbirds will ruthlessly rob other bird's nests.

Another migratory bird, is the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, see high on a maple tree off of the Luria Park baordwalk. He's a larger bird, bigger than a robin, and winters in Mexico and Central America. They could potentially breed here.

Happy Spring!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Spring Is Finally Here

This morning, April 23rd, I birded Luria Park for about an hour. So happy to our spring birds have returned. Some may stay and some may go.

The highlights included an Ovenbird foraging in the leaves. If this bird finds a mate in our park and builds a nest, the nest will be on the forest floor. It will look like a dome of grass and leaves with an entrance, like a little oven.

Another spring bird, a very tiny fellow, is the Chipping Sparrow. He was foraging on the edge of the asphalt path and flew up into the willow oak by the basketball court. You will know him by his small size and bright rusty crown.

A Brown Thrasher was singing high in the sweet gum tree by the asphalt path. He was quite vocal and making his music loud and clear across the open expanse of the park. This is such an exciting birdy time in our neighborhood and in Luria Park. Keep your eyes open!