Hello again! My deepest apologies for being so sporadic in my monthly postings. This kitchen rebuild/renovation my husband and I have been working on since last March has taken up nearly all of our time. I will sincerely try to post more in 2018.
I have to say it’s been quite an exciting winter in my yard so far. I have a special visitor to my feeders: a lovely Brown Thrasher. I first saw it on November 10 & 11. Then it disappeared for 3 weeks.
It’s extremely rare to see this species around here at ANY time of year but in winter, it should be around Florida! This one showed up in my backyard again on December 2 and has been here every day since. Something obviously went wrong in its migration so I will do what I can to help it survive the bitter cold we’ve been getting. It has already handledtemperatures in the low -30’s C. The Thrasher discovered my platform feeder and now gives the Blue Jays a run for their money. It will chase EVERY bird off the feeder and take all the food for itself! It’s quite entertaining to watch. It seems to have a preference for peanut hearts and raisins so I cater to it with those foods to help it along. Fingers crossed it continues to do this well.
Another special visitor to my yard recently was a solitary Snow Bunting. It only stayed for about 3 days before moving on and hopefully catching up with its flock.
I’ve had Grouse coming around the yard again this fall & winter but not as steadily as they have in past seasons. It’s been just 1 Ruffed Grouse most of the time but I have seen a pair of them in the yard only once.
I’ve had both Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers coming around. They like the peanuts and the suet/peanut butter log that is hanging over the feeders.
A flock of 10 Starlings has been around since November. They come to the feeders a few times per week. I love their plumage!
A pair of my beloved Gray Jays comes around sporadically. Last winter, I had 3 Gray Jays visiting. I think I can safely assume that the third one was that year’s juvenile and it was eventually sent packing by its parents to find its own territory. This season so far, I have only seen two.
I have about 10 Blue Jays in my area. I normally see 5 to 6 at a time and it can get incredibly noisy! Because of the Blue Jays, I suspect I have a Northern Shrike in the neighbourhood. They will start SCREAMING like banshees out of the blue and all other birds will instantly disappear! I’m hoping to actually see the Shrike eventually this winter.
It’s been a very quiet winter so far for Grosbeaks. Pine Grosbeaks are around the neighbourhood constantly but the most I’ve had in the yard so far this season is 18. The norm right now is about 6! Very low. Evening Grosbeaks are hardly around the yard at all right now. The most I’ve seen so far this winter is 7. Pretty amazing when I think of the years where I had over 150! I dearly miss the Grosbeaks at the feeders.
Up until last week, I still had 3 Dark Eyed Juncos coming around. As of today, I only have 1. This is quite late in the season to still see them here.
I thought this photo below was a neat combination shot:
And to end this month, I’m sure people are wondering: Where are the Redpolls? Well ….. I’m wondering too! I had a dozen of them finally show up on my feeder last week but they only were only here that one day and have not returned. When I’m out in the woods, I see flocks of them so I know they are definitely around. They are just still getting their food from natural sources instead of feeders. That may change as the season goes on and the snow deepens. We shall see.
So that’s a quick catch-up from my area. Say a little prayer for the Thrasher that it continues to handle the winter weather & I’ll do my best to keep it fed & sheltered.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year & Happy Holidays to all … thanks for reading!