The flu has forced me to stay home these past two weeks and I have not gone out to take any picture, or visited your posts as often as before. The following photos are the results of my editing of recent shots of backyard birds that show some different views of the two most common visitors to our feeder in the winter.
About two weeks ago, I also caught a Great Blue Heron jumping around a pond, probably on a fishing expedition.
It’s been snowing since early this morning and will not stop until late tonight. So far, eight hours into our fourth Nor’Easter only about 5 inches of snow fell, but the forecast is calling for at least double that by the time the storm ends.
As usual, I cleaned and stocked the bird feeder with sunflower seeds and all the usual birds came, emptying half of the feeder by the end of the day. I did not miss the opportunity to take some photos as they posed among the magnolia branches.
This week a second Nor’Easter dumped heavy snow in our region, with as much as 2 ft (60 cm) in some areas, but much less in coastal areas. I stocked up the bird feeder and many birds braved snow and wind to come during the storm.
Here are some shots of the birds. It was so dark I had to use the flash.
On a snowy day three years ago, I watched the birds flock to our feeder. Traffic was heavy, with the Dark-eyed Juncos being the most assiduous and energetic. With my camera on a tripod from inside the house I tried to get shots of them flying and competing for seeds.
It was a balmy 19 °F (-7 °C) this morning, but without the wind it was bearable. I did not have to wear too many layers when I took Jackie out. They do predict more snow tonight, but then temperatures will rise by 20 degrees or so in the next several days, a much welcomed heat wave.
Meanwhile the snow that fell last week has not melted much, as you can see in the following photos of birds that are not red Cardinals.
One consequence of the cold that has been gripping our region is that all open water is frozen and the birds have a hard time finding water to drink. I saw a Carolina Chickadee jump on one of our deck railing next to the feeder, and it hesitated for a moment looking at some melted snow.
Then it decided to go ahead and drink. The bird feeder was only a couple feet away but it ignored it.
A Dark-eyed Junco was nearby, perhaps waiting its turn.
Another Dar-eyed Junco was perched on a magnolia branch, all puffed up like a toy bird.
The following three kinds of birds are regular visitors to our feeder, especially when it snows like it did yesterday. Not much fell, less than 2 inches (5 cm), but enough to double my commute time and to cover everything with a white coat that has already melted by a half today.
Unlike the Juncos who only come in the winter, Carolina Chickadees live all year round in our area, and there may be more of them than of any other bird.
Then Blue Jays, of course, with their piercing jeers as they call one another.
In the end we only got 4 inches (10 cm) of snow as it was too warm and the storm started out as rain spattering on our roof in the middle of the night. Our feathered friends gathered around the feeder and tried to make the best of it.
The May like temperatures of the last few days, reaching as high as the 80F’s (27 C) brought good light and birds to our backyard. Here are a few shots that I took a couple days ago, directly outside and not through the glass of the patio door.
At the beginning of this year, you may remember that I posted the following picture of a Dark-eyed Junco with a very visible growth on its left side.
Since then I hadn’t been seeing it and was thinking the worst could have happened. However, today, I noticed a Junco that had the same lopsided gait, and took the following photos. If it is the same bird, the tumor is no longer visible, and only a few feathers are still sticking out.
If it is the same bird, this Junco is a resilient bird indeed, appearing so bravely in a very cold an windy day. If it could talk, perhaps it could tell us volumes about how to cure tumors.
The blizzard of 2016, Jonas, turned out to be one for the records. The amount of snow dumped on our region approached or even exceeded all-time records dating back to the 19th century. I did not measure it at our house, but it took us three and a half hours to clear our driveway, even with a snowblower and three of us working.
Here are a few photos of some of the birds that came to our backyard during the blizzard, with all photos taken through the patio glass door, not an optimal setting.
Finally, another shot of that cute Blue Jay.
Juncos are winter sparrows, and they have the same feistiness of the ordinary urban sparrow. Today it was snowy and rainy outside, with temperatures soon to go into the 20’s. The juncos were out in force, with two of them suddenly fighting for food, for no apparent reason. I took the following three shots within less than a second.
After these shots, the fight lasted perhaps a second more but the two birds had flown to the right and up, out of the camera’s sight.