Sunday, January 15, 2006

Feeder Roving

This morning I drove up to PEEC since the northern finches are supposed to migrate from Canada in January and February. I was hoping to get Evening Grosbeak and maybe even a crossbill or two for my life list, but no such luck. It was very windy and there was ice covered snow on the ground around the feeders. There were 40-50 Dark-eyed Juncos, American Goldfinches, Pine Siskins (haven’t seen any of them since I was a child), Purple Finches (really nice species), Tufted Timice, a half dozen obnoxious Blue Jays, a pair of cardinals, American Tree Sparrow (1), White-throated Sparrow (1), and a Red-bellied Woodpecker. I waited around for something better, but eventually gave up. I must have been too early.

I then drove to Hawk Mountain and watched their feeders for a while. Additional species there included Downy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch and Carolina Wren. On the way home from there, I stopped at Lake Ontelaunee to catch a glimpse of the Snow Geese that have settled there. I think it’s a bit early for them, but the lake was completely open, so I guess they’re comfortable there.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Happy 2006

In my family there’s a belief that whatever happens to you on New Year’s Day will happen to you all year long and I have long believed that there’s some truth in that. I remember the year I was in 7th grade, my sisters and I stayed overnight at my aunt’s house and had pork and sauerkraut for lunch. When we got home that afternoon, mom was making pork and sauerkraut for dinner. At least once a week that entire year, I would come home to find that the dinner menu was exactly the same as the school lunch menu albeit better tasting. I don’t remember that happening any other year before that or since.

If this old belief is true, then it must be good (birding) luck to hear birds before one’s eyes are open on New Year’s Day. I pulled the shade on the window to see my very first birds of 2006: a pair of Tufted Titmice followed swiftly by a Blue Jay, a pair of Chickadee sp., and House Finches. That’s four species before my feet hit the floor! House Sparrows at the feeder and an American Crow in the crabapple tree rounded out the rest of the morning.

The trip to my aunt’s house in Allentown this afternoon (yes, still eating sauerkraut on New Year’s Day) yielded several raptors, including 2 Red-tailed Hawks, an American Kestrel and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. All were perched on utility lines or trees and sitting very still. We had some bad weather yesterday, so they were probably pretty hungry today. Also added Rock Pigeon, Slate-colored Junco, White-throated sparrow, Common Grackle, and Starling to the day list. New Year’s Day total for 2006… 14 species. OK, not stellar, but not a bad count for a non-birding day in early January. :-)