Monday, March 19, 2007

After the Snow

After the snow stopped, bird activity really picked up around the cabin. I took this photo of a pretty song sparrow taking advantage of the dirt kicked up by the stuck plow truck and front end loader to find a little grit.

I saw 29 species of birds around the cabin over the weekend. My best sighting was the secretive brown creeper. I only see this little bird several times a year as it doesn’t announce itself or make a show when it arrives. It is easy to miss, though I’m sure it’s around virtually all the time. I also saw a long overdue American goldfinch. Usually they swarm my niger seed feeder all winter long but they were strangely absent until yesterday. I also saw the first northern flicker of the season, a sign that winter is losing its grip.

Down off the mountain, sightings of Eastern Phoebe are becoming common, but I haven’t seen any up here yet.

If you think winter is a slow time for birding, all you have to do is spend a few minutes sitting quietly in the woods. I am fortunate to have several large picture windows where I can observe birds and animals even when the weather is too poor to make sitting outside comfortable. A minute never goes by without having something fly or flit by close enough to me to see them. Usually, several species are within sight at once.

I often see animals this way too, as being in the cabin hides my scent from them. On Saturday, two deer bounced by the cabin, leaving the confines of one nearby thicket for one just a little further away. Likely, they’d cleared the browse from the first and simply moved to the second for better foraging.

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