Monday, December 16, 2013

Female Red-winged Blackbird

We have learned by observing and reading, what birds are expected to do during certain seasons.  For examples there are certain species which we expect will migrate during the fall.  Therefore we are often surprised when we see an unexpected species after a huge snow storm.  This morning I thought I had seen a female Red-winged Blackbird in Bird Alley but it was too skittish and I could not get a picture at the time to verify my suspicions.  I thought I had seen it again at mid-morning, but once again I could not get a good view or a picture. Then this afternoon I had no doubt while watching it hungrily feeding at a feeder in front of me.!!!!! And I got its picture too this time!!!!!  Ah,.. the excitement and adventures of Bird Watching.. It is so enjoyable and fun to share all the  exciting happenings outside my window!

and it was a female Red-winged Blackbird!!!  What is it doing here still this far north in the wintertime.  We have had some very cold overnight temperatures! I wonder if it will try to hang around all winter?
Today we have had a total of 13 different species feeding here.  I was a little worried that I did not see the White-throated Sparrow early in the morning, but not to worry as it showed up to feed  this afternoon around two o'clock!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Snowy Day in Bird Alley

So far our snow accumulation is not too great this morning as we are experiencing our first real winter snowstorm today and it is predicted to be a pretty big one.  I was surprised to see quite a few birds arriving at Bird Alley looking for food, and thankfully finding it as my feeders were filled in anticipation of the storm.  My concern lies with the ground feeding sparrows, two species of which we have arriving daily and this morning as well: A White-throated Sparrow and a Song Sparrow.

In the picture of the Song Sparrow you can see that it has a seed in its mouth!  Wonderful, it is finding seeds on this snowy day!
I don't worry too much about the Bluejays and the Cardinals  as they are both big, strong birds who seem to manage to cope quite well for themselves.

  And Chickadees, these frisky little birds appear to be a bundle of energy no matter what the weather and they are very visible about Bird Alley this morning as are
the Goldfinch and the Tree Sparrows.  Also our regular Hairy Woodpecker and Mourning Doves have been feeding here this morning.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

NaturalLlowLight In Bird Photography

This morning I am responding to Donna's personal photo challenge titled, " Let there be light" and I am linking to Donna's blog at : a personal photo challenge

I am usually at my window early in the morning that faces our bird feeding area watching for the early arrivals at the feeders.  I await with my camera in my hand. I am usually too early to take pictures as the light is not yet full

and my camera often flashes me a " low light" message when I try to get a photo.  Sometimes however my camera, a Nikon D 3100 responds and snaps a photo.  I have been intrigued with some of the results of my low light  natural light early morning photos.  It seems that the lighter or more colourful areas of my subject are highlighted, such as in this first example of a Blue Jay where the white on its tail feathers. Often after having downloaded the photo I click on the 'auto level' feature on my photo software to bring out the low light  feature that has been naturally  highlighted. Please double click on the Blue jay photo to see the low light features more clearly.
Another low light photo this week was these two Goldfinch shown below.  The yellow at their throats was highlighted and I loved the contrast between the light and the dark in the photo. The background easily indicates  the low light of the early morning setting.
I am not sure how I captured the light in the next photo.  It is of a BlueJay with a yellow glow.  I love the yellow tones in the photo and I was surprised to see its glow as I downloaded the photo.. The light in this picture was fuller and was not of 'low light' as the stronger light can be seen on the fence in the background. To see the yellow glow surrounding the bird please doubleclick on the photo.

 One thing I like about' low light'pictures  is how the low light of the background appears to blend with the colours of the subject such as  in these remaining pictures of Goldfinch included below. 
Have a great day everyone.  Its almost light and  its time to check out my feeders to see what bird visitors we have today.  We  are averring about 10 different species each day recently and its a great way to get the day started.

Friday, December 13, 2013

recent surprise sightings

Yesterday, on December 12, 3013 I saw a flock of 40 or more Canada geese flying over the town of Oromocto near the waterfront.  Deciding to drive down to the riverside park we saw two whitish ducks flying up the open water there.  The ducks were two distant to get a good picture of them.
I don't tjhink I have ever seen a flock of Canadas so late in the year.  The temperature outside my windopw that morning had been reading at -16 degrees C.

A second bird surprise for me this week was in Bird Alley.  I saw movement among the small branches there and I was able to get this photo.  I feel like it is somewhat similar
to a find Waldo picture.  Can you see the little sparrow in the center of the picture?

Yes, if you have found a little White-throat
ed sparrow you were right.  shown above is a cropped picture of the sparrow in the center of the 'find the sparrow picture" I was surprised to see it as I don't usually see one at this time of year.  Each morning since this has been the first little bird that I see feeding each morning.  We also  have one Song Sparrow feeding here every day and also  Tree Sparrows visit our feeders daily.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Tree Sparrow Arrives

This morning we saw our first arrival of a winter sparrow a Tree Sparrow.

My husband said there is the Song Sparrow on a feeder and |I replied, maybe its a Tree Sparrow as the Song Sparrows are typically ground feeders and I seldom see one feeding from a feeder.  So I took a picture so that I could examine the features of the sparrow more closely.  And yes!  It was a Tree Sparrow!!!!!  How wonderful, birds changing with the season!!!

I always look for two distinguishing features to identify a Tree Sparrow with.  First Tree Sparrows have a dark breast spot and in this photo it is easy to see , and secondly their bill is bi-coloured as can be seen in the photo.  The bottom part of their bill is yellow!!!    So now you'll be able to identify a Tree Sparrow by finding these two features on a visiting Tree Sparrow.  We still have had a Song Sparrow hanging around this week so I hope it shows up again today and I can document that also.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Getting the Day Started With Cardinals

I have realized over the past couple of mornings that the best way to see Cardinals in Bird Alley is to be at the window before seven.  This morning my first Cardinal sighting was when I saw the male peeking out from behind of the blue house bird feeder shortly

before 7 a.m. just as the morning light  was hastening away the darkness of the night.  Later I saw the female rushing to the pump feeder and as I waited, the handsome male showed up too. What a lovely way to get the day of watching my feeders  started.  Also my usual viewing of a White-breasted Nuthatch occurred as well as a multitude of Chickadees.  And of course Blue Jays and that is all I have  seen so far today.

And, yes , I made a new Bird Alley sign yesterday and my faithful companion, David put it up for me.  Thank you David and also thanks for cleaning
up the paint when I knocked the pint of paint over onto the floor and the rug . Hmmm... time for a new supply of blackoiled sunflower seeds to be put into the feeders, which is often a guarentee of increased activity in Bird Alley.  The temperature is foprecast for a +12 degrees C this afternoon and a+16 for tomorrow afternoon.  Oh Happy November days!

Today was the best day at the feeders than has been for a long time!  10 different species visiting!!!
I have already mentioned four species, here are the names of the remaining 6 visiting species: 
female Red-winged Blackbird
Goldfinches, about 3 of them I think
I only saw one Mourning Dove
Song Sparrow, I hadn't seen it for a few days and thought it had left
Male Downy Woodpecker
Red-breasted Nuthatch!!!! Yea! 

I wonder what Monday will bring??/ Warmer temperatures are forecast!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Birds today in Bird Alley

I have been monitoring the birds that visit Bird Alley quite closely for the past week or so. The first bird to arrive this morning was a White-breasted Nuthatch.  This species has become a daily regular.  I am hoping its cousin, the Red-breasted Nuthatch will stop by soon.  Next I saw the male Cardinal high in the silver maple tree.  By this time a Bluejay and the many little Chickadees were
making their presence known.  And then a nice surprise was a lively Hairy Woodpecker arriving.  Also Mourning Doves were present in Bird Alley.  My purpose of the day, to see a Red-winged Blackbird was fulfilled when I saw two perch in the trees above the feeders.  I was beginning to think that the Blackbirds had left the area, but we saw them yesterday in Bird Alley also.  I hadn't noted any female Blackbirds in the past few days but this morning one arrived and there was no doubt of its identification.

                                           a female Red-winged Blackbird above
When we first saw the female of this species we had a difficult time making its identification.  These days we have no doubt as to what this bird is.  After the arrival of the
blackbirds I waited and hoped for a Goldfinch to arrive and it did!!!  Today the Goldfinch fed at the nyger seed
feeder and this is significant as I am so hoping this will the connection needed to assure me of the Goldfinch becoming regular daily visitors.  Yesterday we had two Goldfinch visiting together!!!

I am not expecting any more species to arrive today as the usual have already been.  Hopefully over the next few coming days I can report having seen a Grosbeak, maybe a Pine or an Evening Grosbeak....  and maybe its time for some hungry Waxwings to show up.  That is the excitement of observing Bird Alley and feeding the birds.  You just never know, you know.   I used to have a Bird Alley sign out by the feeders but with the changing seasons and precipitation it weathered and  aged and I now need a new sign.  The making of a new sign might be a project that I might begin today, its always fun   creating and making things with wood and paint.  I'm sure I can find an appropriate sized piece of wood in our garage.

Have a good day everyone.  Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A unique bird feeder

A few summers ago we bought an old iron pump at a yard sale.  We brought it home and my husband mounted it on a post and put it in Bird Alley.  Its spout and around  its base are convenient places to put seeds and the birds seem to enjoy feeding at that location, especially the Blue Jays.  The seeds , especially black oil sunflower seeds don't remain long at that location!  Today it is a Blue Jay feast and their beautiful bright blue adds magnificent colour to our drab, dull, somber November landscape.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Something Different for Bird Alley today

Only once before and that was several years ago that we had a House Finch in Bird Alley and I think we have one visiting with us today. I was hoping for something different today  and I think I got it!  I saw it just the one time and I was able to get a few pictures of this very welcome bird..  I do think it is a House Finch.  I hope you all agree with me.

 Also today so far we have had Chickadees
Red-winged Blackbirds
Mourning Doves

a Robin,

White-breasted nuthatch
a Crow high in a tree
and a Song Sparrow shown below

I'm hoping the Cardinals return today, as well as the Goldfinch. It is such fun watching the birds come and go in Bird Alley.

The sun is shining brightly, although it is cold here today with a temperature reading of a -10 Celsius .
We hope to go out to a waterfall later today and take some pictures before the falls freeze over. maybe I'll be back with pictures of it later.
Have a great day everyone!

Just an average day in Bird Alley

 I decided yesterday morning to take a picture of every bird species visiting bird alley.  It was slow at first until my husband called me to see all of the Red-winged Blackbirds under a bird feeder..  They were quite skittish and moved often as soon as I approached the window, However, they soon settled in and started perching in the trees in Bird Alley.  There didn't seem to be any females among them. Later in the afternoon I put bird food on an old patio table and the blackbirds collected there, as many as seven at one time  Of course the regular daily bird species such as Blue Jays, Mourning Doves and Black capped Chickadees didn't disappoint
And much to my delight I spied a American Robin on a tree branch.  I got my stocking feet all wet when going out on an upstairs deck to get a closer picture but the beauty of its red breast was worth it I think.
Yesterday was the second day in the past couple of weeks that an American Goldfinch stopped by.  It has such a sweet looking appearance.  I put out some Nyger seed after its first visit but it hasn't found it yet.  I think I will buy a Nyger seed sack feeder for it and hope that its visits become a daily occurrence.
And last, but certainly not least is this White-breasted Nuthatch.  It has been a faithful visitor
for the last few days and I am starting to count on it to show up daily.  Some days there are two of them.

And now, the morning light is now becoming quite strong so it is time to move to my windows overlooking Bird Alley to see who or what the day brings.  Having such a feature as Bird Alley certainly adds appreciation and anticipation to my day.  Lets see what species are visiting today.  Maybe there will be a surprise visitor.