Saturday, February 25, 2012

Around the house in recent months

Sometimes the little park I walk through daily has some interesting birds. All of the following up to the Goldfinch are related to Chumash Park.

For a few days in January I had a female Downy Woodpecker. I have seen these birds before (many times in Alberta, once before here) and it was certainly not expected as they are non-migratory and for a bird to be here must either mean it was a serious wanderer or there is a resident population close by. I first discovered it down the road at the high school where I heard the unmistakable calls (but I could not locate the bird). The next day I traced the calls to the park and found the bird itself. It hung around into the weekend and until the following Moday. After then I found no further trace of it.

Compared to the regular Nuttall's Woodpecker the Downy is much smaller, has a shorter bill and has spots down the back instead of horizontal bars and stripes. There are a number of other differences too.
January 20th.
Next on the line are the Egrets. But before that here is a Great Blue Heron that I had fly over. It is the first inland bird I have seen, but due to the widespread wandering of Ardeids it is not uncommon to see them flying overhead in a number of urban locales.
December 7th
Now for the Egrets. I have had both Snowy and Great Egret in Chumash. At first I only saw Snowies in the creek, but after rainfall they start to appear on the baseball field. I once had two Great Egrets and two Snowy in the same area during a five minute period. Their tameness fluctuates quite a bit. Sometimes the Greats are tame and the Snowies are skittish, and sometimes its vice versa.





Ever since the rainfall a few weeks back I have been seeing a single Snowy Egret on the field regularly around 8:30am.
 

Now for one of the commonest birds in my area, but until recently I had yet to get a good shot of those males. If I had to guess I'd say the (drabber) females outnumber the males 8:1, maybe even more, and as they tend to hang out in the shady parts of trees only one or two of those birds may be in good light. That 12.5% hasn't worked out well for me until the day this happened:

January 20th, 2012.

The Lesser Goldfinch is as much as a finch as the European Goldfinch, and both are in the same genus Carduelis. But don't be fooled, the habits and dialects of the two birds are entirely different. I find them to be more similar to the Siskin than the European Gold.

On stormy days it is not uncommon to see hundreds of gulls circling overhead. I have not yet worked out why, but I assume it has something to do with insects.


Western Bluebird: A few females have been hanging around throughout the winter. I recently saw a male so this is a sure-fire sign that Spring is fast approaching. Winter has flown past....


This is one of many belated postings where I pretend to be actively involved in this blog but am actually trying to get alternative things done at the same time. I need to upload last weekend's trip at some point. Stay tuned.