Monday, May 12, 2008

birding (unofficially)

 Black-headed GrosbeakI really enjoy watching birds (in general) and identifying birds when they fly into my yard. This (crappy) photo is of a Black-headed Grosbeak who came to visit/get a snack yesterday morning. The same bird was back again this morning.

I never get good pictures of my yard birds because they can see the movement when I reach for my camera, and then they fly away.

Usually I just have the same small flock of Pygmy Nuthatches and Red-breasted Nuthatches, plus the family of California Quail. In the last few days, a small flock of European Starlings has been hanging out, as well as a group of five or six Red-winged Blackbirds.

Occasionally, a Magpie or Common Raven will swoop in and take a drink from the faux birdbath. "Faux" because it's not really a birdbath proper—it's the bottom of one of those big plastic planters, and it's just sitting on the ground. The birds like to sit around the edge, and the squirrels and the rabbits and the occasional neighborhood cat take sips out of it. The only bird I've ever seen use it as a birdbath is the Robin. Everyone else just drinks out of it.

Yesterday we [my friends Jim and Karen are here] drove all over the region and we saw a ton of hawks (very common), a bunch of White-throated Swifts at Palouse Falls, and then when we were back in town we nearly ran over a Pheasant that ran across the road. Exciting times indeed.