March 27, 2010

Spring Lifers in My Backyard

Spotted Towhee
A Spring blizzard brought numerous birds to the feeder. We were so excited to get some new Spring migrants that we have never seen before. These Spotted Towhee photos were captured by my husband, Ken. I got out my Kansas Bird Guide to study up on Towhees. They nest in the Northwestern part of the state near the Nebraska border during the Summer. Migrants are seen during April and October. This guy must be an early bird ;-)
Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee

Eurasion Collared-Dove

Chipping Sparrow
This little guy arrived on the day of the Spring snowstorm. He makes the House Sparrows look huge. He was out there feeding today. Chipping Sparrows are Spring migrants that fly through on their way to the Northeastern part of the state where they nest. He must like it here...we've seen him the last 10 days.

Chipping Sparrow
"Oops...I lost my lunch!"

Female Red-winged Blackbird
Another Spring snowstorm arrival. It was as plump as a little partridge. It was bigger than the Harris's Sparrows. I got out the field guide, pored over it, trying to figure out what we had here. I came up with the Female Red-winged Blackbird.

Female, Red-winged Blackbird

March 9, 2010

Cedar Waxwings: Buds & Birds

My first views of Cedar Waxwings in my part of the the world!
I was taking a walk around the neighborhood today...and because it's Spring...I decided to bring my camera along just in case. I was barely 3 blocks into the walk when this flock of little birds flew out of an evergreen-ish bush. I almost kept walking...but, their color caught my eye. I stopped and looked up...I could not believe my eyes!! I was so excited!! Those were Cedar Waxwings!! These are "lifers" for me! Also, it was my goal this Winter to see a Cedar Waxwing and here they were just 3 blocks away. Can you tell I'm excited ;-D

These birds are so small, I visualized them to be as large as a Cardinal. They were a little larger than a House Sparrow.

The Kansas Field Guide says they commonly nest in NE Kansas. I'm located in SC Kansas, so I'm assuming they are Spring migrants. They like to eat tree buds and there are "plenty to be had of them, I assure you".

I counted 54 Waxwings in this photo.

Eurasian Collared-Dove

This is another lifer for me :-)) There was a beautiful pair, but they flew off as I tried to get closer.

Carolina Wrens

We found out what the Wrens like...this fruit & nut seed bell. It was overcast getting ready to rain.

Female Cardinal

She was also grabbing a quick snack before the rains.

Black-capped Chickadee

He just wanted some suet, but the Starling's voracious appetites chomped the suet block down in a couple of days. Another great day of backyard birding!

March 2, 2010

Cindy's Nature Sketchbook: Downy Woodpecker

A pair of Downy Woodpeckers began to appear at the suet feeder. I captured a few photos before they flew off. I've since learned that the male has the red mark on the back of the head. I haven't been able to capture a photo of the female...she was a bit more cautious :-) but, a very pretty bird as well! Oh, before I decided it was a Downy, I did some arm chair study, Googled several sites, and conferred with my husband. We decided they were a pair of Downys. The Hairy Woodpecker has similar looks except for a longer beak and larger size.
Regarding the sketch, I sketched using a graphite #2 pencil. I used the photo below as my reference. After completing the sketch, I colored it in with watercolor pencils.

photo by cindyzlogic