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April 2nd, 2009

9:52 AM

Spring Visitors! (Pyrrhuloxia,waterthrush,hooded warbler,blackbirds...)

Most of the  Goldfinches have moved on , as have the flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers. They have been replaced by new birds. Like the hummingbirds, water thrush, Pyrrhuloxia , hooded warbler, Oriole, a flock of boat tailed grackles, and a flock of red-winged blackbirds.

We have had up to five "Ruby-throated Hummingbirds,  and one Buff-bellied Hummingbird comming to the nectar feeders and buzzing all around in the blooms of the red- Salvia that grow wild here. They also like the blooms of the yellow- Aloe verapomegranate , Lantana, and the Cactus. The orange- Trumpet vines will be in bloom for them soon, and it is definately one of thier favorites.

The   Black-headed Oriole has tried to sneak drinks from the feeder with the hummingbirds , but they are not interested in sharing and they try to persuade him to move back to his own ( Oriole) feeder, by making repeated sky dives all around the Oriole's head. It is quiet funny to see but makes me sort of feel sorry for the Oriole ... maybe he just doesn't want to eat alone... ( big smile)

The  Northern Waterthrush is a funny site to see too, the way he bounces his tail up and down constantly. He waddles around the borders of the pond all day, and snatches up all the insects he can find along the top of the water. Since these guys are usually found close to rivers and streams it's a real treat to think our tiny pond has tanspired into a make believe river for the lil' guy. At least temperarily, anyway.

Another amusing visitor has been the Hooded Warbler, which is sooo tiny and sooo quick, that it is really hard to keep up with. He is bright yellow with olive wings and patches of black on his head and throat. He is partial to a piece of vine fencing that stands in a back corner of the habitat . Since the vines haven't grown in yet , it is easy for him to dart in and out of the little squared wiring and swoop up mouthfuls of tiny flying insects along the way.

But the rarest bird visitor has got to be the Pyrrhuloxia ! I had read an article in the local newspaper that a small flock of Pyrrhuloxia's were sighted about a hundred miles north of Corpus Christi, at Choke Canyon Nation Park and lots of folks had been gathering up over there to try to catch a glimpse of one, but with my busy schedule lately, I knew there would be no way to make it over there. So imagin my suprize when I first caught a glimpse of a male Pyrrhuloxia at one of the feeders here in the habitat!!
I had to do a double... and tripple -take just to be sure of what I was seeing. At first it looked like a female cardinal with faded colors, but then I noticed the large yellow (parrot -shaped) beaks. And when I zoomed in closer , on the camera, I was able to see the red triangular markings around his eyes and down his breast. He comes almost everyday to the hanging feeders and water, but he is a very evasive guy and scares easily.

Have you ever heard a flock of red-winged blackbirds? They seem to sing constantly, all at the same time , but not nessesarily all in the same key. Some just blurt out a sharp , short whistle, and some sound like they are saying "purple peeee-ple", in very shrill, high- pitched shrieks.
Well a flock of more than a 100 have been visiting the habitat and there are so many of them that they over-run the feeders and waters. They like to puff up thier breast and flare thier wings open to show the bright red shoulder patches, and they have scared many of the other birds away with this aggressive behavior.

The Boat-tailed Grackles are here too but they usually only come in the mornings for a short drink before heading out into the field to scavenge for food. Soon all the blackbirds will spread out and start to claim thier territories, and many will move on, and only a few will be left here. At least that is what they usually do...

But for right now , the habitat is full of Spring Celebration, with non-stop birding action and I find it hard to sit here and write with all the joyfull bird songs echoing around me, So I think I will join them and keep my eyes open for any new species to pop in. Because ya just never can tell what may stop by the habitat this time of year...

 Birdbits Habitat is certified through the National Wildlife Federation.. Check out their site for some great tips and resources on gardening for wildlife  .
I hope that you all have the opportunity to get outside and enjoy some of the wonderful Nature and Wildlife adventures that only spring can bring! 

 See some photos I have taken  around the habitat below ....

ruby throated hummingbird

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oriole comes to the hummingbird feeder

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black hooded warbler

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black hooded warbler
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water thrush

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Pyrrhuloxia

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Pyrrhuloxia

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redwinged blackbird flock

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red winged blackbird

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boat tailed grackle 

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 boat tailed grackles on the line

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Happy Spring!!!
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