Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

E-gad(wall) That’s Some Birds!

I took my survey walk along the trail near the house on Saturday morning. The first thing that hit me when I walked outside was the sheer number of birds that were singing. It’s been a while since it was that loud. It was a beautiful spring day, and the birds knew it.

The pond held a few northern shovelers and a bunch of gadwalls (lousy over-enlarged picture above), a duck I hadn’t previously met in the neighborhood. I counted six of them in the pond with the two shovelers, but all the ducks flew away as one when a family walked up to the edge of the pond to skip rocks.

I got this shot of one of the gadwalls on the way out.

Along the way, I saw the usual suspects: mourning dove, carolina chickadee, northern mockingbird, American crow, killdeer, and lots of noisy blue jays.

The blue jays were a nice surprise. They’ve been lying low these past months, but with such a perfect spring day, they were out in substantial numbers. I heard far more than I saw, but I saw quite a few. They are also back in the yard for the first time since August.

The white-winged doves are back as well. Most of them left in November, leaving only a few stragglers behind. Saturday morning, I saw one of those clean-out-the-feeder-in-ten-minutes flocks that hasn’t been around in months.

So it’s spring, although a front came through today to give us one last bite of cold, and I’m curious to see when the ducks will leave for good and when the scissor-tails and swallows will return. I bet the swallows are here by next weekend.

One other thing I noticed on Saturday afternoon. I took the dogs out and the trees were erupting with chatters, screeches, cooing, twirls, and any other sound a backyard bird can make. The jays especially were having a fit. Then, silence as a hawk flew over. As soon as the raptor was gone, the singing resumed, but in a much less agitated manner. Nice of them to warn us.

4 Comments

  1. This looks like a great place to see water birds – don’t know of any similar walk near our house.

    James, I don’t think all the white-wings doves left town… we saw them all winter long – sometimes 6 or 8 at a time arranged around the edge of the birdbath.

    The other day there were a few goldfinches and some cedar waxwings here, too.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. Annie, I think I was unclear. I meant the white-wings had quit coming to my feeder and taken their business elsewhere. I saw some goldfinches along the trail back in December. No waxwings for me, though.

  3. Hope you’re too busy enjoying SXSW to blog!

  4. Not South by So What, just busy. Hard to believe 2 weeks escaped so quickly.

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