Monday, May 7, 2012

New Yard Birds!

1. veery-kab Veery in my Andover backyard 5-6-2012

Over the weekend Gus and I went walking around our neighborhood and while he walked, I counted birds. I saw my first Orioles of the year down at the park on Sunday, as well as my first catbird. Later in the day I saw a catbird in my neighborhood and an oriole at the bog. As I was leaving the house yesterday afternoon to walk down to the bog I had barely reached the corner of my yard when a bird flew up from the ground and landed on a branch about 12 feet in front of me. With a quick glance I knew it was something I had not seen before, so I trained my bins on it, trying to decipher what it was. My mind raced through species; Ovenbird? Wood thrush? Hermit thrush? But none of these fit. This bird was warm brown above with no eye ring and no visible spots on its breast.

2. veery-kab While I waited for the bird to turn around and as I prayed it would not fly off I grabbed my camera and started snapping pictures. All the time my mind is racing to take in what I am seeing and match it with what I have read about in my bird guides.

3. veery-kab With the help of my smart phone birding app I realized it was a Veery! While I have heard Veeries before I had never seen one. Veeries are woodland birds that are in the thrush family along with robins, bluebirds, and wood thrushes. Unlike the other thrushes, this species has few spots on its breast limited to the upper chest and it is a warm brown overall, whereas most of the other thrushes have some gray in them and more distinct spotting on the breast. Also, the other woodland thrushes have eye rings or “spectacles,” a lighter area around the eyes that bleeds toward the beak giving the bird the effect of wearing a pair of spectacles. I have this species on my Life List as a species I have heard in Connecticut, but this is the first time I have ever seen one! It stayed around long enough for me to play with the settings on my camera and that is why in the last photo it looks a bit redder than it does in the upper photos. This is species number 61 for my backyard!

4. swift-kab Chimney Swift in flight above my yard 5-7-12

I have been waiting and watching for the chimney swifts to return to this area but until this morning I had not seen any. Now as I sit on my back porch eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee I hear their distinctive chatter and look up to see two flying in the open bit of sky to my west.

5. swift home-kab While the birds will fly all over the area, I usually see them first in this open patch. Last year some nested in my neighbor’s chimney seen here and I would often see them fold their wings and dive straight down into the brick abyss. It is such an amazing sight to see! Chimney swifts need a vertical surface to nest on. They cannot rest on a branch or raise their young on a horizontal surface.

6. house wrenn-kab House Wren in my backyard 5-7-12

While I have had numerous visits from Carolina Wrens to my feeders and yard I was astonished this morning to find a House Wren here! I have lived here for a year and half now and have never seen this species in my yard! I first caught the movement of a small bird out of the corner of my eye low in the brush to my right.

6a. House wren-kab House Wren 5-7-12

When I looked through my bins I saw the barred area along its tail and the grayish brown, rather than warm butterscotch color of a Carolina wren. Also, the Carolina has a buff eye brown whereas this little bird has a rather plain face, but I think its cute! The little wren moved inquisitively around the yard even coming to land on the porch railing about 3 feet from me! It than landed on the woodpile and visited my bird feeders before flying off to do more investigating. It makes me think that perhaps I should get a little bird house for it! This is species number 62 for my Andover Yard List!

8. mulberry tree-kab Mulberry Tree

In my neighbor’s yard I can see the scraggly mulberry tree is just starting to put out its leaves. It is bent at a precarious angle as it tries to reach the sunlight from beneath the larger pines tree and maples that tower over it. Once it has blossomed and the berries ripen it will be covered with fruit eating birds like catbirds, robins, and orioles. In a few days they will strip the tree bare of its fruit and move on.

9. AMGO-kab American Goldfinches on the thistle seed sock.

I intended to go out birding this morning but since I needed to eat breakfast before I left I went and sat on my back porch to count birds while I ate. There were so many species in and around the yard that I ended up spending 45 minute watching and photographing birds! I am not sorry I stayed. It was relaxing and exciting all at once. Each time I saw a new species my heart would start pounding with excitement. It made me feel glad to be alive to see this. It made me glad to be alive today.

If you want to read the poem I wrote about Birding is Fun Wherever You Are come on over to the Birding is Fun blog where I Have post 21 photos of amazing birds!

And, be sure to visit World Bird Wednesday to see even more amazing birds!

10. HAWO-kab Female Hairy Woodpecker 5-7-12 My Backyard.

34 comments:

  1. Wow Kathie nice shots! It's great to get a new bird and get some diagnostic photos of it all in one go.

    61 species! Your yard is a regular aviary.

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  2. You have some beautiful birds in your back yard, thanks for sharing.

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  3. Your enthusiasm is infectious and the photos marvelous.

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  4. Laurence, with the House Wren it is actually 62! I am so excited and I am glad I ad my camera with me!

    Jeremy, I agree!

    Gillian, ah...but the birds are everywhere! what surprises me though is how many species stop by my yard which is in the middle of 2 highways and an active train tracks!

    Gaelyn, I am glad you can feel it!

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  5. Lovely pictures and a great post for WBW!

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  6. Beautiful shots of the Veery! I love their haunting song. Beware of attracting house wrens.Every time I had one nest in an old box it drove off all the other birds.

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  7. Great captures!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  8. Modesto and Hans, thanks!

    Interesting to note Hilke! Thanks for the info!

    Boom and Gary, thanks for your visit and your comment.

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  9. Great photos and especially good to get such great shots of the Veery.

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  10. Wonderful images of your lovely birds Kathie.

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  11. I heard Veerys at the Nature Preserve where I volunteer last week and was very excited. They sounded just like the CD!

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  12. Great birds, Kathie! Congrats on your new yardbirds. The Veery is wonderful.

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  13. Mick, it was such a surprise! I never expected it! Then I was in a dilhema about whether to try to ID it through my bins or get a photo first!

    Andrew, thanks!

    Denapple, aren't they amazing! I never thought I would actually see one, especially in my yard!

    Eileen, I think it is wonderful also!

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  14. love those cute wrens. and the veery is adorable! reminds me of the european robins in its build. :)

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  15. TexWisGirl, what a great observation! I never thought of that!

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  16. I know how excited you must have been to see two new birds in one day, Kathie. I saw my first wood thrush this year at our feeders and it was a thrill. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a thoughtful comment. :)

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    1. Nancy, it was thrilling and THANK YOU for your visit to my blog!

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  17. Amazing shots! I never knew there was such a thing as a chimney swift. that must be a sight to see.

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    1. Denise, chimney swifts are all over. I wouldn't be surprised if you have them down where you are! they need old chimneys to nest in. You often see them and hear them in the evening as they go out to hunt but I actually see them quite often during the day. They are often described as looking like flying cigars and they were a species of concern for eBird a few years ago. I do not know if that is still true. I often hear them before I see them as they make a sweet twittering sound as they fly overhead. Then I know to look up!

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  18. Beautiful shots of the birds in your back yard!
    :)

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  19. I love the veery and the house wren. They seem to be such tiny birds.
    You have become quite a little bird expert.

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    1. Arija, thanks. I am trying to get better all the time!

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  20. I imagine your backyard is like mine....birdfeeders all over and with it comes a nice weekly expense for the food:) But it's so worth it! Love your pics. Greetings from sunny(and hot!)Tucson:)

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    1. Roherbot, I have actually cut back on the feeders and seed due to the arrival of the blackbirds which scarf it all up! But for me, it is well worth it to buy the feed for the birds in exchange for the chance to see them and hear their beautiful songs!

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  21. Terrific post Kathie, your Veery capture is rock solid! Such a variety too!
    ;-)WBW!

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  22. you have so many birds in your backyard. You are lucky. Love the trush shots

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    1. Naturefootsteps, I was thrilled to see it the thrush!

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  23. Oh what fun Kathie watching the birds! 62 already in your yard!! I havn't counted the ones visiting me but there sure are different sounds that I've not heard before! The oriole are swooming in and out of my woods feeding on the hummer water I put out and the oranges I have on a pick.
    I wake up to the sound of these feathered friends ..this a.m. counted 10 different sounds!
    When I hang out ready to capture them on my camera they never come but as soon as I get back inside they all fly into the various feeders provided...Grrrr...Patience I guess is what's needed.
    Nice visiting you! hugs

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    1. Naturegirls, well I am glad the birds were waiting for you when you arrived home! The orioles are everywhere around here right now. What a pretty sight to see! Thank you for the hug, I am sending you a Hug back!

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  24. Kathie,I well know the thrill to "see" a new bird in your yard!
    Congrats on the Veery "sighting"! Your photos are super.
    I am all smiles from reading this fine post.

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Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.