A new year and a new bird list! My resolutions include keeping better track of the bird activity in my yard this year. My thirteen-year yard list has 250+ species, but the new birds are few and far-between now--which doesn't mean watching the yard is any less fun.
What I want to do this year is keep an electronic record of what I see and when I see it, so that next year when I wonder "when is the Pelican Parade going to start?" I'll be able to look up last year's dates. (In case you are wondering, what I call the Pelican Parade here on the Arroyo Colorado is the wonderful streaming of White Pelicans along the river on winter nights: flying past the fishing lights and docks in groups of three or four or maybe a couple of dozen, stopping to fish under the lights and paddle around with those unseen but powerful webbed feet, their white reflections shining against the black river. Some nights we see only a few; some nights, especially after a norther has blown in, we see hundreds.)
The year's first bird was an Altamira Oriole on the hummingbird feeder.
It was joined momentarily by a Kiskadee. The Kiskadees are going crazy for the bright gold berries of the scheffleras at the side of the house. As always when there's a new crop of berries (fiddlewood, Barbados cherry, turk's cap--they love them all), these berry-lovers are at war with the mockingbirds.
I'm posting some pictures I took today. I wanted to get a photo of the the Kiskadees eating the berries from the large shefflera plants. (Most of our yard plants are native to South Texas, and of course the sheffleras aren't, but they have such lovely golden berries every Christmas and don't seem to be invasive, so we let them stay.)
The birds flew away when I went out on the porch to take the picture, but you can see the golden berries near the stair railing and in the foreground a blooming papaya tree that the hummingbirds are loving. Two Kiskadees remained on the electric wire above, calling loudly. I did get a photo of a very excited Kiskadee on the wire, showing its golden crest.I think maybe it is excited about the other kiskadee and not the berries. (My photos are not the best, but you get the idea.) The way the bird thrust up its usually hidden gold crest was really cool. Almost everything about Kiskadees is cool: I love the big football-shaped nest they made in the anacua tree last summer and the way they say "Oh boy!" and the way they stand up to the bully mockingbirds and gobble up the berries and the way they swoop down and then up when they cross the driveway from one bath to the other.