Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The bird in the photo above looks pretty dapper, crest under control, but my husband usually remarks that these guys look like they are having a bad-hair day In this photo that usually unruly crest looks pretty smooth, like it's had a good conditioning treatment.
I wonder if they chose their spot too quickly. In the picture here you can see their house hanging from a fiddlewood shrub/tree (middle of photo) that is very close to the deck where I spend a lot of time. I spent most of the day today walking in the yard and driveway, looking at the fabulous migrants that were making rest-stops here, so I wasn't on the deck. When I did sit out there briefly, I think the flycatchers were disturbed that I was so close. If I'd thought they would use this box, I wouldn't have put it so close to the house. We'll see how it works out.
The Curve-billed Thrashers have a nest in the yucca (Spanish Dagger) at the end of the driveway of the neighbors to our east. I think theirs is completed. I don't know if there are eggs yet and of course I won't get close enough to look. Both birds are always close by.
The Kiskadee nest in the Ebony tree is complete. It is just a tree or two away from the Altamira Oriole's nest.
After reporting on several suspected nest sites for the Black-crested Titmice I can now say that I have no idea where they are actually nesting!
We have two pairs of Hooded Orioles that appear to be building nests in the Palm trees though I'm not sure which ones. I still see them visiting all of them. I think one pair is building in a tree near the road and one in a tree on the river side of the house.
I was hoping today would be a five oriole day, but the Bullock's Oriole we saw Thursday was not still around. So Altamira, Hooded, Orchard, and Baltimore graced the yard today. But I'll take a four-oriole day any time!
What can be more fabulous than a four-oriole day? An eight-warbler day!
Before we left town last Thursday we had seen very few migrating warblers in the yard. I knew from Texbirds, however, that birders were seeing them on the Island, so when we returned home on Sunday evening, I headed for the yard. By the time I reached the end of the drive, a Kentucky Warbler had flown in for a bath and a Blue-winged Warbler flitted across the driveway. A good omen, I thought.
But yesterday, no warblers! It was a good day in lots of other ways (we added nonwarblers to the 2010 yard list: Chimney Swifts and Common Nighthawks flew over the yard; a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, black and white tail streaming, flew into the smaller brasil tree, home perhaps for the summer; and the Brown-Crested Flycatchers arrived to start their summer work of raising a family.)
Today more than made up for the warblerless frustration of yesterday. We had eight warbler species by the time the afternoon was over. Of course most were too high in the trees or too skitterish to capture in photos, but I can see them each clearly in my mind's photos (which are never out of focus or underexposed).
Northern Parula flitted into the fiddlewood behind one of the birdbaths. Its green back and yellow breast with that reddish band made a colorful spot in the cloudy grayness of the morning. A Yellow-throated Warbler popped up in my binoculars as I was scanning a palm leaf for a Hooded Oriole. A Black and White Warbler scurried up and down the tallest oak tree in the front-yard bird garden, along with a Cerulean Warbler that I thought for awhile was another black and white. It was high in the tree, silhouetted against an overcast but brightening sky. (That's it in the photo to the right. Too bad its cerulean blue back isn't showing, but the white belly and throat with the side stripes and neckband are nice.) A Worm-eating Warbler scurried around in the leaves by the saucer bath and then across the driveway. A Yellow Warbler and a Blue-winged Warbler busily searched for insects in a tangle of Esperanza and Mexican Caesalpinia trees in the bird garden. A Canada Warbler skittered in the tree tops.
By the time the day was drawing to a close, the skies had cleared. Look how the evening sun illuminates the crests of the Cedar Waxwings. Someone farther north is waiting for them to return to nest in their summer home.