The Buff-bellied Hummingbird that became our first bird of the New Year yesterday morning had to get up early to beat this guy: the little Yellow-throated Warbler that won the honors a few years ago. Maybe his calendar is a day off--this morning he was the first bird I saw when I went out on the front deck. The sun rose at 7:16 this morning--and this photo was taken less than four minutes later. Using the camera's flash, I was able to get a picture that shows both the bird and the interesting berries.
But today the birds were as attracted to the fruit as I was--me for the beauty of the green-turning-orange berries; the birds for little insects drawn to the sticky sweet fruits. Today's photos have the missing element--birds!
The fruit will get more orange still as it continues to ripen. Some berries attract birds for the fruit, some for the insects they lure. This one will eventually attract the Golden-fronted Woodpeckers that eat the berries and maybe Green Jays and Grackles. It'll be interesting to watch and see what other birds are drawn by the magnet.
A Pine Warbler and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet lit briefly on the palm, too, but I wasn't quick enough to capture them in that pose. I did get the warbler investigating a flowerpot.
That's the kinglet on the bath with the tiny yellow feet grasping the dripper hose. I had never noticed before that they wear "golden slippers"--in a much smaller size than Snowy Egrets of course.
The most exciting bird of the day was one I didn't see in the yard at all last year. In fact, I've seen it only twice before--the Clay-colored Thrush. (The last time I saw one, it was still called the Clay-colored Robin and was considered rare enough that it was on the state's rarities list.) Though it remained in the yard, and the neighbor's yard, for quite a while this afternoon eating ripe red berries from the Brazilian Pepper tree, I didn't have my camera. (I was getting error messages and had to charge the batteries.)
[Edited on Monday morning: When I first went out to walk the driveway this morning, the Clay-colored cutie was right there on the bird bath. Too early for good light, too late to remember a tripod, too far away for a flash, but I did the best I could. The color shows fairly well--isn't it lovely? The interesting greenish bill is also apparent. I intend to continue my paparazzi-like stalking throughout the day.]
Tomorrow I'll be stalking the elusive bird with camera in hand and hope to have a picture of the really pretty robin.
I'll finish with one more photo of a Buff-bellied Hummingbird, the early bird that was yesterday's New Year's baby, er..birdy. This one was sitting in the same fiddlewood as yesterday making its soft little call (unusual because it has a typically loud call that I described yesterday). Notice how its green throat is bluish? Some field guides don't even mention that bluish throat. Maybe they haven't seen it in the early morning sun along the banks of the Arroyo Colorado.