Scott, what a remarkable "parade" through your yard, for *any* yard around here (Treasure Valley)..... including a WCSP sub-species “bullyae” =) Your "where am I?" quiz would be a good one......
I thought of doing a similar thing when our Lawrence's Goldfinch / LAGO / showed up in Grand Junction CO, at the same time we had LEGO, AMGO, and PISI at our thistle feeders...... not sure why, but our LAGO attracted birders from the east coast, west coast, gulf coast, yada yada, for two months.... but I'll add that it was a very regular visitor to our thistle and was following a female LEGO around ("following flights") and doing some rapid billing (“mandibulation") with her, as in mating behaviors, resulting in thousands of photos being taken, and two stenos filled with observational notes by visiting birders. As well as a paper published in the Colorado Field Ornithologists Quarterly.
Not sure if anyone remembers my wren quiz from a few years ago, when me and a birding buddy found all of the North American wrens in one day without driving very far. The reason we did that was because one of our first birds of the day in our campground was a Sedge Wren, so off we went to find the others, but that involved *both* being in the right part of the country (S Texas) and the right season (winter-ish) and t’was before Pacific Wren was peeled off from Winter Wren.
BTW, when I first got fascinated by hummingbirds, I went directly home from work every day for years and headed straight into our back yard in Albuquerque, where our hum-feeders were concentrated, and I took notes~notes~notes, filling a 2" binder each year with *just* hummingbird observations because I was well beyond any hope for help from a psychiatrist, hahaha
Thx again Scott for notes on your observations, because it unlocked some of my own deeply buried memories/experiences =)
West Boise Greenbelt
Birds Rock !!!
Nothing like the first cold snap of the year to stir up the bird life. It was a crazy and memorable day here at my place in the Boise Highlands area (Ada County). It’s worth a story so I thought I would share.
Right at first light the continuing ANNA’s HUMMINGBIRD made it’s first of many visits today to my feeders today. I brought the feeders in overnight to keep them from freezing. Out they went a bit before dawn and the Anna’s was right there. Then looking down to the ground under my seed feeders I saw at least 10 Mourning Doves – likely a yard record. There were a similar number of Juncos, whose numbers have been building slowly over the past couple of weeks. White-crowned Sparrow number spiked back up this morning after declining from an initial peak a couple weeks ago. There was a dozen or so – 75% first winter birds. A couple of Song Sparrows were in the mix. Up on the thistle feeder were a couple Pine Siskins and a few Lesser Goldfinches. The sunflower feeder had its attendant House Finches and in the surrounding trees the resident Red-breasted Nuthatches and visiting Black-capped Chickadees where moving around. It was one happy family until a Cooper’s Hawk swooped in also looking for it’s morning meal. That scattered everyone. I had to wonder if the hawk was one of the family that nested across the street this year – which is another story to itself.
Later in the afternoon I looked back out in the yard to see most of the same had returned and were joined by some California Quail. It is fun too see them back in the yard after my usual flock being dispersed or consumed by the Cooper’s Hawk family. Over the past week I have noticed that one White-crowned Sparrow is particularly aggressive. Whenever it fly’s in it chases away whatever birds are where it wants to feed. It is definitely of the sub-species “bullyae”. It was in the feeding group today. And, at one point I watched it go over and grab the tail of one of the quail in its beak and shake away. I have never seen this before and just had to laugh. I had my camera with me but was not able to capture it on “film”. For its part, the quail seem surprised but after the sparrow let go, it just went on feeding with its friends.
This builds up to one of the best 15 minutes of birding in my yard, ever—and I have lived here 26 year. A little before 6PM I saw the ANNA’s HUMMINGBIRD out feeding so I went outside with my camera to get some photos. As I looked down on the ground under the seed feeders there was a BLUE JAY. An all time new one for the yard. I have certainly been following the reports of them all over the state, but I was still shocked to see one in my yard. Unfortunately, I missed getting photos. As I looked around all of the birds from the morning were back, getting an evening meal before a cold night to come. I kept watch hoping the jay would come back but it didn’t. However, a Spotted Towhee came in. I have only a handful of prior yard records. As I kept watch I found the Anna’s perched in a maple tree just in front of me. I can’t wait to see how the photos turned out. A full frame Anna’s among the red and gold maple leaves. Just about then a flock of 20 American Robins flew by going one way and then a few Cedar Waxwings the other way. It was an amazing way to end the day.
I would love to create a quiz – “Where am I where I have an October 26 yard list with: Anna’s Hummingbird, Blue Jay, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Cedar Waxwings”. Or something like that.