Pine Siskins in Atascadero

Kevin Zimmer

I’ve been home less than a week after nearly a month Down Under, so this post may be “old news”.  However, as of today, we had at least 8 Pine Siskins attending our feeders, which are the first of the fall at our place.  Last winter we had none, following on the heels of a major Pine Siskin irruption the year before.

No signs here of the Red-breasted Nuthatch irruption that was so obvious in coastal parts of the county back in September, nor have we yet had any White-throated Sparrows turn up in the still growing Zonotrichia flock in the back yard.

Also, following up on Brad Schram’s post from earlier today:  I spent an hour on our deck late this afternoon, and was interested to note a passage of several straggling flocks of high-flying American Robins between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.  I would estimate 150-200 birds total, mostly in groups of 5-20, and all coming from the north and headed due south.  This is what I would expect from southbound migrants, but is quite different from what I’ve witnessed in some previous winters, when daily late afternoon movements of robins (and, during one notable year, Varied Thrushes) came from the east (where the birds may have been feeding in vineyards), flew at low altitude over our property, and disappeared into the hills to our west, presumably to evening roosts.  During my hour of observation today, I also noted 2 small flocks of Cedar Waxwings (6 and 9 birds respectively), but, unlike the robins, they were flying west, into the Coast Range.

Kevin Zimmer

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