Fun spring afternoon

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Carma Sue Henry

Mar 22, 2023, 11:32:27 PMMar 22
to Mid-Valley Nature
A spate of really loud thunder got us outdoors early this afternoon.  The western sky was mostly clear while some very black clouds were rumbling up against the foothills to the east.  No lightning from our viewpoint, and only a spit of rain, but quite noisy.  

So, since we were already outdoors, it was pretty hard to go back inside to finish our chores. We circled the house a few times to see what was going on.  We have chairs set up at several different vantage points - so we can walk then sit, walk and sit some more... neighbors must think we're nuts!  Daffodils (big Thank You to previous owners) are up in force.  The Indian plum flowers are just starting to open.  Buds on most everything else are swelling and greening up.  We got so involved with the stuff around the yard that we didn't even make it down to the creek to see what else is happening.

Two Red-tailed Hawks made lots of passes, circling and 'hovering' into the wind - then getting chased by some of their bold little neighbors.  Yesterday we startled one up off the lawn and it spent several minutes screeching at us.  I'm assuming this is the pair we watched doing their talon grappling mid-air dance a couple of months ago.  I hope they're nesting nearby!  No sign of the resident Sharp-shinned Hawk for about a week.  I wonder if this more recent pair of RTH's have pushed it out.  

A couple of skeins of geese went by.  The wind was so strong we barely heard them approach, but then they were easy to hear after they were well past.  

We saw our first Rufus hummer and a Chipping Sparrow today.  Also saw a single White-crowned Sparrow in with the Golden-crowned's yesterday.  We often see a few White-throated Sparrows in the group, but never a WCS.  The WCS's were much more common in Seattle and when we visited higher elevations in the Cascades, so it was surprising to see one here.

One of the Black Phoebes returned today and has taken up the same fence post territory a pair used last year.  They look like they're dressed in a cut-away tuxedo.  The flocks of Red-winged and Brewer's Blackbirds are back in force, though there are always a few all winter.  They're getting bolder about competing with the resident Acorn Woodpeckers (a family of about five or six) for time and space on the suet.

We've had several Yellow-rumped Warblers (both Myrtle and Audubon's) over-wintering this year; but have not seen a single Pine Siskin.  The House Finches and Purple Finches are coloring up - makes it easier (though still not easy) to tell them apart.

We haven't seen the Oriole at the hummer feeder since the first and only sighting a few days back.  I've been going through the online info and I'm fairly sure it was a first summer male Hooded.  I'm working on how to post the photos.  Maybe it was blown north by all the storms in California.  Hope it has found it's way safely back home.

We finally saw where the little flock of seven Bluebirds are hanging out when not at the suet feeders.  They've taken up in a large old log fence post.  I've read that, during winter, they huddle together in hollows at night.  These are still hanging together as a group - don't seem to have paired off yet.  They've gotten really accustomed to us and come in to the feeders as soon as they're filled, even as we're still standing there.

Well, that was one nice afternoon.  Chores can wait for a rainy day!

Carma Henry
Logsden Ridge
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