Little Red Hat

The last three weeks did not go according to plan which is why I’ve been missing for so long. Long story short I thought I was moving into a new place but the deal fell through so then it was a mad scramble to figure out a contingency plan. I keep realizing I accidentally put *insert item here* in storage but there is no way I’m going to get it out now so I’ll just have to make due or get another one. The Thanksgiving holiday has helped me decompress a bit though after all the chaos which is nice. Good food and good company can do wonders for one’s mood.

The one birding-related plus out of all of this is that I get to now routinely watch the feeders and see who comes to visit. The photo quality isn’t the best since it’s through a window but I was happy to catch a few of the visitors to our feeding set up. We have a veritable army of House Sparrows, House Finches and Dark-eyed Juncos that keep visiting us. I’m holding out for a visit from the Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins that are being reported in the area but so far no luck. Snowy Owls are already down here from the Arctic which is crazy so I’m going to have to make a point of going out and trying to find another one to take pictures of.

I finally caught one of the resident woodpeckers visiting which I was very pleased about. Mr. Downy Woodpecker hammered away at the presumably frozen suet for awhile. I do really enjoy his little red hat – it amuses me.

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Sparrows Everywhere!

The stress of trying to move while dealing with school and work has been getting to me so I knew if I could get my lazy butt out of bed this morning for some birding it would help me feel better. I haven’t been doing the things I love lately (like birding)  because of my stress level but by not birding and other things the stress seems worse. This morning’s birding session was all about getting back to the basics and decompressing. The trip was cold but absolutely gorgeous with the low rising sun peeking through the trees. There were mixed flocks of sparrows, finches, cardinals and others everywhere so the trip was a fruitful one. There had been a Harris’ sparrow rumored to be in the area but he did not make an appearance for me this morning. I did however get a new species for my lifelist, White-Crowned Sparrow, which was awesome. Additionally the White-Throated Sparrows and the Song Sparrows were extremely cooperative and posed for many photos. I had a lot of fun just watching all of them jostling around and picking at tasty bits on the trail. I’m so glad I went out this morning – I really needed this reset to help prepare for the upcoming week.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the day.

Woodchucks Climb Trees?

I dragged myself out of bed this morning to go birding and was glad I did, even though it was a pretty quiet morning with not a lot of bird activity. What was really notable about this particular trip was seeing a woodchuck up a tree. And not just kind of up a tree a little bit oh no – he was at least 10 feet in the air. I have never seen or heard of a woodchuck doing that before. I like to think that he is the same sassy woodchuck that visited my patio not that long ago. In addition to him there was what looked like a red squirrel up high in another tree not too far away. I didn’t think red squirrels were this far north but he looked kind of weird like maybe a hybrid?

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I know people have asked the question about the woodchuck chucking wood, but have they ever asked how high can a woodchuck climb if a woodchuck could climb trees?

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The one bird-related highlight of the trip was a new species of warbler for me which was a lot of fun. I was bummed though that I couldn’t sneak closer for a better picture before a dog walker flushed the warbler away. 😦 That is always the risk though on this particular trail I go to since it sees a lot of activity human-wise. Oh well. Yay for a new species! If you look closely you can make out the identifying marks of the Canada Warbler.

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Where Did August Go?

I cannot believe that August is basically already on its way out the door – what happened to summer? What happened to school-free days without homework and students all over the place? I’m not ready for school to be back in session whether it’s my own classes or the students returning to my place of work. This month has been rough in terms of workload and stress since we are gearing up for the fall semester. I’ve been heavily preoccupied trying to look for a permanent place of habitation which is positively distracting me from work somewhat. The stress though is still very unpleasant.

I’ve already heard rumblings of fall migration. People have been posting sightings of Rufous Hummingbirds, White-face Ibis, and Red Knots to my birding group’s Facebook page. I never knew Rufous Hummingbirds really came through Wisconsin but apparently they do. I would love to get a chance to see one.

One of the highlights from a recent birding trip was what looked to be the family home of a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers. One of the adults was hanging out at the entrance. I didn’t get to see the family all together so it’s hard to tell for sure how many babies are still around (if any). I did like seeing the nest hole though. Maybe they will be back next year.

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Wish I’d had a better zoom on my camera for the shot to be more detailed but getting a 400mm+ zoom lens is a ways out in the future for me right now. Hopefully someday though. I would love love love to be able to post pictures similar to some of the ones that show up in my birding group where you can basically count the birdy eyelashes.

Momma Hummingbird

I wanted to share this video with y’all. I know I have been pretty absent of late and I apologize for that. There are a lot of things rattling around in my life that are overtaking my birding and I really need to get back to basics. This time of year is stressful in general with the upcoming semester looming. Additionally our office is short staffed and trying to train the newly hired replacements is taking a lot of time away from my normal duties. I really need to get back on my birding to help slough off the crap from the day.

A few days ago someone posted this video to my birding group of a momma hummingbird feeding her baby. The size of what that baby should be just blows my mind considering how tiny his mother is. The video is fairly old but I enjoyed it nonetheless.