Friday, January 03, 2014

Snowed In

Mourning Doves during the snow storm
I have been unable to get free to pursue any of the Snowy Owls which have irrupted into the Northeast this winter. In fact, yesterday's winter nor'easter with its foot of snow precluded almost all venturing beyond the warm walls of the house.

That's okay, because there has been plenty to do just watching the birds in the back yard. There has been no winter finch presence this winter, but the variety of sparrows has been notable. Juncos are always present in numbers, but this year several American Tree Sparrows have been regular, as have White-throated Sparrows. The White-crowned Sparrow first seen in early December continues.

Best of all has been the Fox Sparrow. Probably my favorite sparrow, it generally makes brief stops during Spring and Fall migration. For the first few days, it kept to the brushy edge of the yard, but as the snow has continue to accumulate it has moved into the open ...

Fox Sparrow - Red (Taiga)

... and yesterday, it became a true "feeder" bird, scratching seeds on the platform feeder, and as the photo shows, un-intimitated by the much larger Mourning Doves which crowd the platform, and often chasing off juncos, goldfinches, white-throats, and even Blue Jays ...

Fox Sparrow on the platform feeder with Mourning Dove and junco

A few additional images ...

White-throated Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

American Tree Sparrow
Chickadees are unfazed by all the visiting "snow birds," always finding a free feeder somewhere to grab a seed, then head to a branch to pound it open ...

Black-capped Chicadee
Good birding in the year ahead!


Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

My brother in Brattleboro says you got about 10". We got 23 in Ipswich, so I'm snowed in. I'm pleased to say that I just got my life Snow Owl this morning at 11:30 out on the salt marsh in our "front yard".

There has been one hanging around in Gloucester on Fort Square where I used to live!

Kelly said...

I love that Fox Sparrow. I keep waiting for one to visit our yard--at least we have the American Tree Sparrows now! (I keep hoping for a Snowy too! :-)


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