Sunday, April 5, 2009

Adding Life-Birds to the List ... in the Back Yard!

Add another bird to the Chateau Papillon bird list--this time a "life bird," meaning one I'd seen for the first time in my life.  (And two life birds for Beth; though I'd seen a Purple Finch before, she hadn't.)

I'd planned a morning outing to Huntley Meadows Park followed perhaps by a visit to Monticello Park, both of which are fantastic birding hot spots in the Washington, D.C. area.  We usually like to get to Huntley Meadows no later than 8:00 am, and Monticello no earlier than 10:00 am (due to the best birding times at each), but Beth had a petsitting visit to take care of first--so while she was out, I watched the back yard feeders here at Chateau Papillon.

Our thistle feeder was absolutely loaded with birds; typically, goldfinches are the only visitors to that feeding station, as most other back yard birds have beaks too large to reach through the tiny slits and get at the nyger seed.  But I've been watching the goldfinches closely, and they're almost entirely yellow; these birds had only a splash of yellow on their wings--and had streaking which goldfinches lack.

Ahah--an entire flock of Pine Siskins at the feeder!  I'm sure they are in the process of migrating north and stopped off between weather fronts to "refuel" at our feeders.  A couple were so tame (or hungry!) that they let me approach so closely that I had to switch my Canon EF 300mm f4L lens to "macro" focus.

Topping off the morning of excellent back yard birding, we had a large flock of Purple Finches visiting our black oil sunflower seed station (and giving Beth her second "lifer" of the morning, and my first good photos of the species).

The bird list is now up to 38 species; I'm hoping to hit the mid-40s by the end of April or early May, which will put us well on our way to our goal of 50-60 species--not bad for a back yard!


John Nolley II said...

I just realized that there ought to be 39 Chateau Papillon birds to date; we've had Canada Geese fly over several times. They may not have landed in the yard itself, but they could still be observed from Chateau Papillon; that's the same standard applied to the Turkey Vulture, for example.

John Nolley II said...

And, by that same standard, we're to 40 birds now, as a female Mallard flew over the yard this evening, too. I heard her before I saw her; I'm used to hearing geese overhead here, but this is the first (audible) duck I've noticed.