Friday, December 22, 2000 - and a year ago - kinda..
Well, time still flies..
- Well, the really big news is that we seem to have two hummers wintering over!
Probably Anna's, a female and a male. Bigger physically than the Rufous hummers we have during the summer, and with *long* primaries; the male scarlet red from the back of his head down his throat and out the side of his neck; scarlet red auriculars (ear patches) standing out distictively at certain angles; female green back, gray breast, a patch at her throat that's red at certain angles..
Been here for six weeks that I'm certain of; I'm keeping the feeder fresh...
At February 20, 2001: they're still here!
And always the usual lot:
- Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees
- Red-breasted Nuthatches
- Spotted (Rufous) Towhees
- Oregon Juncos
- Fox Sparrows
- Steller's Jays at the hanging corn..
- A Red-shafted Flicker that comes to the suet several times a day
- Band-tailed Pigeons feeding on the deck, now that I've taken the plates off the hanging feeders so the Band-tails can't perch on them and eat non-stop as they used to...
- House Finches, and Pine Siskins in for the thistle
- And maybe three or four squirrels in for sunflower seeds off the deck, and for the hanging corn
- And anywhere from one to four raccoons every night, for sunflower seeds and corn..
- And once only so far, in early December, three baby raccoons about the size of soccer balls!
..and the male.
The bird report has been pretty consistent for a long time, which is why I haven't done an update since May (!)...
The Juncos showed up in the fall, down from the top of the Island, just as they always do, and at that time most of the sparrows (Gold-crowned, White-crowned..) went away. The Fox sparrows are year-round..
We had very few American Goldfinches this year, relatively, but billions (I'm *not* exagerating!) of Pine Siskins most of the summer and on into the fall.
The Barn swallows had two batches of babies and left rather early; the hummers (Rufous and Allens..) seemed to leave early -- one day they were here, and it seemed the next they were gone..
A Red-shafted Flicker settled in as a permanent (although skittish..) daily vistor to one of the suet blocks..
The Steller's jays were present in raucous hordes: sometimes five or six at a time, attacking the corn, mainly, and attacking the suet, and just generally being noisy and obtrusive!
And we saw Chipper the Townsend's chipmunk several times this last summer..
Sunday, May 07, 2000 - and a year ago
Well, time flies.. Volleyball, volleyball, building two new computers here at FinchHaven and rebuilding a third and a fourth, and putting in a LAN..
Oh yeah, and working full time off the Island in my spare time ;-)
- Had two hummers lay over for about three weeks in the dead of winter. Hard to ID 'em as they were *very* shy; I guess Anna's..
- First summer hummers showed up March 25; and then consistently after April 8; Rufous males by the buzz; out at the salmon berrys and not yet needing the feeder, but filled it anyway..
- Violet green swallows heard and seen April 17; Barn swallows here in numbers for the last two weeks; nice to see more than in past years. They're sniffing (if that's the right term..) at the swallow shelves I put up under the eaves on the south side of the house maybe 18-20 years ago..
- Hordes of Pine Siskins here for weeks and weeks - they clean out the thistle tube daily.
- First American Goldfinch at the thistle, between the siskins..
- White Crown and Gold Crown Sparrows; and the usual Fox Sparrows
- Spotted (Rufous) Towhees
- Oregon Juncos gone for the summer maybe eight weeks ago..
- Steller's Jays in great numbers at the suet, mostly
- Fewer Band-tailed Pigeons than in past years
- A Black-headed Grosbeak returned in the last several days..
- Tons and tons of squirrels
- and little Chipper the Townsend's Chipmunk reappeared after the winter!
- and Starlings, and Brown-headed Cowbirds...
Sunday, August 15, 1999 - and a year ago
Gotta do an update about our menagerie! These are our current "wild" pets:
- Momma Raccoon and up to five babies at one time, at night! The babies are still about the size of soccer balls!
- Up to four Red Squirrels at one time, during the day..
- and just now, for the first time, two! I always thought there had to be more than one, but I've never seen more than one until today! They are just too cute!
- got a big fat rat yesterday, under the feeders, with the BB gun...
Monday, August 09, 1999 - and a year ago
Whew! Time flies!
- OK: The Barn Swallows have hatched and fledged one clutch, and seem to be sitting a second in the garage!
- The hummers have been gone for -- what? -- three weeks? four weeks? They left even earlier than last year...
- Maybe six or seven juvenile Black-headed Grosbeaks at the feeders and on the deck for sunflower seeds
- and their folks! Lots of Black-headed Grosbeaks this year!
- and maybe three juvenile Spotted (Rufous) Towhees
- and their folks!
- and Fox Sparrow juvies and parents
- and lots and lots of juvenile Steller's Jays! They are too funny! All raucous and vocal!
- and House Finches
- and American Goldfinches at the thistle and for sunflower seeds
- and Pine Siskins returning to the thistle, after having been gone for several months
- Heard the first Bonaparte's Gulls out on the Sound -- a sure first sign of approaching fall..
- and hearing Kingfishers frequently, but haven't yet got a good ID on one..
- and of course, the squirrels!
- and little Chipper the Townsend's Chipmunk is here often, daily!
- and momma Raccoon nightly (once now she's brought two kids -- they're about the size of a soccer ball!
- and damned Starlings at the suet..
- Brown-headed Cowbirds are gone. (I got real militant this year: bought a BB gun -- don't ask...)
Saturday, May 15, 1999 - and a year ago
- Dall's Porpoises heading north 'way out in the Sound!
- Saw a Golden-crowned Sparrow out in the mountain ash in front of the deck by the feeders
- Suddenly the hummers are "back" after being real scarce for a while!
- and a few Brown-headed Cowbirds are here..
- and lots of Pine Siskins
- and House Finches
- and lots of Steller's Jays
- never saw any Black Brants here - didn't see any over at the Fauntleroy ferry dock this year, either..
- but did see a Barn Swallow darting out of the garage!
- and hearing Violet-greens and Barns overhead!
- and Fox Sparrows and Spotted Towhees, and Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, and Band-Tailed Pigeons
- and still with the La Niña deal: it's noticably colder than "normal" - right now at 10:00am it's 49 degrees out on the deck. I just had to order 300 gallons of heating oil as I was running out...
Sunday, April 18, 1999 - and a year ago
Well, two-and-a-half months later...
- Hummers (Rufous and Allens) have been here in force for weeks - probably since around March 20!
- ..and the Juncos are gone for the summer
- Scores of Pine Siskins at the Niger/thistle feeder!
- Raucous Steller's Jays at the suet and the corn and the general feeders..
- A Red-shafted Flicker at the seed feeders daily!
- Saw maybe a dozen Black Brants down at Portage on Easter Sunday, but none here..
- and the usual lot: House Finches; Fox Sparrows; Spotted Towhees; Chestnut-backed Chickadees; Red-breasted Nuthatches; Band-tailed Pigeons; English Sparrows very uncommon this spring; no Brown-headed Cowbirds yet; heard Violet-green Swallows up on top of the Island, but none down here
- and the Squirrels
- and little Chipper!
- and La Niña: it's noticably colder than "normal"
Super Bowl Sunday, January 31, 1999 - and a year ago
Well, four months later...
- Really, not much is going on except winter...
- Lots of Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches at the suet and coming in for sunflower seeds
- Lots of Oregon Juncos, and Spotted (Rufous) Towhees on the deck
- and Fox Sparrows
- House Finches infrequently, and English Sparrows rarely
- Scores of Pine Siskins at the thistle feeder
- Steller's Jays at the suet and at the corn
- A Red-shafted Flicker has figured out one of the seed feeders!
- Some Band-tailed Pigeons, but not as many as in the past!
- Up to five squirrels (!) at at time at the corn
- and raccoons at night!
Saturday, September 20, 1998 - and a year ago
Well, three months later...
- The Barn Swallows only had one clutch, as they did last year..
- The hummers seemed to leave early: all gone by early August..
- The Oregon Juncos are back, so fall is coming even though we're still getting sun-sun-sun and no real rain since - when?
- Lots of Steller's Jays and Red-Breasted Nuthatches at the suet; and Goldfinches at the thistle; and House Finches and English Sparrows and Band-Tailed Pigeons at the seed feeders
- Squirrels at the corn, but little Chipper the chipmunk has been very scarce
- No Black-headed Grosbeaks for quite some time
- But Spotted (Rufous) Towhees
Saturday, June 20, 1998 - and a year ago
- Well, I'm greatly relieved: the Barn Swallows are settling into their nest in the garage.
It was kinda touch-and-go for a while, there are only three (!?) individuals right around our home..
..and when you look at a year ago, last year the babies were just about to fledge! I don't think it looks good for Barn Swallows, here.
I believe they are considered "Threatened"...
- Black-headed Grosbeaks constantly
- American Goldfinches at the new thistle feeder!
- Red-breasted Nuthatches at the feeders and the suet!
- and Steller's Jays at the suet and at the squirrel's corn
We've had as many as six or seven Jays here at once! Many of them are scruffy raucous babies!
- And, not as many hummers as last year..
I'm making fresh nectar 'way before it's even close to half-gone..
Sunday, June 07, 1998 - and a year ago
- Black-headed Grosbeaks here constantly all day long!
- Flocks of Red-Breasted Nuthatches up in the alders, being fed by parents from the suet!
- and Chestnut-backed Chickadees at the suet and at the feeders for sunflower seeds..
- Fox Sparrows and Rufous (Spotted) Towhees on the deck for fallen seed!
- Barn Swallows are set-up in the garage, but there sure are fewer than in years past..
- Rufous Hummers at the feeder constantly!
- Steller's Jays at the suet and eating the corn hung up for the squirrels!
- and the squirrels at the corn also!
- fewer and fewer Brown-headed Cowbirds..
Tuesday, May 12, 1998 - and a year ago
- Black-headed Grosbeaks, late in the evening, at the feeders for sunflower seeds!
- American Goldfinches for sunflower and thistle!
- Fox Sparrow mother and two babies (already? Are they cowbirds? Nah - they're sparrows!)
- Barn Swallows overhead and in the gargage rarely..
- Rufous Hummers at the feeder occasionally, and out and about constantly!
- A Golden-crowned Sparrow at the seed on the deck several times a day!
- House Finches and rarely, House Sparrows!
- No Black Brants..
- Too damn many Brown-Headed Cowbirds..
Sunday, May 03, 1998 - and a year ago
- American Goldfinches at the thistle bag!
- And Pine Siskins!
- No Black Brants..
- Barn Swallows and Violet-Green Swallows overhead!
- A pair of Harlequin Ducks perched on a large rock just awash at high tide!
- Brown-headed Cowbirds in flocks..
- A Rufous Hummer male at the feeder, and several females too!
- Fox Sparrows and House Finches and Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Band-tailed Pigeons at the feeders!
- And Steller's Jays and Red-breasted Nuthatches at the suet!
- Heard and saw a Kingfisher 'way overhead!
- And we can hear the California Sealions barking, hauled-out on the mid-channel buoy 'way down by Three Tree Point!
Sunday, April 26, 1998 - and a year ago
- A Golden-Crowned Sparrow on the deck under the feeders!
- The Brown-headed Cowbirds are starting to appear in small numbers..
- Lots of Steller's Jays at the suet and at the feeders!
- And lots of Fox Sparrows!
- Hearing hummers but not seeing them at the feeder..
- No Brants - have had some Canada Geese flying by north or south..
- Violet-Green Swallows, but no Barn Swallows yet..
- And little Chipper and the squirrels here daily!
Sunday, April 12, 1998 - and a year ago
- The Oregon Juncos are gone up to the top of the Island for the summer..
- Suddenly, very few English (House) Sparrows!
- and suddenly, more House Finches!
- a Fox Sparrow with only one leg..
- haven't seen any hummers at the feeder this weekend..
- no Black Brants yet (..and too damn many jet-skiers roaring by almost every weekend! They'll frighten off the Brants for sure if they arrive..)
- Steller's Jays and Red-breasted Nuthatches and Chestnut-backed Chickadees at the suet!
- no Brown-headed Cowbirds yet..
- and little Chipper is back!
Friday, April 03, 1998 - and a year ago
- Violet-Green swallows heard and seen!
- Rufous Hummer females at the feeder often..
Saturday, March 14, 1998 - and a year ago
- First Hummer! Rufous female, I'd bet..
- A White-Crowned Sparrow!
- Still Oregon Juncos
- Lots of English Sparrows..
- Few House Finches
- Lots and lots of Steller's Jays
- No Black Brants yet..
- Chestnut-Backed Chickadees and Red-Breasted Nuthatches at the suet!
Saturday, March 07, 1998
WHEW! Time flies, what with basketball and birthdays and all... But not a lot has really changed as we slowly slide into spring:
- Still have Oregon Juncos: they'll move back up to the top of the Island by the end of the month and be gone for the summer, just as the hummers start to re-appear (or should re-appear..)
- Lots and lots of English Sparrows, and fewer House Finches
- Fox Sparrows, Chickadees, Kinglets
- Steller's Jays in raucous abundance
- Rufous-sided Towhees, more common out under the brush than at the feeders
- Band-tailed Pigeons very common - often cleaning out their one favorite feeder in a day..
- And that's about it..
- except for the squirrels at the corn by day, and the raccoons at the corn by night!
Saturday, January 17, 1998
- Dall's Porpoises and several Orcas head by traveling north!
Thursday, December 25, 1997
- Saw about 10-12 Black Brants right close to the beach at the Puget Sound side of Portage (Portage is where Vashon Island and Maury Island used not to be joined together..)
Black Brants are a first-sign-of-spring bird and are usually only seen for a few weeks in April or March - maybe it's an El Niño event!
- Chickadees, Towhees, English and Fox Sparrows, House Finches, Oregon Juncos, Steller's Jays
- A solitary female (?) Ruby-Crowned Kinglet at the suet often!
Saturday, December 13, 1997
- Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Oregon Juncos, Fox Sparrows, Rufous-sided Towhees, House Finches, all here in quantity!
- The English Sparrows are still present but not too plentiful
- Band-tailed Pigeons
- and the squirrels for the corn...
- Seabirds: Surf Scoters, Common Goldeneyes, Red-breasted Mergansers, Cormorants (Double-Crested?), Common Loons, Horned Grebes, Western Grebes
- and Great Blue Herons, as always..
Saturday, November 15, 1997
- The full winter group is here: Oregon Juncos, the Chickadees, Pine Siskins, Nuthatches
- And lots and lots of the seabirds!
Sunday, October 12, 1997
- Lots and lots of Oregon Juncos!
- And suddenly lots and lots of English Sparrows - they've been
completely absent for several years, and after one appeared back on August
23 now they're here in flocks!
- House Finches, and Rufous Sided Towhees, and Pine Siskins, and
Chickadees, and Steller's Jays are all very frequent visitors!
- and of course, the squirrels...
Saturday, October 4, 1997
Three Orcas travel by, headed south..
One large male about halfway across the Sound, and two females (one a
juvenile?) much closer to the Vashon side!
Friday, September 20, 1997
- Well, it's really fall!
The first Oregon Juncos are back for the winter. They disappear up to the
top of the Island all summer..
- Lots of House Finches, Fox Sparrows, Black-capped and Chestnut-backed
Chickadees, Steller's Jays, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, some Rufous-sided
- And too many Band-Tailed Pigeons (they clean out the feeders in a
- And the Red Squirrels..
Wednesday, August 27, 1997
- Cool! About 10-12 Common Terns out over the Sound feeding on herring
"Common" Terns aren't that common here!
Saturday, August 23, 1997
Whew! Time Flies..
- The Barn Swallows have been gone for two-three weeks. They only
hatched one brood of babies this year for the first time - they've done
two batches for as long as I can remember - 18 years...
- Many juvenile Steller's Jays at the feeders and the suet
- The Black-headed Grosbeaks and juveniles have become infrequent
- Rufous-sided Towhees are more common
- Many Fox Sparrows - I put a pan of water down on the deck which they
- An English Sparrow (male) for the first in many years!
- We can hear the first Bonaparte's Gulls out on Puget Sound! A sure
sign of impending autumn
- The Hummers are very scarce - maybe one or two left, seen rarely..
- The American Goldfinches will clean out the thistle bag in a day -
wonder why, because the wild thistle up in the woods has gone to seed..
August 10, 1997
- Fifty years old today! Thank you! Thank you! Nothing to it, really,
just wake up every morning, and the rest takes care of itself..
- Well, it's clear the Barn Swallows are not going to lay a second batch
of eggs. That's not good..
Sunday, July 6, 1997
- A probable White-winged Scoter!
- American Goldfinches, Evening Grosbeaks, Blackheaded Grosbeaks,
Red-Breasted Nuthatches at the feeders!
- The Barn Swallow babies have fledged!
The parents will probably lay a second clutch as soon as the babies are
out of the nest over-night!
- Many baby Fox Sparrows!
- Maybe fewer hummers at the feeder!
Sunday, June 22, 1997
- Four to six nuthatches at the suet at one time!
- Evening Grosbeaks, and Blackheaded Grosbeaks!
- The Barn Swallow nest in the garage is stuffed with little
They'll probably fledge any day now!
Monday, June 16, 1997
- Nuthatches, Grosbeaks, Goldfinches, Housefinches, Towhees, Steller's
Jays, Chickadees, Fox Sparrows all here constantly!
- Baby Barn Swallows heard peeping from a nest in the garage!
- Hummers at the feeder constantly!
Sunday, June 8, 1997
- A pair of Red-Breasted Nuthatches are at the suet constantly!
- A pair of Black-Headed Grosbeaks are here for sunflower seeds every
- A juvenile Stellar's Jay (very raucous!) is trying to figure out the
- Filling the hummer feeder daily..
- Saw more Dall's porpoises, again heading north..
Wednesday, June 4, 1997
On a lunch-time walk in the Green River Riparian Belt, in Renton,
Washington, saw a new bird for my life list:
a Common Yellowthroat!
A very striking warbler-like bird: very yellow throat and breast,
olive-gray back and tail; and a wide black mask across the face. Its call
is something like a goldfinch's...
Saturday, May 24, 1997
- A pod of Dall's porpoises cruises by headed north!
Friday, May 23, 1997
- The Black-Headed Grosbeaks are at the feeders constantly!
- The Hummer Wars have evolved into a battle between two mature Rufous
males, and a large number of what I'm now sure are adolescent Rufous
- American Goldfinches, House Finches, Chickadees and Fox Sparrows are
Saturday, May 10, 1997:
- Cool! Two Black-Headed Grosbeaks!
- The Barn Swallows are settling into the garage...
- Hummer Wars at the feeder! 3-4 Immature Rufous males (?) at one time!
- Cedar Waxwings heard and seen!
- American Goldfinches...
- Brown-headed Cowbirds...
Saturday, May 3, 1997:
The first American Goldfinch at the thistle!
- 3-4 Anna's (?) hummingbird females at one time!
(Or are these immature Rufous males: they've got green backs, rusty
sides, white bellies, and a red patch and red streaks on their throats)
- Damn: suddenly, Brown-headed Cowbirds in quantity...
Sunday, April 27, 1997:
- No Brants at all..
- Harlequin Ducks!
Friday, April 25, 1997:
- Three Harlequin Ducks!
- Both Violet-Green, and Barn Swallows are here constantly!
Wednesday, April 23, 1997:
- Several dozen Black Brants!
- Saw two Canada Geese (first time ever out here on Puget Sound..)
- Chipper is back!
We thought he had been eaten by the Red Squirrels!
Sunday, April 20, 1997:
- Perhaps two dozen black brants are foraging for sea lettuce down off
- Barn swallows sighted down here on the water!
- Hummers constantly...
- A California sealion drifted by, basking in the sun with its
right-side flippers up in the air!
- Very few brown-headed cowbirds so far (wheew..)
Saturday, April 12, 1997:
- Well, no brown-headed cowbirds after the one..
- Rufous and Anna's Hummers everywhere outside..
- Nope - no brants..
- Violet-green swallows up on top of the Island, but no Barns..
Saturday, April 05, 1997:
- Damn.. the brown-headed cowbirds are back..
- Saw a Rufous Hummer male at the feeder!
- No Black Brants.. I'm concerned.. They've been diminishing in number
each year for years and years...
Saturday, March 29, 1997:
- We're hearing hummingbirds constantly today! Haven't had more than a
glimpse at the feeder, so no clear ID...
- I think the Oregon Juncos are gone up to the top of the Island for the
summer. I can't say I saw any today...
- Didn't see any brants...
Though I heard some swallows (maybe Violet-greens) up on top of the
Saturday, March 22, 1997:
- Four Black Brants! The first this spring!
- A Hummer!
It was either an Anna's or Rufous female.
Quick! Boil some water! Fill the feeder!
Back to the Top
|Great Blue Herons
Back to the Top
Oregon Juncos are gone!
(They go up to the top of the Island for the summer..)
|Rufous-sided (Spotted) Towhees
|really big Crows
||Robins (well, duh..)
|Seen Less Often:
||Great Horned Owls
Back to the Top
|American Goldfinches! (Actually, they are kinda common year-round!)
|Anna's and Rufous Hummers!
Back to the Top
|Peafowl! (or one pea-hen, for a couple days...
|Lazuli bunting (seen once, one winter..)
|Rufous Hummers in mid-winter, every coupla years!
|Winter 2000: Anna's hummingbirds winter over!
Back to the Top
|Starlings at the suet..
|Brown-headed cowbirds present a moral dilemma: do I let the feeders go empty until they're gone -- which will be for months -- or buy a pellet gun?
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