Friday, August 9, 2013

The New and the Old: Recent Visitors

Hard to believe it is August already, many species that breed here at 8,000 feet are on the move, and over the last week most of the male Rufous Hummingbirds have moved on , replaced by females and juveniles.

I've seen a lot of young birds like this Cassin's Finch coming around the bird bath the past few weeks. Looks like this one has just a hint of pink starting to show up on its face, indicating it would be a male.

I can only guess that this Pygmy Nuthatch is a hatch year bird as I hadn't seen it around until last week. And I'm pretty sure I would have noticed a partially leucistic (reduced feather pigmentation) Pygmy Nuthatch if it had been around before. Normally the folded wings are blue-gray with black edges.

Among the first to find the water when I put it out in the spring are the Townsend's Solitaires, and their young start showing up not long after they fledge. The speckled bird at top is a fledgling Solitaire and the adult - with pretty tattered feathers - is below. I think it must be close to the time for molting . . . 

Speaking of tattered feathers, the adult Western Bluebirds are not only showing worn feathers, but they've faded quite a bit compared to how the look in spring. I haven't been able to get any photos of this year's bluebird offspring, but it must have been a good year as I've seen quite a few young ones around.

I have had a couple of species regularly visiting my yard this year that I've seen only occasionally in the past: House Finches and Lesser Goldfinches. The male (top) and female goldfinches have been here all summer and the young birds (bottom) have been coming around for a few weeks now.

To wrap things up, this bird is the latest new visitor to show up. It had apparently been here for a few days, though I had yet to see it, though I thought something was up earlier this week when I came home from work and found the bee guards from this hummingbird feeder on the ground. I replaced them, but they were right back on the ground the next day. I was puzzled, but sitting around watching the bird bath, I saw this bird fly in and land on the feeder. Turns out it must have been too hard for a young Bullock's Oriole to get to the nectar with those darn bee guards, so the bird managed to pull them out and toss them aside. (I decided to go ahead and just leave one out so it'll have an easier time).

This next month should start to get interesting since a lot of birds seem to be on the move around North America. As I was typing this I thought I heard a Yellow Warbler calling, and of course I broke to look, but couldn't find it. Time to keep those eyes and ears open for migrants!


  1. Wonderful post and photos Keven - love the pygmy nuthatch - a real cutie

  2. A beautiful series of birds! Excellent photographs! The orioles pull off parts of our hummingbird feeders for easier access, as well.