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Monday, February 18, 2013

GBBC - Day 4

I feared that the excellent weather we had had for the last few days would not last and, indeed, today it ended. Much of the day was rainy and misty and windy, not good conditions for counting birds.

I didn't actually get outside to count until after 3:00 P.M., but then I stayed out until the sun set. Maybe I should have done that every day, because it turned out I had my best count of the weekend, ending up with 33 species on my list. Five of them were new for the weekend yard count: Red-breasted Nuthatch, Snowy Egret (flyover), White-throated Sparrow, Black-bellied Whistling Duck (flyover), and the star of my weekend, a Common Yellowthroat. In all the years that I have participated in this count, I have never before had a Common Yellowthroat on my yard's count.

Conditions were not optimal for photographing the birds, but I was able to record one visitor that I was very happy to see.

My favorite backyard dove, the Mourning Dove. They are pretty scarce in my yard these days, so it is always an event to have one drop in.

The bird was very wary and kept one eye on the sky, as well he should have because the Cooper's Hawk was on the hunt. A few minutes after I took these pictures, the hawk swooped in and the birds at the feeder, including my dove, exploded into the air. My heart was in my throat as I watched the hawk chase the dove. I felt sure that he was going to catch it, but then the dove swerved and made it to the safety of a tangle of vines and I realized I had been holding my breath as the hawk veered away, still hungry. I do realize that hawks have to eat, too. Just, please, not my Mourning Doves. Now, if it had been a White-winged Dove...

After that little drama, the yard was very quiet for several minutes. Finally, birds began to warily drift back to the feeders. One of the first was a White-throated Sparrow, the first one I had seen in the yard this weekend.

Late in the day, the largest flock of Cedar Waxwings I had seen this weekend - 24 - landed in one of my trees.

Three of the waxwings, their feathers ruffled by the wind.

Just as the sun was setting, a Snowy Egret flew over the yard, headed for his roost. Not long after, eight Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flew over, my last recorded species of the weekend. Unless I happen to hear/see an owl tonight.


  1. Mourning Doves are now scarce in our neighborhood but we, too, got one at the weekend.

    1. These beautiful doves are always welcome visitors.