Generally, these guys show-up when the mountain weather is particularly bad. That said, they've been here for a good week since the last snow storm, but their numbers dwindled from around 500+ to maybe just 250 pink-butts that come and go before long before noon.
Yesterday morning only 100 or so showed up in the early morning and were gone by 10 o'clock. Late morning visitors did manage to see the Lewis's Woodpecker, a few Evening Grosbeaks, a Cassin's Finch and several other woodpeckers, but were disappointed not to see Rosies. Early afternoon visitors didn't see much at all.
This morning 100-200 Rosies showed up, along with at least as many Red-winged Blackbirds. The flock of blackbirds grew, but the Rosies were gone by ten o'clock. And then the snow started. I was absolutely tickled that the Rosy-Finches came back; first time they've visited in the afternoon in over a week! All three continue to come...including the Coastal or 'Hepburn's' variant. They are such a delight to have back. I just hope we get lots of snow because some folks plan to stop by Monday and Tuesday...early. I'm thinking they might just get to see hundreds of the pink-butts.
While watching the birds and cursing the big, weedy gluttons, I noticed a bright splash of color and realized there was another fairly good-sized bird in the yard that I'd never seen before! A first!
I have seen Meadowlarks before, just not in my yard, so it was easy to find the bird in my field-guides, but not so easy to determine if this was an Eastern or a Western Meadowlark, as their areas apparently overlap here. I felt better when I read that basically the easiest way to tell them apart is by their song, but they weren't singing in the snow.
It was pretty neat watching these big birds feeding; they'd slam their rather large bill down into the grassy mud and open it...looking all the time for what might turn up. They worked the yard from one side to the other and stayed through several rounds of blackbirds, starlings, pigeons (that's what I call Eurasian Collared-Doves out of total disrespect) and Rosy-Finches all winging up and back all in unison rather like schools of fish.
What a treat, huh.