Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy May Day!

Got a dusting of snow again last night; I prevented the nectar feeders from freezing (again) by bringing them in when it got dark. I wait till then because it never ceases to amaze me how late hummingbirds will feed into the evening. I just have to remember to get the feeders back out as soon as it's light. Those poor little things need sustenance as soon as they wake up from the torpor they enter to keep from freezing, themselves.

On April 29th I came home from work (it was trying to snow again), dropped my stuff off, walked through the house, came around the corner and found myself face-to-face with the most beautiful, male Bullock's Oriole I've ever seen. He was at a nectar feeder just outside my kitchen window (I always drill out every other feeder-port for the orioles). He stayed several minutes while I watched him. He was so richly colored his chest looked as orange as burning embers; a warm russet so brignt one could hardly call it yellow. There's another FOS for me...and he's back this morning, too. Yummmmmmmm... I've not seen the female yet (she looks like an entirely different bird), but they bred here last year, so she can't be far behind!

Also here yesterday were a couple of Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Since I try very hard, if unsuccessfully, not to feed the darn blackbirds (Red-wings, Grackles and Cow Birds), I don't often see them anymore. They are a stunning looking bird, though. I just love this shot (however blurry) I got sometime ago when one chest-bumped with a grackle. Crazy...

The Broad-tailed Hummingbird showed up on the same day I saw him last year, but the Black-chinned seemed a day or two late. Still...the FOS for both birds was still late April!

Not seen this April (but that were here last April), were Rose-breasted and Black-headed Grosbeaks, Lazuli Buntings and larger numbers of Lesser Goldfinches - the sleek, black-backed variety. I'll keep an eye out; can't be long now.

Total species for April was 46 birds and included:

Yellow-headed Blackbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Bullock's Oriole, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Cassin's Finch, Mallard *, Brown-headed Cowbird, Chipping Sparrow, Violet-green Swallows *, Yellow-rumped Warbler - Audubon's, Great-tailed Grackle, Lesser Goldfinch - Black-backed, Red-tailed Hawk, Canada Geese *, Northern Pintail *, Gadwall *, Great Blue Heron *, Common Grackle, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Belted Kingfisher *, Turkey Vulture, Song Sparrow, Pine Siskins, Common Raven, Red-winged Blackbird, American Robin, Evening Grosbeak, Black Rosy-Finch, Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Blue Jay, American Crow, White-winged Dove, American Goldfinch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Mountain Chickadee, Hairy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Northern Flicker - Red + Yellow-shafted, Downy Woodpecker, Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch, Black-billed Magpie, European Starling, House Sparrow, Eurasian Collared-Dove. ( * = Flyover )


Bosque Bill said...

Just got my first Black-headed Grosbeak of the season, yesterday (May 1st.)

Beverly said...

Lucky you! Is that late for you? I notice last year, I had both Rose-breasted AND Black-headed (along with the Evening) Grosbeaks before the end of April. Everything seems late this year... For you?

Bosque Bill said...

Lots of folks have been reporting late migration this year, but Central NM seems to be running close to on schedule.

Our Black-chinned Hummingbirds were right on time (I have about 10, now.) I saw both Black-headed Grosbeak and Summer Tanager in the bosque last week - on time.

I think I got a glimpse of a Western Tanager on Friday, but not sure. It's time for those to pass through.

The swallows were slightly later than usual, but not remarkably so.

I'm using eBird's "arrivals & departures" bar graphs to supplement my memory. Great resource in their "View and Explore Data" page.

Beverly said...

I have GOT to seriously start using e-bird! How do you guys keep track of 'last seen' or 'departure dates'? You'd have to list all the birds you see every day, no? ...well, or keep track on paper, at the very least.

Bosque Bill said...

For an individual, keeping a 'last seen' date can be problematic. I usually try to go back and note that in my personal database, but more often than not I forget.

The way eBird is supposed to work is that everyone fills the online checklist for each observation (casual, bird walk, tour, etc.) Then with all that data taken over all those days, the trends can be determined.

I'm not real good about that myself. I'll log a list for times I'm out in the field, but rarely do that for observations in my yard.