28 Dec 2011

It's a first

House Sparrows at the feeder
There hasn't been much to see in the way of birds for me lately, despite unseasonably warm weather.  This is a first for me.   I can't begin to tell you how strange it is not to see or hear a single bird for days at a time.  Even the Chickadees, the most reliable of all winter birds, weren't around, nor the Blue Jays or the Magpies.  Although my bird feeders are certainly being emptied rapidly, letting me know that the birds are out there, I was beginning to feel deprived.

The only birds I have spied at the feeders in the past couple of weeks have been House Sparrows.  Don't get me wrong, I like House Sparrows just fine, but I did wonder where all the other birds got to.  I do have a variety of different seed in each feeder and three different feeder types, including a suet feeder.  I should have been seeing a larger variety of birds.

Red Breasted Nuthatch got the prize
So on boxing day I decided to go out in search of them. I didn't go all that far, just to the little forest down the street.  Ironically enough the first bird I saw when my feet touched the path through the little forest was a House Sparrow.  However, this was followed almost immediately by the call of a woodpecker.   Either a Northern Flicker or a Pileated, they sound remarkably alike.  Hearing it's call brightened my day, although I never did see it.  As I followed it's call, I spied a Red Breasted Nuthatch, which was followed by a Blue Jay and then I suddenly had an abundance of birds all around me.

Blue Jay
 A Raven calling from a tree top,  House Finches, Chickadees and a flock of Bohemian Waxings flying overhead. Oh boy, what joy and all the time the woodpecker kept calling as it moved around the forest and I followed.  In and amongst this abundance of birds I discovered a bird that seemed like it should be familiar but was new instead.  It moved and behaved much like a nuthatch, but is in fact the only member of the tree creeper family of birds residing in North America.   A Brown Creeper.  I knew it as soon as I had taken my first photo, because there wasn't a speck of slate gray on the bird.  In fact his feathers blend in so well with the bark of the tree he is on that I would have missed him altogether if he hadn't moved. 

Brown Creeper (click to enlarge)
Brown Creeper going up

Admittedly the photos of the Brown Creeper above aren't very good, but it's a first sighting for me and so they are keepers.  A first sighting is a magic moment after all.  Have you had a first sighting lately?


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