UPDATE: I heard from ace birder, Rich Stallcup, about my chickadee pictures. He says it is most likely the bird is partially leucistic, that any newly molted feathers would be black and the white is probably a lack of pigment. Thus I will be seeing these white spots well into summer as I expect these two chickadees will nest somewhere near our feeders. April 10, 2010. This Easter Sunday brought our first 70-degree day of the year. That spurred us to worship the vernal gods and hook up our garden fountain. Within minutes a Lesser Goldfinch flew through the mist, then a Pine Siskin came down for an Easter bath. The Black-capped Chickadees are not interested in fountains and bathing, they are focused on suet. A pair comes often and I suspect they are preparing to nest nearby. “Gimme protein” says the body imperative of said chickadees.Note the back of the head of chickadee, showing signs of molt. Those white specks that will disappear when all the new feathers are in.
ZERO MOSTEL MOMENT
I recognize it’s very Old Testament on a day dominated by New Testament stories, but today we had not Fiddler, but “Gobbler on the Roof.” The young Turks come by and demand their daily bread by getting on the carport roof and peering into our kitchen window. Here’s a pushy quartet gobbling down their reward. PAGAN RITUALS Today of all days the pagan rituals went on unabated at Ashland Pond. There was song with intent both carnal and insistent. Much of that came from various finches and Red-winged Blackbirds. There was blood sacrifice as diving ducks gobbled down fish. And there were a couple of new faces in the crowd. A Barn Swallow (not seen here) among the Tree and Violet-greens that flew open mouthed through the clouds of sky gnats. And a Double-crested Cormorant loafed on a log in the pond. His double crest was clearly visible but somehow my camera didn’t see it as my eyes did. Cormorants are much more common bigger bodies of water like Agate and Emigrnat Lake, then later this year on the big mountsain reservoirs. There’s even a breeding colony at 5000′ on Hyuatt Lake…once it thaws out. This guy was at Ashland Pond, weighing in at about one acre.
DUCKS I know these ducks are around for months on end, but they will soon be leaving. Well the mergamnsers will be staying around but they get secretive during breeding season. So any day I could see my last male Wigeon or Bufflehead until sometime next fall. These were all at Ashland Pond, though the merganser were actually fighting the current in little raging Ashland Creek nearby. Ducks, top to bottom: Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Common Mergansers. Their cousins, the Hooded Mergansers, seem to have already departed for parts north.