Monday, May 5, 2014

Return Of The Bees!

Early May has brought the Return of the Bees! I suppose one could not expect them to stay away from the feeders forever ;-)
I have a new thought for bee excluders on oriole feeders - something has got to work.

Update May 27

A nice long weekend for watchin birds - the weather was just about perfect.
I got one photo of a male hooded washing off a bit of dust - 
This has been a very good year, so far, for numbers of visiting orioles - and they are very vocal as well. 

Update - May 20, a few days after the big Santa Ana east wind event and many fires of last week.
Here on the north east side of Escondido there was not much effect other than the wind. Not so for those living on the west side near the new hospital or Harmony Grove. Here is hoping for a speedy return to normal.

I know he's not an oriole and is a bit of a pest - but a bit cute. Yeah, I see you all fat from mooching bird seed.

Dive, Dive! A lesser finch taking a dive in the fountain.

Not colored for camouflage!

What happens when you try to use a cell phone for video instead of a real camera?

Did anyone try the oriole audio at the end of this entry? It works for me but I don't know if it works in other environments.

Back to the original  entry --

OK, this time for sure (maybe), this guy sounds like and looks like a Spotted Towhee. The tail is longer, the beak is thinner and dark, the eyes have a bit of the towhee glow. I have seen him a couple times now, only on the ground and shyer than the (for sure) grosbeaks.

Here is a first for the backyard (so far as I know) - and not sure of the ID, possibly a Western Tanager. It's about the size and color of a female hooded oriole - except for the bight red blush.

Once again this year, we have a couple of common ground doves coming by for breakfast and dinner.

Great fun over the weekend listening to and watching the Hooded Orioles play. And among the many Anna's, Black Chin, and Costa's hummers - I spotted an Allen's male, lots of brown with the tell tale green back. A little blurry and in the shadow, sorry!

Hang on!

No wings, no landing gear!

Here is a sound capture of some pretty good chatter from Saturday, hope it plays for everyone - about 2 minutes worth.


  1. Yay! I have spotted the Western Tanager at my bird bath occasionally. It's such a pretty bird. Does it eat from any of your feeders?Luckily I haven't had any bees, but I only have 4 nectar feeders out.

    1. The tanager in the tree was the first time I have seen one (actually, saw it fly into the tree and land) but I will keep an eye out now around the seed feeders to see if it returns! I hope the bees steer clear of your feeders :)

  2. First! This is a great blog with lots of photos, complete with descriptions of what's happening.

    For what it's worth, I agree with your identification of the Spotted Towhee. They are a fairly common visitor at my feeders and birdbath. I don't understand why this one is on the ground unless you have some more aggressive birds topside. The towhees here don't like conflict and only visit the sunflower seed feeder when it's just them and the chickadees. Let there be a jay around, and the towhees vanish.

    I have never seen a Western Tanager in person, but that does look like the pictures in AllAboutBirds. What a strikingly beautiful bird!

    1. Hi BC! I am not sure about WP or Flickr, for that matter - and I don't recall now (since I started this blog a few years ago) but on Blogger the comments are moderated (that may be an option I could turn off). So unlike WU, comments don't show up until I click 'OK' after I am notified that there are comments! So it looks like you were 2nd by a bit, if the time stamps reflect when the comments were made and not 'accepted'.
      Speaking of peculiarities, I have to be 'signed in' to reply to a comment. When I view my blog using Firefox I am first logged out, when I click the 'sign in' link I am moved to the control panel (for lack of a better term) of the blog and I am logged in, but when I click the view blog link i go back to the blog but am not logged in - grrr.. Chrome does not have this issue.
      Hmm.. wandered off topic :) The Cali towhees will use both the seed dishes and ground for eating, though I don't put much on the ground because of bunnies! They seem to share pretty well, though the only bird more shy seem to be the spotted towhee. For now I just put out 'Dove mix' (besides the occasional peanut!), they all seem to like it - even the crows.

    2. Oh, did you try the sound capture? Does it show up for you? I have been looking a bit for a unobtrusive audio player to put in blogs sometimes, not sure SoundCloud is the one.