Saturday, March 28, 2015

Last weekend of March

It still feels like Summer - March 28th and temps have been tickling 90 for the last several days. Should be around 75. No rain lately, of course, still about 50% of what we should have by this date.

We do have orioles, though! And confirmation of the fledglings coming around, I have seen at least one young male. Here are a couple captures from the feedercam today -

This shows the young male to the right. He has his black bib, but is not brightly colored like the adults.

 This one could be 2 young or older females or young males center and right, they are facing away so can't tell ;-)

Plenty of hummers around, though none in these shots! There is at least one Male Rufous hummer hanging around. And I saw a Blackchinned yesterday, first for the year - I think. There should be lots of them later.
It has been a very long time since I've seen a calliope, but we have a couple Allen's helping to keep the many many Anna's company! 

Other birds stopping by lately include -
red winged blackbirds
California towhees
lesser finches
scrub jays
mourning doves
common ground doves (so small!)
dark eyed juncos
and still - sharp shinned hawk - the one I don't want to see!

Birds noted soaring lately
red tail hawks
red shoulder hawks
turkey vultures

Saturday, March 14, 2015

March and the Return of the Hooded Orioles

It's the middle of March and almost Spring.... Well, it's felt like spring or summer all winter long. We have had about 50% of the normal rainfall for the season (July 1 to June 30) and the season really only has two more weeks. That is only slightly better than last year. Does that mean anything as far as migratory patterns of the orioles and hummingbirds that frequent this area?

The first Hooded Oriole returned to the backyard a couple weeks ago, right on par with the last few years. But confirmation of a second oriole did not come for two weeks, usually several show up within days. But that is only a couple weeks, may be not significant. Now I have seen at least four at once - 3 adult males and 1 female. This weekend was the first time they have been chattering up a storm as they come in for a drink. I have seen confirmation in the San Diego newspaper that others have seen the orioles coming in also.

I've seen at least one Rufous hummer over the last couple weeks as well, so the migrating hummers are showing up, too. Time will time if the whole migration season is per usual - I hope so!

The honey bees have really not taken off any time this year, usually they are not around in big numbers over the winter - oh yeah, we didn't really have winter this year.

I installed a new 'Hummercam' recently and am pleased with the image quality.

Here is a late evening photo of the rufous male, a bit grainy in the low light, but his brown back is evident.

The last several days have been unseasonably warm, let's call it hot since it has been in the 90s. Care must he taken to keep the feeders fresh - meaning cleaned every few days to keep the sugar water from going bad. I don't use commercial mixes that may contain anti spoilage ingredients for two reasons - I am not sure the hummers/orioles need anti spoilage ingredients and at 1-2 gallons a day it is too expensive.

A couple photos of male Anna's I have taken over the last few weeks. The Anna's have stayed in pretty large numbers of the winter - they are generally not migratory but some must shift their range around a bit judging by the summer/winter numbers of them.

Here is a fun evening photo of hummers at dinnertime.

Here are a couple of regulars around here, at least there are Red Tail Hawks to be seen here all year long. I have seen a couple doing close flying quite often lately.
None of the smaller birds (doves, hummers, orioles, juncos, red wing blackbirds) seem to be concerned at all when the big hawks are flying overhead. But the small Sharp Shinned Hawk sends them all heading for cover!