Thursday, September 11, 2008

Return to Bird Alley

The shuddering wind shook my house
Forgetting to whisper in its summer voice
It boisterously shouted

Jesting in its autumnal tones

of summer's end

Although its not yet autumn according to the calendar, there are many signs of seasonal change about and this is the time of year when I begin refilling our bird feeders once again. Also last night we had our first frost warning and I covered my flowers. Bird Alley is the name we have given to the area in our yard where a line of shrubbery and trees create an alley like space adjacent to our house. A bay window looking out onto this area is a perfect place to start each day with a cup of tea while surveying the early morning visitors, and I always make sure my camera is handy nearby. We get many birds each day and the variety changes as the seasons progress.
Presently American Goldfinch are the most numerous species and I was also very pleased to see a couple of Pine Siskin with them as well. Sparrows are represented by several Song Sparrows which love to run and hide under the many hostas there, and I think the other sparrows we have are young, first year Chipping Sparrows. I have also noticed that one Downy Woodpecker has already found the peanut feeders and more Mourning Doves are appearing, their numbers increasing daily. Also Black-capped Chickadees have made a few appearances and one day I had a hoard of Grackles visit, but they perhaps were just passing through for they haven't appeared in such large numbers again. There are always a couple of surprises and so far this week I have seen two! The first was a Red-eyed Vireo! This species I had only seen once before and that was just this summer. I went searching in the warbler section of my bird guide book again, finding nothing; but then when examining the photos closer I found the telltale red eye of this species. The second surprise, and it was a delightful one, was this young male American Redstart. I don't think it fully has its adult colour pattern yet and at first it was a guessing game as to what it was that was flitting about so quickly among the leaves. Only after getting its photo was I able to get a really good look at it. As well as replenishing the bird feeders each day, Bird Alley itself has much food to offer. In this grouping of vegetation we have a couple of tall High Bush Cranberry trees, Lilac seeds, Honeysuckle berries, Ornamental Crab Apples, Rose hips from old, tall Wild Rose bushes, Sumac, Choke Cherry trees, the small berries of Virginia Creeper which cover our pergola at the end of the alley, and the berries of American Bittersweet as well. And just around the corner we have a tall Mountain Ash just covered with beautiful red berries and a Plum tree loaded with fruit. Seen in the picture to the left is a Goldfinch among the Lilac seeds and if you look carefully you can see the circular pattern of a spider web behind it.

14 comments:

Ruth said...

How fortunate you are to see such a variety of birds from indoors while having tea! The grackles have been gone from our area for a while as have the red-winged blackbirds and kingbirds. I have seen a few groups of warblers on my walks. I particularly like your picture of the vireo.

Mike - Fenphotography said...

Wonderful bird shots can't wait till the wintering birds start coming to my garden again, Mike.

Deborah Godin said...

You sure are fortunate, and funny you should mention it - I was just thinking this morning as I looked out my window at the feeders, that it's time to start filling them up again. I quit for a while this summer, but now the air has turned. No frost yet, at least. Anyway, great shots, especially that patchy little redstart.

me ann my camera said...

ruth:
Each morning has its own little drama and today I was very surprised to see a Ruby-throated Hummingbird searching for their feeders I had taken down earlier this week. While it fed briefly on Hosta blooms I hurried to make some food for it and re established their feeders. Hope it comes back.

mike:
The seasonal change is always exciting I think. The Goldfinch will probably stay but the Chipping Sparrows will be replaced by Tree Sparrows arriving from the north. Sometimes a Song Sparrow will overwinter. And at this time of year we often have migrants stopping over for a few days while passing through.

deborah:
I love Redstarts and this one seems to be so Octoberish/ Halloweenish. Last night was our first real cold night and the thermometer outside the window this morning read +1C so I would not be surprised that it had dipped down to zero. A frost warning again for us for tonight. Where did summer go?

kjpweb said...

What a neat collection!
Loving it!
Cheers, Klaus

abbey meadows said...

Wonderful shots of birds I would like to see in my garden. We have a couple of North American birds over here at the moment. A Buff breasted sandpiper and two pectoral sandpiper at Cresswell pond.

Gretchen said...

What beautiful shots!

Mary said...

A beautiful garden and wonderful birds! What a great variety and colorful bunch. They all look so fat! Cute!

Rambling Woods said...

You have the perfect birding yard Ann. I haven't seen some of the birds you posted about. The feeders are getting busy here and I still here fledgling goldfinch begging. It seems late, but maybe it isn't. I still have some RT hummers, so I will leave the feeders up....Oh and I saw the long billed chickadee today. He or she was eating some sunflower chips. Maybe it can survive with my help...

Kay said...

Wow! These are such terrific photos. How did you ever get close enough to get such great shots? Even with my long lens, it's so hard.

Geraldine said...

What a lovely "welcome to fall" post this was to read. Your bird photos are spectacular. I envy you all the wildlife you get to enjoy in your area. It must be an amazing place to live. I'm glad though, to be able to enjoy the view via your excellent blog. Thanks Ann!

www.mypoeticpath.wordpress.com

NW Nature Nut said...

I'd miss my birds too much if I didn't feed them all summer. You have a beautiful garden, you should post more. Are your goldfinches still that yellow, all of mine are drab now.

2sweetnsaxy said...

Must be nice to have such a variety of pretty birds visit your yard. I like the last one with the web behind it. Thanks for confirming what I was going to ask about it being a web.

Kay said...

Your yard is beautiful and you're so lucky to have so many gorgeous birds to admire. Great photos!