How does such a little bird make such a big noise! That's what drew our attention immediately upon setting out on our walk in the woods on this frosty morning.
We searched the sky and surrounding trees to locate the sound and finally found our bird at the top of a spruce tree. The nuthatch called incessantly, first in one direction, then in the other direction.
A pleasant surprise.
(I haven't seen the Red-breasted Nuthatch since the White-breasted Nuthatch arrived here a year ago and decided to stay.)
The other day I liberated from the garden a drooping sunflower that was full with seeds and attached it to one of the bird feeders. The chickadees seem to be enjoying it very much.
1 Varied Thrush poking around on a log
1 White-Breasted Nuthatch on a tree nearby
I was surprised to see the thrush as I thought she/he would have flown south by now. The nuthatch is very territorial, and I watched to see what the little bird had in mind. The nuthatch flew straight at the thrush obviously trying to drive the bigger bird off. This tactic had little effect on the thrush, and he simply hopped into an opening under the log.
For the past week, the crows have begun to flock together as they prepare to leave for more southern climes. If their boisterous and interesting vocalizations are anything to go by, they are catching up on all the gossip and news of the summer.
I think this is a White-throated Sparrow because of the yellow lores.
Photos were taken at 8:30 a.m. This is usually a good time to observe the birds, and it's also lovely to be outside in the freshness of the early morning. The smaller birds can be seen hopping about in the bushes looking for food or else in the branches of the birch trees and saskatoon bushes.
Male Western Tanager perched in a spruce tree
(note reddish wash on head)
In the breeding season the male's head is a vivid red, but he will lose this red colouring later on as winter approaches.
The Western Tanager is the only species of tanager that breeds in British Columbia. Their breeding range extends almost to 60° North in the Northwest Territories. This is the first Western Tanager I've seen all summer.
I heard him singing in a tree close to the open patio door. Other than the bees, butterflies and occasional hummingbird, nothing moved in the sweltering heat of a slow afternoon. He didn't move either, just sat in a bit of shade and sang the same song over and over, for what seemed a very long time.
It's unusual to see the Merlins on the ground. But, when I went outside after supper today, there were two, maybe three, young falcons near the roadway. They looked very much out of place. I'm so used to looking up to observe them flying or perched in the treetops, and I was quite surprised by this strange behaviour. Once they noticed me they immediately flew off.
A second Merlin is perched in the same tree on a lower branch
The young falcons are gaining experience flying, and they're also learning to hunt. Lately it has become very noisy here. At various times of the day and during the evening hours especially, the merlins' incessant high-pitched calls often make us stop what we're doing and go see what's happening outside.
On several occasions recently, I've observed the young Pileated Woodpeckers in a spruce tree at the back of the house. They cling there preening or investigating crevices in the bark and wait to be fed.