My foot was finally feeling a little better so I figured I’d try a short bird walk. Turns out, it wasn’t ready for prime time. I walked a few hundred yards on the uneven snowy terrain and had to turn back.
The little I did manage to walk was along a wood’s edge with good, thick brush forming a barrier, perfect for birds to hide in. A lone white-throated sparrow and a lone tree sparrow were the only birds I saw, however. There was also a male cardinal, but he never left his protected spot among the bramble and I could spy only specks of red.
On my way back, I noticed a white-breasted nuthatch and a woodpecker in a big tree beyond the truck. I figured it was worth a closer look because I had seen a yellow-bellied sapsucker in that very tree some time ago. It turned out to be a downy woodpecker, and it had flown off to a more distant tree by the time I hobbled over there anyway.
Not all was lost, though, as the detour led me to a small flock of eastern bluebirds. Some were perched in the low branches of a nearby tree, and some were in the brush picking at berries of some sort.
Many people are surprised to see bluebirds in the winter, but like their American robin cousins, a good number of bluebirds stick with us throughout the
winter. It was the first time I was able to get decent photos of bluebirds since I moved out of my house in the woods and into a more suburban downtown area. It’s a lot more tricky photographing them “in the wild” than it is on a prop branch near a feeder.
A song sparrow and a few tufted titmice were the only other birds I saw before heading back to the truck. I also noticed a few crows flying to the tops of some evergreens towering over the scene. My mysterious foot ailment has kept me more or less cooped up for nearly two months now, so it was nice to venture out again in search of birds. The walk didn’t last very long, but I enjoyed it just the same.
It’s been a fairly strange winter for birds from what I can gather. Other than a few late fall sightings of snowy owls near Long Island Sound, I haven’t heard much about bird irruptions into New England this winter. I haven’t seen nor heard reports of red-breasted nuthatches, pine siskins or evening grosbeaks. Of course, the Steller’s sea eagle that has been spotted along the coast of Maine a few times has been stealing all the bird headlines this winter, so maybe I have missed something.
What about you? Have you seen any siskins, redpolls, grosbeaks or crossbills this winter? Drop me a line and let me know.