Birds to brighten your day: April 23

Photo by Chris Bosak A palm warbler looks for food on the ground in a yard in Danbury, Connecticut, April 2020. Merganser Lake.

A Day on Merganser Lake XIV

I’ve been seeing palm warblers around my yard for about a week now. They are fairly brave as they sometimes approach closely in their search for food. They remain tricky photo subjects, however, because, like most warblers, they are constantly in motion. I got a decent shot of this bird as it hopped along a rocky area of my side yard yesterday.

Palm warblers are usually the second warbler to arrive in New England in the spring, following the pine warbler. Palm warblers are tail-pumpers so if you see a small, yellow bird with a rusty cap sitting on a branch pumping its tail, it’s a palm warbler.

(Repeat text for context:  I’m running out of COVID-19 lockdown themes so from now until things get back to some semblance of normalcy, I will simply post my best photo from the previous day. You could say it fits because of its uncertainty and challenge. I’ll call the series “A Day on Merganser Lake,” even though that’s not the real name of the lake I live near in southwestern Connecticut, it’s just a nod to my favorite duck family.)

What a visitor: Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Photo by Chris Bosak A Rose-breasted Grosbeak visits a homemade platform feeder in Danbury, Conn., on May 6, 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Rose-breasted Grosbeak visits a homemade platform feeder in Danbury, Conn., on May 5, 2016.

I had a feeling one would show up. And I had a feeling it would just love a homemade platform feeder from which to eat during its migration. Boy, when you’re right, you’re right. Usually when I wish for a specific scenario it never happens. This time, Bingo!

Sure enough, this morning (May 5) I was awakened by a small commotion at my window feeder. It was a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak trying to land on the narrow perch. Even without my glasses on I could tell what it was. How do you mistake a bird like that? It eventually figured out how to land on the small window feeder. I hoped he would get tired of the narrow perch and eventually find his way into the backyard where the real feeding station is. I made sure the homemade platform feeder had plenty of seeds.

Sure enough (again), about 11 o’clock there he was. Standing on the platform feeder eating seeds. Grosbeaks are like finches or cardinals in their eating habits in that they will perch and stay there to eat seed after seed. That is unlike birds such as chickadees, nuthatches and titmice, which grabs seeds and go. So with the grosbeak sitting there chowing down, it presented a nice, long photo opportunity.

I’ll write more about it in a later post, but for now, I wanted to get these photos out there.

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Here’s one more shot, for now:

Photo by Chris Bosak A Rose-breasted Grosbeak visits a homemade platform feeder in Danbury, Conn., on May 6, 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Rose-breasted Grosbeak visits a homemade platform feeder in Danbury, Conn., on May 5, 2016.

 

A frosty morning at the feeding station

Photo by Chris Bosak An American Goldfinch eats Nyjer seeds from a frozen feeder during a frosty April 2016 morning in Danbury, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An American Goldfinch eats Nyjer seeds from a frozen feeder during a frosty April 2016 morning in Danbury, Conn.

For the second day in a row the unpredictable New England weather provided an opportunity to get an interesting photo at the bird feeding station. Monday it was snow. Tuesday it was ice. Here, an American Goldfinch visits the Nyjer feeder, undaunted by the ice and freezing temperatures. Notice that this male is transitioning into its breeding plumage. Below are a few more icy photos from Merganser Lake.

Photo by Chris Bosak Ice covers a daffodil bloom in Fairfield County on a chilly Tuesday morning.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Ice covers a daffodil bloom in Fairfield County on a chilly Tuesday morning.

Photo by Chris Bosak Ice covers the branches of a tree in Danbury, Conn., April 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Ice covers the branches of a tree in Danbury, Conn., April 2016.

Chickadee pair picks its spot

Photo by Chris Bosak A Black-capped Chickadee cleans out a hole for a home to raise a family in Danbury, Conn., 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Black-capped Chickadee cleans out a hole for a home to raise a family in Danbury, Conn., 2016.

I tacked onto the bottom of my last For the Birds column the need to keep some dead trees standing as these “snags” are vital for birds. They provide homes and food for birds and other wildlife.

The day after writing the column I took a walk to Little Merganser Lake. I didn’t notice it while walking to the lake, but on my way back I noticed two chickadees going back and forth to a skinny dead tree. I stopped and watched for quite a while.

The birds, of course, were clearing out a hole for the Continue reading

Merganser Lake: More on those Pine Warblers

Photo by Chris Bosak A Pine Warbler sits on a deck railing in New England this fall.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Pine Warbler sits on a deck railing in New England this fall.

I posted some photos last week of Pine Warblers that visited my feeders. It was a nice sighting because warblers typically do not visit feeders. If you do get lucky enough to have warblers visit your feeding station, it’s usually Pine Warblers in the fall. I was fortunate enough to have three visit this fall. To complement those photos, here are some more … Continue reading