Wednesday, December 22, 2004

New Yard Birds!

These days it's unusual that I get to add a new species to my yard list, rarer still when I add two new species simultaneously! While checking out the birds at my feeders today I noticed a small streaky bird with a hint of yellow in the wings - Pine Siskin! This winter there have been numerous reports of siskins across Texas, and it appears that a major incursion is occurring, so seeing one at my feeder wasn't such a surprise. I've been watching for them lately.

But while watching the siskin I spotted a bright yellow bird bopping around down low in the bushes lining my driveway. From the brief look I got my impression was of a probable Wilson's Warbler. But it's winter, and Wilson's Warbler is at best a scarce migrant through just wasn't very likely. A few minutes later I refound the bird foraging in the shady thicket near my car. Definite WILSON'S WARBLER! Had some nice prolonged views. According to the TOS Handbook of Texas Birds this species winters uncommonly north to the Balcones Escarpment and Matagorda Bay, both a long way from here. Elsewhere in the state it winters rarely or very rarely - so a good find! I'm afraid the siskin immediately lost its celebrity status.

It's been raining hard today, with a major cold front expected tomorrow...just in time for the Bolivar Peninsula Christmas Bird Count, which I will be participating in. Temperatures are expected to plunge to the low 30s. Wouldn't you know.


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