February 4–15: Birding around home

There have been some wonderful birds turning up in my area since I arrived home from Florida. Unfortunately, I’ve been swamped with deadlines and catching up around the house, so haven’t spent any time at all searching for good birds. I did take a run up a few blocks on February 10 to see the Townsend’s Solitaire that was hanging out where my December Varied Thrush had been. I’m still missing the thrush for 2013, but even in crappy light the solitaire, #189 for the year, was lovely.

Townsend's Solitaire

My son Tom had a short window of time on February 12—not enough to stop and actually search the trees for Boreal Owls, but we took a shot at trying to spot one from the car and at least got a few photos of Bohemian Waxwings. Unfortunately, I neglected to double-check how the photos were turning out, and for some unfathomable reason the exposure was set two stops under, so the pictures are too dark, which is extra sad because I had beautiful light.

Bohemian Waxwing

Oh, well. I had an amazing albeit momentary look at a female White-winged Crossbill on February 4—she had come close to my window to investigate when I was feeding my chickadees mealworms. At the very moment I thought to grab my camera, poof! She was gone.

Tom and my drive up the shore added 52 miles, and my drive to see the Solitaire rounded up to 2 miles. I need to tally up the totals of miles driven so far. I’m donating 1 cent for every mile I travel this year (including plane trips), at least half to the American Bird Conservancy and the remainder to one or more small organizations that are doing important work to help vulnerable species. Starting tomorrow when I fly to Texas, my species count (right now 189) will start jumping again.


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