Sunday, 18 November 2018

An Early Start to Winter

     According to the calendar winter is not due to make an appearance for another six weeks, but that didn't prevent us from receiving about 10cm of heavy, wet snow overnight from 15 November into the late morning of 16 November. Far too early to have to flex my driveway clearing muscles!
     Here is what it looked like through the window at the front and back of the house.



     For the birds, however, it was an opportunity to visit our backyard buffet for some fine avian fare, with peanuts, sunflower hearts and niger seed all featured on the menu.
     My friend, John Sanderson, had made a wonderful long peanut dispenser for me, and it has proven singularly successful with Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata).



     They really seem to relish the nuts and it would be easy to interpret their behaviour as enjoying the challenge of extracting the nut from the shell. Success generally comes quickly.


     Quite often there are two birds working away simultaneously, and once I even saw three together on the feeder, but that is getting a little crowded.


     The jays seem to suspend their normal quarrelsome behaviour once they are working away at the husks, seemingly single-minded in their pursuit of food.
     Downy Woodpeckers (Dryobates pubescens) are regular patrons also, sometimes feeding at the same time as a Blue Jay, maintaining the peace as long as they are on opposite sides of the feeder.


     This one's head is almost a blur as he works away furiously to extract a peanut.


     Over the past couple of winters we have seen only White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) at our backyard feeders, but this year Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) has joined the fray. 


     It too is not reluctant to try its hand at the peanut feeder.
     Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) are regular visitors; though spectacular at any time of the year, they are at their best against the white of the snow and the green of the conifers.

Northern Cardinal - male

Northern Cardinal - female

     Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), fresh from the north, shows up in good numbers, and is generally already foraging on the ground just before first light.



     American Goldfinches (Spinus tristis) are resident birds and not infrequently twenty or thirty birds are present, at this time of the year in their subdued winter plumage.


     There have been several reports of Pine Siskins (Spinus pinus) attending at feeders in the area, so we will be keeping a keen eye out for them in our yard.
     Snow is perhaps not so bad after all!

54 comments:

  1. Hello David,
    The sun is still here but the cold is coming too. It has not snowed in five years!
    In your house, all those birds I did like to see one day, I love them all.

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  2. Wow! Great! Snow is also expected here ;-)

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  3. Guauuuu, ¡¡precioso reportaje amigo David!! que concurrido es tu patio y que especies más bonitas te visitan, yo no tengo esa suerte. Están bien alimentados, cuidados y atendidos es lógico que te visiten. La nieve es una estampa muy bonita aunque vosotros estáis ya muy acostumbrados a ella. En esta zona del levante español, no tenemos nieve nunca.
    Un fuerte abrazo de tu amigo Juan.

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  4. Hello David!
    It did snow here in Greece,but only up on the mountains!
    Here it’s rainy and very cold ,if you think last week i was swimming in the sea!
    Stunning pictures of those beautiful birds! Great captures of the Blue Jay ,and the Woodpecker !
    I like especially the Cardinal bird,it’s my favorite! Have a lovely week!
    Dimi...

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  5. Ja, snön kan komma som en överraskning varje vinter, jag blir i alla fall överraskad varje år när den plötsligt har lagt sig över nejden. Jag blir konstigt nog aldrig riktigt van vid den snabba förändring det innebär. Här har vi fortfarande ovanligt varmt för årstiden men det är nog snart läge för flingorna att börja falla.
    Vilka vackra fåglar som besöker din matning, jag gissar de är stationära och låter sig beundras under hela vintern. Idag hade jag ett celebert besök av en stor flock mindre korsnäbbar Loxia curvirostra. Det var inte maten som lockade utan dammen som fortfarande är isfri. De drack, de plaskade och de tvättade sig, jag kollade genom kikaren. Många år sedan jag senast såg dem så det var ett allt igenom trevligt besök.

    Vill bara säga angående mitt inlägg om Black Friday att jag absolut inte missunnar någon att köpa böcker. Böcker behöver man inte ha dåligt samvete för, jag själv köper böcker för de ger mig så mycket. Jag kan avstå från mycket men inte från böcker, jag kan faktiskt inte tänka mig livet utan böcker. Vän av ordning säger säkert såhär att det går bra att läsa bibliotekets böcker vilket naturligtvis är sant. Jag har sparsamt med inredningsdetaljer och prydnader men mina böcker är just det, vackrare vägg kan man knappast ha än en fullsatt bokhylla. Fortsätt köp dina böcker utan dåligt samvete David!

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    1. It would be a rare thrill indeed, Gunilla, to have crossbills at my feeders.

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  6. Firstly David, thank you for the comments you made about my blog. It is good to know that my work is appreciated and understood. From the very start I decided that I would seek to both entertain and educate and hopefully introduce, even by accident if necessary, new people to the world of birds.

    It’s quite entertaining that some of the largest scoring blog posts have occurred through the use of tag words and phrases or double entendres. My best post was “Drown Your Sorrows” that somehow attracted 4026 views! There was another one that had a title which seemingly used a phrase with some weird sexual connotation. I have forgotten what, but it involved three people! And anything involving “tits” is always worth a few extra visitors.

    That is some snowfall for this time of year and I must say I do not envy you the task to come should it not disappear overnight. When I see such snowfall over your way, I fear the worst for our own weather which at the moment is arriving from the east. I shall now check the weather for the coming week. Hopefully we will get some ringing in when the wind drops and now that Andy is back from Egypt. It is rather disappointing that we have so few Linnets but we are fairly certain we will get some, even if it means waiting until Jan/Feb.

    You are fortunate to have such a variety of birds in your garden. If I use peanuts they invariably go soggy and smelly in the often wet days so I stick to niger which just attracts Goldfinch. Unfortunately we have a cat problem too at the moment whereby two neighbours have roaming killer cats so I dare not use a mist net in the garden. I am working on the problem.

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    1. Yep, put Tits and Boobies in the title of your post nd that will increase the hits in a hurry.

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  7. So unusual to have snow in the middle of November but the birds in your backyard are not concerned about the snow. They have plenty of food. I was glad to see the American Goldfinch on the last photograph. We have these birds also. And I would never be able to see Red Cardinal in my neighborhood , these birds are not native where I live.

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  8. Hari Om
    bbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, way too early for the white stuff; turning bitter here, but no white, yet... YAM xx

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  9. Oh my. Oh my, oh my, oh my.
    I always enjoy the birds who visit our feeder, and can remember seeing frost on the back of a king parrot. To see them in snow would only add to the splendour.
    Thank you so much for sharing these chilly beauties.

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  10. Hello David, we had an early snow on the 15th, maybe the same storm you had there. The yard birds do go crazy at the feeders during a snowstorm. You see mostly the same yard birds I have here. Great photos. Enjoy your day and week ahead.

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  11. Hi David - delightful to see these ... and I sure hope the weather holds off here. But you've certainly brought some delightful avian friends in - beautiful photos ... thanks Miriam. Cheers to you both and to John for his feeder - cheers Hilary

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  12. You got snow but the birds got the feeder. They sure are enjoying eating the food from the feeder, snow means nothing when munching. :)

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  13. Hi Both,
    I don't envy you your snow but am extremely envious of your Blue Jays and Northern Cardinal {male}.
    Lucky birds in having the feeders out and filled, something I must do this week.
    All the best to you both, John

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  14. I don't envy your snow, David. Here it all melted away. I do envy your Blue Jays and they are so beautiful.

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  15. Oh wow, glad it is you and not us, though we are due for a very cold spell this coming week. Love the photos, both you and Miriam have done a good job.
    Clearing the drive way is not an option for us if it snows the car stays put as it is 5 kms to the nearest village and on farm roads that do not get cleared. A few years back we we were house bound for 3 weeks. Good job we have a well stocked pantry.
    Keepwarm and take care. Diane

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    1. Housebound for three weeks and you didn't kill each other? Amazing!

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  16. Brrr to the snow, although it looks very picturesque!

    Lovely seeing all the beautiful birds but those Blue Jays really caught my eye.

    Stay warm!

    All the best Jan

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  17. Hola David, a pesar de la nieve veo que desde tu ventana lo que se ve es maravilloso, las ves están felices en tu jardín. Aquí también nevó a finales de Octubre y causó bastantes daños a los árboles ya que aún tenían todas sus hojas y muchos frutos. Un abrazo y feliz semana.

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  18. That's a super peanut feeder idea. My juncos arrived early this year, so I guess I should have been foreworn with all this weather. It does seem a little early so many little snow events. Sometimes there's one, but this year there is so many. More in New England this week. Hope your weather warms up a bit.

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  19. Love the colours of the Blue Jay.

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  20. Oh my goodness, a winter wonderland to me.
    Can't imagine that much snow at all in my backyard.
    The birds are beautiful and well photographed by Miriam.
    Did I notice you too a few?

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  21. Wow, very cold for me, brrr,brrr...
    Love your peanut feeder and how wonderful it must be to watch the various birds working out how to eat the peanuts.

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  22. Hi David.

    Beautiful pictures of the snow.
    Beautiful birds come along to eat.

    Groettie from Patricia.

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  23. No thank you - as far as the weather is concerned, though it does attract different birds to the feeders here too.

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  24. Such pretty creatures and so well captured. Very fortunate birds, indeed, to be living in and around your backyard buffet. With such an early start to winter I image you will be buying sacks and sacks of seeds, etc. in the months to come. I never could stop at cracking just one sunflower seed and, no doubt, birds are the same. :)

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  25. Hi David,
    That is early in the year! I am not ready for snow!
    Fantastic birds in your garden! I Love the American Goldfinches. And of course the Northern Cardinals. The Red-breasted Nuthatch is adorable. And I wish there were Bleu Jays in the Netherlands! They are beautiful as well.
    Nice (cold..) post.
    Best regards, Maria

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  26. Hi David, this is quite a different scenery.
    I understand you weren't prepared for snowcleaning, but you had prepared a lot of food for the birds. The wonderful blue jays are really feasting on your peanutdispenser.
    Lovely pictures of birds in the snow; nr. 12 is superb.

    Best regards, Corrie

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  27. I'll say! You got slammed! But it's beautiful and so are the birds. Tell Miriam her photos are really beautiful. Quite the avian menagerie you have in your yard! My birds have eaten me out of seed and later today a trip is due to restock. I like that feeder. OK, call me dumb -- I thought you had to put shelled peanuts in something like that! I like the idea of digging through for the seed and not leaving the shells all over the place!

    Thanks for your comment -- Love your comments. You're right about a long, lingering dinner. The Europeans do it extra well, taking their time, whether at home or in a restaurant. I can remember dinners with friends in Amsterdam that went till bedtime. True, we were done with DINNER earlier, but the cheese and wine and best of all the good conversation kept up till we had to go to bed! It's easier to spread it out at home. It seems like the restaurants don't hurry us out but you sort of feel like you should go and give up the table!

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    1. I do have a feeder where I use shelled peanuts also, but on the one that John made for me the mesh is too wide for the that. The nuts would simply fall out.

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  28. you have very beautiful birds in your yard david, i see all of those birds here!! your pictures are so pretty and i am very jealous of the snow you received. i am still patiently waiting for our first snow, well, maybe not patiently!!

    i enjoyed seeing the new bird feeder, you mentioned that in a comment on my blog!!

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  29. Hi David
    I hate snow, I am a coward, I know. This early, I think it's Trump. Although, it makes the bird easily to recognize them. Great collection you have seen.

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  30. I love to see snow but not so much when I have to get around in it. It looks so pretty in your photos and I enjoyed seeing the variety of birds. Always welcome visitors.

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    1. Now that we are retired we try to avoid driving in it unless it is absolutely necessary to get out - which it hardly ever is.

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  31. Far and away too early for snow (but I am wimpy about cold weather... observing the feeder visitors would make staying indoors by the fire a pleasure though. The peanut tube is ingenious .... I was well past retirement age before I ever saw a cardinal .... before that only on Christmas cards and of course always pictured on snowy backdrops. Was so excited to finally see one, and glad it showed up on a sunny day)). We do see them fairly often nowadays in Florida. (The ones that are snowbirds like us7)

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  32. Hola David.

    En el fondo de tu casa tampoco te aburres. ¡Qué hermosos pajarillos te visitan! Enhorabuena, un saludo desde Galicia, España,

    Rafa.

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  33. Lovely photos of the snowy scene outside your window. None here so far just a few frosty mornings.

    A wonderful selection of birds visiting your feeders - the Blue Jay is particularly stunning :)

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  34. Brrrrr!! I'd happily put up with a snow-fall if it brought wonderful birds like these to our garden, David. If it gets just a little colder here than it is right now, snow is not out of the question, so we might be lucky!

    My love to you both - take good care and keep warm - - - Richard

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  35. I love love love the cold temps. What a nice assortment of birds at your feeders! They(the woodpeckers) love that suet. Stay warm!

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  36. Entiendo que debe ser molesto tener tanta nieve acumulada pero que bello se ve todo con la cubierta nívea, las aves resaltan en ese entorno uniforme. Me deja pasmado la cantidad de especies que acuden a los comederos más de l oque imagnaba, además todas coloridas; muy buena iniciativa dejarles alimento en la temporada adversa
    Un fuerte abrazo

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  37. Hope the Pine Siskins grace your yard, too !

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  38. The Blue Jays have some amazing colours! Your backyard looks like something I've only ever seen on a Christmas card - not a usual scene for me!

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  39. Hi David,
    I started to shiffer when I saw this blog of yours, I really hate winter (or more specific; cold) ;-). I love the beautiful snowy landscape's, but only from the inside looking out. Like you are doing now wathing the nice birds that come to feed in the garden. They are all lovely birds to see and of course for us the colors of your birds are amazing. But th photo of the dark-eyed junco I like the best, it's wonderfull and sharp, lovely details. I also like the white-breasted Nuthatch very much.
    I hope your muscles are well developed now, clearing all the stuff ;-).

    I do realize that I wasn't very active during the last months on blogger due to several reasons. It's not that I'm not interrested in birds anymore, on the contrary. I did went birding (with Maria) but I didn't take any photo's, or they were bad. Sometimes I feel a bit tired to read and write so excuse me for not looking and reacting on your previous blogs, I'll check them later today. I have said to myself that fun is the main reason to use blogger and if I don't feel that way about it and need my time for other things, that I have to leave it for what it is and that the time will come that I'll enjoy reading and writing again. I hope you can understand that.

    Kind regards,
    Marianne

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  40. Hermoosas vistas tienes desde tu ventana David. En Béjar nos nevó a final de Octobre, pero se fué enseguida, no así en la montaña que está ya blanca.
    Me encanta la naturaleza. Preciosos los pájaros.
    Tenemos amigos comunos si no te importa te sigo.
    Un abrazo

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  41. I like snow in your photos. We don't have snow here but the weather is wet and cooler these days. Beautiful birds and they are happy visiting the feeder.

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  42. I know it's not for everyone but I do love snow and it looks beautiful there. The Junco looks like it has the head of a Dunnock, one of my garden birds!

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  43. Snow has a way of providing a masterful canvas. Lovely shots. We have tons of pine siskins around here, along with crossbills.

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  44. Hello David. Your backyard buffet for the birds looks great! Wonderful photos! Blue Jays looks so beautiful. My favorite is that woodpecker. I like all woodpeckers.

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  45. Hoi David! Wow, I love the blue birds! (specht in my language). Wat a wonderful birds to see, your Blue Jays. All other birds too. But that blue... It is wonderful.

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  46. Ohhhhh ..... with you there is already snow! Here in the Netherlands we have unfortunately no snow for years :-( Such a shame.
    But besides the snow I also see beautiful birds such as the woodpecker and the cardinal ohhhhhhh ..... how beautiful it is! The nuthatch is more beautiful with you than here with us hihi ...
    I have enjoyed sitting again :-)
    Sweet greetings and a hug xo

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