We’ve had a few days of warmer temperatures, which have attracted—or perhaps fooled—a few spring-time birds back to Seagroves Pond. One day last week I heard a Fish Crow and then later on I saw a Gray Catbird. The Catbird was puffed up to insulate itself and was clearly out of place.
The Fish Crow was a surprise in what I still consider to be winter. But since then I’ve heard several more with their nasal “haw-haw.” Fish Crows are much more common along the coast and venture inland to the Piedmont in the summer.
I don’t have any pictures of the Fish Crows. But it wouldn’t matter much, because, on sight, they’re indistinguishable from the American Crows that stick around all winter. The only way to distinguish one from the other is by listening to their caws. (I sense a future blog post with audio clips.)
However, we still have plenty of winter birds.
The Hooded Mergansers appear on the pond on colder days. Earlier this week I was able to get some good shots. The males are so flashy, they get a lot (too much?) of my attention. They also contrast with the woods around the pond, so it’s much easier to get a good “stand out” shot. The female has a remarkable appearance, but—by nature—blends in with the background much more. In these shots, the female was closer than normal and didn’t blend into the background as much as usual. (As usual, you can click on any of the images on this page to get a larger view.)
A pair of Golden-crowned Kinglets were browsing the shrubs near the dock this morning. The male kept his distance, but the female came in fairly close, allowing me to get a good look at it. The same one appears as the “featured image” for this post.
Although not a winter bird, I take pictures of Downy Woodpeckers whenever they’re close enough. This one is from just a few days ago.
What winter birds have you encountered around the pond?
Before I forget, next weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count (February 18-21). This is a fun event that anyone can participate in. You don’t have to go to an assigned location or join a group of birders. You report the species and numbers of the birds you see in your yard (as the name says) or the birds you encounter on your walks (as I do). For more information, please visit their webpage: https://www.birdcount.org/
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