Dark-eyed Juncos are ground sparrows and they very much enjoy foraging. They hop around shrubs and through forests searching out seed. You will often hear high chirp notes as they move around. Plentiful in our part of the country during winter. We saw a couple by the lake today but these photos were taken a couple of weeks ago. No camera today. The journey today included binoculars only. The Bald Eagle was present all day, it departed three minutes prior to my arrival. Go figure.
It was mid-day when I spotted this Red-Bellied Woodpecker assaulting a native pecan. The fight took place in a large tree right next to my house in Mineral Wells. I casually watched while the woodpecker pecked the pecan from several angles. I tried to capture each of his poses as he maneuvered the pecan around for optimum striking. After about 5 minutes I did not see much progress on the pecan but I am sure the diligent woodpecker conquered his task by days end.
The Black-Chinned Hummingbirds of Mineral Wells, Texas – We went from rarely seeing them in our neighborhood to having regular visits. This post marks four exciting days in a row that we have been visited. I have not seen any males but there are four females feeding in our neighbor’s trumpet vine. Males are easier to distinguish from other breeds of Hummingbird; while the females are indistinguishable from other breeds such a the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Only its “song” and the bird map differentiate the two for me. You can find my last posting and photos here and my best set of photos here.
It continues to be a good summer for birding in Palo Pinto. Several uncommon birds have been spotted and the Mississippi Kites are still making regular appearances overhead. The weekend before last, I spotted my first Summer Tanager. A co-worker has reported a Kestrel two days in a row just off Hwy 180 close to the base entrance. As soon as I get photo documentation, I will get them posted. Other friends have reported Painted Buntings sitting in their yard.
Black-Chinned Hummingbirds of Mineral Wells, Texas – Several female Hummers showed up in our tree today. Greatness!!! Looks like Palo Pinto County could host its own Hummingbird roundup. This is the second set of Black-Chinned Hummingbirds that I have seen this summer. Darting so quick that it is hard to follow them with the camera until they stop abruptly at their destination. Rarely slowing except to feed. This female is indistinguishable from the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Only its chatter confirms it identity. The tiny wings of the hummingbird beat about 80 times per second and it takes five Hummers to equal one tiny Chickadee. Amazing!
It has been a great summer for birding so far and I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings.
The Tufted-Titmouse is one of the four primary birds at our feeders right now. I added a Cardinal mix with black oil seed to draw them in to the feeders. This variety was another early discovery for me. When a Titmouse finds a large seed, you will see it carry to a perch and crack it with sharp whacks of its bill. It will perform this duty again and again. They are eternally entertaining to watch. They hang sideways at times while on the feeder. The Tufted-Titmouse have large black eyes and a brushy crest that cannot be missed.
We are looking to add color at the feeders but if I had one feathery fellow to choose for pure entertainment value, the Tufted-Titmouse would be it. They carry on and argue with one another. Spend more time running each other off than they do actually eating.
Updated July 15th, 2012, several new photos. The House Sparrows moved aside for the return of the Tits. These little guys dart in and out so fast, one has to be quick with the shutter.