Last night I left my kitchen window open slightly by accident
and this morning I was awaken at 5:30 by the beautiful song
of a Hermit Thrush. He had suddenly appeared at my
appartment complex the day before. He sang frequently for
about 15-20 minutes, after which the year-round resident
Bewick's Wren began his song. The sequence of birds
continued with Chestnut-backed Chickadees vocalizing
next and then finally Dark-eyed Juncos. Occasionally,
all four species could be heard singing simultaneously.
Some time later, the neighborhood Nuttall's Woodpecker
could be heard drumming loudly, presumably working on a
nest, or just establishing his territory. Normally I don't
get up until about 8:00 and would hate to be awaken so early,
but today was different, and happily so. I think I'll leave
my window open again tonight...
I went to the small pond behind Gunn Highschool to get photos
of the Hooded Mergansers, of which there were six,
and found some other interesting birds as well. There were
many Selasphorus hummingbirds around. I expect most
of them were Allen's Hummingbirds as I mentioned
earlier today, but the first bird I got a good look at turned
out to be a beautiful Rufous Hummingbird with a completely
rusty back and flaming orange gorget. I tried to get a look
at some of the other hummers buzzing around the eucalyptus
trees, and found at least two Allen's, and many Anna's.
There were two Northern Rough-winged Swallows foraging
over the pond, and an Orange-crowned Warbler in the
willows near the bridge.
Those of you who were on today's field trip know that we
had a good look at a female Merlin at the Don Edwards
Nature Refuge on the East Bay. The bird was a little far
a way, but quite clearly identified.
There is a small group of Hooded Mergansers, both
male and female, in a small pond behind Gunn Highschool
in Palo Alto. A classmember alerted me to these birds, which
seem to have settled on this area as a repeat wintering
ground. They should provide a nice photo opportunity if
they remain here.
I've also noticed increased breeding behavior in my own
neighborhood, with the Dark-eyed Juncos gathering
nest materials and the Bewick's Wren singing almost
constantly in my back yard. After my alarm goes off in the
morning, the wren is the first sound I am conscious of...
With the approach of spring, lots of birds are making their
annual appearance in our area. For example, I've been noticing
a few Allen's Hummingbirds in the area, making their
distictive "wing-trill" as they feed.