Sunday, January 11, 2009

Overwintering Anna's Hummingbird update, and a bonus bird.

We went to Paulik Park to poke around in the damp. It was quiet, with dense and spooky ground fog above the still considerable snowpack in the areas not flooded. After three-plus weeks of brutal cold, snow, wind and heavy rain, I didn't hold out much hope for Squeaky the Anna's Hummingbird, but we had only been there a few minutes before I heard his scritchy song.

There he was, on one of his usual perches. I set my tripod, aiming at the feeder for a close-up, and as I waited, heard a soft whistle. It was one of those calls you know is something good, because the hard drive in your brain keeps spinning and coming up with nothing.

The whistler obligingly flew right into the camera frame... and was immediately attacked by Squeaky (that green-and-white blur toward the left edge of the image). Sorry, Squeaks, nice to see you're okay and all, but heck, you've been upstaged. A Townsend's Solitaire! These slender (usually solitary) thrushes of the western mountains descend from higher elevations in winter to feed--mainly on juniper berries. I tend to see one about every half decade or so. This was a very cooperative bird, who sat still in plain view for quite a while.

Townsend's Solitaire, Myadestes townsendi.

Once again, Paulik Park proves to be an avian hot spot.


Cicero Sings said...

And we seem to have such a dearth of subject matter. Huge sigh.

PSYL said...

Amazing sighting, and one in every 5 years!? Wow.

The park must not have good drainage because it looked more like a pond than a park in the picture.

dAwN said...

Oh my I hope that little hummer survives the cold.
Nice sighting...Love to see the Solitaire

Zhakee said...

It amazes me how hummingbirds can survive low temperatures when they need to eat so very often. I wonder if its our feeders that let them survive such locations, or if they find enough from natural sources.

Earl Cootie said...

Bravo! Magnificent bird, that TOSO!

Hugh said...

dAwN and Zhakee, Since this post I have found out from the person who has been maintaining the feeder that TWO hummers are now using it. We knew there were two birds early in the fall, and that they have both survived the brutal weather (by Vancouver standards)we've had, well, they are tough little characters.

Earl, It was very exciting. I was with my son, who is 8. He said, "Dad, you're really excited about that bird, aren't you?"

I was really excited.