Monday, May 18, 2020

My CRAZY Yard This Spring

When we saw this house 20 years ago, the yard was overgrown but definitely had potential. The house was perfect for us but needed a lot of work. We fixed up the house and the yard over the years. We built a pond with a little stream that attracts birds. We have come to know many backyard bird species over the years and even seen some good migrants come through. A few warblers have stopped by here and there. This year is different. Really different.

First - we had our old sunroom torn down and rebuilt last year. The construction tore up the back yard pretty bad. It has taken some time but we finally have a landscaper trying to make the backyard livable again.

Second - we are in the midst of a global pandemic which is forcing both of us to work from home everyday. Connie has claimed the new sunroom as her makeshift office.

Third - the weather has been wacky. Lots of rain and colder than normal. But it is finally beginning to feel like spring.

I guess those factors all add up to WOW in the yard. It stared last Monday when I spotted this male Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the Dogwood tree above the pond.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Later that same day, I saw a bright red streak go across the patio and into the pond. A male Scarlet Tanager taking bath!

Scarlet Tanager
We've had Common Yellow-throats in the yard before. I photographed this one through the window from my office so it is not a great photo. 

Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Kingbirds are birds of open country so imagine my surprise when this bird showed up at the pond on Tuesday morning.

Eastern Kingbird
I looked to the left and spotted this male Baltimore Oriole in the next tree. 

Baltimore Oriole
The funny thing is that I was actually working while all of this was going on. It's a good thing that my coworkers understand my obsession. I had to hang up on a video call when this Chestnut-sided Warbler started splashing around in the pond.

Chestnut-sided Warbler
A Black and White Warbler isn't unusual but he showed up as I was outside watching the other birds, so I snapped a photo. 

Black and White Warbler
Northern Parulas are also a common visitor to our yard. 

Northern Parula
I know this isn't a bird, but it just goes to show how active the yard has been this week. I found a soccer ball in the yard and assumed it belonged to the neighbor so I kicked it into their yard. The next morning, Peanut started barking at the window. Connie and I looked out and saw the neighborhood Fox trotting down the hill. He stopped and to our surprise, he started playing with the ball! 

Bird action slowed down on Thursday and I headed to the shore which was a kind of a bust for birds. We did have a few good birds including this Bay-breasted Warbler at Cox Hall Creek. This is probably the best photo I've been able to get of one. 

Bay-breasted Warbler
Back home and to work today and here come the birds again! Today, I peered outside and to my surprise, another Bay-breasted Warbler in our pond! Unfortunately, I missed the photo. I also missed a photo of a Tennessee Warbler in the pond. I did manage to photograph our resident Blue Jay getting a quick drink. 

Blue Jay
And, the Scarlet Tanager seems to be hanging around the neighborhood. He patiently waited his turn for the pond.

Scarlet Tanager
Our Ruby-throated Hummingbird is making the most of the trumpet honeysuckle. 

What a week!