In the six years I have lived here, it has seemed the we are surrounded by birds. We hear them all the time, we see them in the garden, at the feeders and flying overhead.
But this winter it has seemed like they all just disappeared. Even our year round birds, like the Cardinals, have been absent. The garden is silent.
I was really getting quite depressed about it, thinking it was because we now have houses on either side, where we used to have brush and trees.
My little country garden that I loved so much when we moved here is rapidly becoming surrounded by suburbia. But I consoled myself that at least we still have the hedgerow (at least for now) across the road behind us. It was always full of birds.
Where they went this winter is a complete mystery.
But at long last, I've started seeing some birds again. Okay - so they are mostly European House Sparrows, not the most desirable of avian visitors. But after the complete lack of birds over the winter, I'll take what I can get!
I also caught sight of this Carolina wren last weekend in the rain. Perhaps they will nest on the patio again this year. I hope so! I heard and saw a Chickadee too, but couldn't get a photo of him.
The Southern Wax Myrtle seemed to provide a cozy dry shelter to these Mourning Doves, who stayed huddled under it for most of that rainy morning. I began to worry that they might be injured but once it stopped raining, they flew off.
After weeks of cold wet, dreary weather, I was happy to see the sun shining in the garden this morning. I was even more thrilled to see "Mr. Cardinal" on the wall, helping himself to the birdseed I had just put out. Mrs. Cardinal was there too, but I didn't get a good shot of her.
As I was standing at the back door, taking photos of the sparrows and the cardinal, I realized that there was another bird with them. At first I had assumed it was a sparrow but quickly realized it wasn't.
As I wanted to identify it and add it to my "Life List", I took several photos. Unfortunately, they haven't helped me identify it, either using my Birds of North America book, or the online tool at WhatBird.com
This is where you come in. I'm hoping someone can tell me what this is. And then I can feel like an idiot for not being able to identify it myself! :-)
With those markings he should be easy to identify, but once I had entering in "brown back", "streaked front," "yellow markings," "chestnut crown" etc. I ended up with nothing.
These three are the best of the photos I got of him.
Any idea what he is? Please leave a comment :-)
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.