Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Spring is Coming! (February Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Bird Feeder Action Shots)

I'm a bit late for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day this month, but I couldn't just skip it because spring is definitely starting to arrive. Spring seems to arrive earlier with each passing year. Ah, climate change. The flowers are nice, but the mosquitoes aren't, and the air conditioning bills won't be, either, when it warms up a little more. Also the warm weather creates the atmospheric ridging over the Pacific that blocks rainstorms from arriving and is causing the prolonged drought, which is not good for the flowers or the trees or the people or anything else.

Still, I may as well photograph the flowers while they're here. My daffodils are blooming!

Narcissus (daffodils)

Narcissus (daffodils)

My Japanese camellia (Camellia japonica) is also blooming.

Camellia japonica (Japanese camellia)

And my yarrow (Achillea millefolium).

Achillea millefolium (yarrow)

That's all the white flowers; now for the blue ones. My California lilac (Ceanothus 'Joyce Coulter') has produced its first full flower spike. It has many more buds that haven't opened yet, so I expect a bigger show from it soon.

Ceanothus 'Joyce Coulter' (prostrate California lilac)

Grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) are new to my garden this year. The flowers are extremely tiny!

Muscari armeniacum (grape hyacinth)

I also have pink flowers. The Japanese flowering quince (Chaenomeles japonica) was the very first spring bloom that I noticed this year.

Chaenomeles japonica (Japanese flowering quince)

Chaenomeles japonica (Japanese flowering quince)

Chaenomeles japonica (Japanese flowering quince)

Rounding out my pink flower collection, my very young peach tree (Prunus persica 'Giant Babcock White') has just started blooming for the very first time.

Prunus persica 'Giant Babcock White' (peach)

And of course there are also birds. I've been trying my hand at action shots lately. Here are some lesser goldfinches (Spinus psaltria) flying around while two male house finches (Haemorhous mexicana) sit calmly and eat.

Spinus psaltria (lesser goldfinches) and Haemorhous mexicanus (male house finches)

This time it's the male house finch that's airborne, while the lesser goldfinches sit at top left and bottom right. The bird at top right is a pine siskin (Spinus pinus), and the back half of a bird just below it is probably a female house finch.

Haemorhous mexicanus (house finch), Spinus pinus (pine siskin), Spinus psaltria (lesser goldfinches)

There's no action in this one, but I think this is two pine siskins on the left as well as a house finch and a lesser goldfinch. Pine siskins are among my less common birds, so it's unusual to see two of them at once.

Spinus pinus (pine siskins), Haemorhous mexicanus (house finch), Spinus psaltria (lesser goldfinch)

Here we have a lesser goldfinch chasing off another lesser goldfinch, while a male and a female house finch eat peacefully. The goldfinches seem, in general, more inclined to fight for dominance than the house finches.

Spinus psaltria (lesser goldfinches) and Haemorhous mexicanus (house finches)

Here we have a lesser goldfinch taking flight from the top of the feeder while two house finches and two lesser goldfinches eat below.

Spinus psaltria (lesser goldfinches) and Haemorhous mexicanus (house finches)

Sometimes the feeder is just too crowded to hold everyone. Here we have two male house finches, two male lesser goldfinches, and two female lesser goldfinches. The arriving female lesser goldfinch appears to be scaring off a male house finch who is significantly bigger than her.

Spinus psaltria (lesser goldfinches) and Haemorhous mexicanus (house finches)

Here's a portrait of a male house finch eating a black oil sunflower seed.

(house finch)

And here's the line at the other bird feeder. Three male house finches are waiting in line while three house finches of varying genders are eating.

(house finches)

I bought a new plant pot recently, printed with silhouettes of birds. I filled it with potting soil and planted seeds in it. These white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) wasted no time eating the seeds I'd planted, even going so far as to dig the top inch or so of soil out of the pot and dump it on the ground. Arghh! It's not like I don't feed them! Why can't they stick to eating the seeds I want them to eat?

Zonotrichia leucophrys (juvenile white-crowned sparrows)

The white-crowned sparrows eat mostly from the ground; I rarely see them at the feeders. Occasionally they turn up in unexpected places, though. Here's one perched on the nyjer thistle feeder along with two lesser goldfinches. The goldfinches normally keep this feeder to themselves; it's rare to see any other species using it.

Spinus psaltria (lesser goldfinches) and Zonotrichia leucophrys (white-crowned sparrow)

This is a golden-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla). They behave much the same as the white-crowned sparrows but are far less numerous. Both species seem to be getting quite plump lately around here.

(golden-crowned sparrow)

I've seen several of my more unusual bird species again lately. This is a black phoebe (Sayornis nigricans).

(black phoebe)

And this is a Northern flicker (Colaptes auratus). Probably the same Northern flicker I saw once  before, because it's the same race and sex (red-shafted, male). This bird and the black phoebe both eat primarily insects, so the bird feeders don't draw them in.

Colaptes auratus (Northern flicker)

This is a male house sparrow (Passer domesticus) at the suet feeder. House sparrows are not supposed to like suet, but this one has not been informed.

Passer domesticus (male house sparrow)

Lesser goldfinches are also not supposed to like suet. Birds are not always predictable. This is a female lesser goldfinch on the suet feeder.

Spinus psaltria (lesser goldfinch)

And this is a female lesser goldfinch in the pecan tree.
Spinus psaltria (lesser goldfinch)

This is a lesser goldfinch in the pecan tree. Some of my lesser goldfinches are getting noticeably plump lately too.

Spinus psaltria (lesser goldfinch)

Here are ten lesser goldfinches in the pecan tree together. This is where they congregate when Boston or I accidentally scare them away from the feeders. They gather in the pecan tree to keep an eye on us until they decide it's safe to eat again.

Spinus psaltria (lesser goldfinches)
Tags: native plants, photographs
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