Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Fall/Winter Birds are Back

The migrants are showing up early and in good numbers this year. Earlier this month, the Yellow-rumped warblers, Western Bluebirds, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos made their first appearance here on our property. Just yesterday there were even a couple of Pine Siskins hanging out with the Lesser Goldfinches, imbibing on the niger seeds in the finch sock. 

10/30/10 Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus).

10/30/10 Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus) lower left; Lesser Goldfinches above (Carduelis psaltria). The Siskin is heavily streaked, whereas the Goldfinches are not - but looks aside, they do flock together.

10/29/10 White Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys).

10/24/10 First winter White Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys), with the tell-tale chestnut & gray crown stripes (vs. white & black on the adults).

10/24/10 Dark-Eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis).

10/24/10 California Towhee (Pipilo crissalis).

10/29/10 Western Bluebirds (Sialia mexicana).

10/31/10 California Quail (Callipepla californica).

10/24/10 Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata). 

10/31/10 Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) with the rose-red throat & crown, hanging out with Black-Chinned Hummingbirds (Archilochus alexandri).

And I have to end this post with these sunrise shots taken early Friday morning (6:45am Oct. 29th) from outside the kitchen door. Makes getting up at the crack of dawn worth the while. 




  1. Western bluebirds? I'm soooo jealous! We are up to our elbows in Anna's hummers at the moment, but honestly, I haven't looked closely enough to see if we have any new arrivals recently. I can't believe that sunrise, it's gorgeous!

  2. Make that two green-eyed monsters. The Western Bluebirds aren't visiting my western garden. And the junco looks like a character.

    I love that final shot. So moody, lovely.

  3. Clare, we didn't have any Western bluebirds last year, so this is a real treat. In the spring of 2007, we had another gorgeous species of bluish hue, Lazuli Buntings, in large numbers at our feeders (up to 15 at a time). That was quite a spectacle, but unfortunately, I haven't seen any since.

    Altadenahiker, Juncos are little characters indeed. The girls have softer colors than the boys, but they're all cheeky cute. I love seeing them make their appearance with the white-crowned sparrows, as they signal fall-winter here in SoCal.

  4. You get bluebirds? You get quail? Lucky, lucky you!

    Also, your photos are lovely. I'm really good at photographing the branch just vacated by the warblers.

  5. Lisa, we do feel very, very fortunate to have such cool birds in our neighborhood. There's a covey of quail from a nearby chaparral stand that trek out to our bird feeder several times a day to pick off whatever birdseed has scattered on the ground. Better than watching the tellie.

  6. Just discovered your blog--super cool. Add me to the list of people jealous of your bluebirds and quail! Up here in NorCal I too mark the beginning of winter when the sparrows and juncos return. I so love the sort of melancholy-sounding call of the gold-crowned sparrows. And, that shot of the hummingbirds gathered for dinner is amazing! Looks like one dude and three ladies--kind of the Big Love of the hummingbird world, if you've ever seen that show.

  7. Wow you've got some beauties there. We have waxwings that have flown over from Norway and Sweden to spend the winter here.

    That was some amazing sunrise you captured :)

  8. Jess, I also enjoyed happening on your blog. We don't get golden-crowned sparrows down in our neck of the woods, but I've seen them up in San Luis Obispo County on a birding trip to Morro Bay a couple winters ago. I'm not one of those crazy, diehard birders, but it was a real treat to add these guys to my "life list." Big Love of hummingbirds? Hah! What a thought, and very apropos!

    Rosie, waxwings? How very cool! I know Cedar Waxwings flock through Southern California, but I haven't yet seen them in our area. Hoping that some of our Elderberries and other fruiting natives will eventually attract them.