February 19, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Calliope hummingbird is gone

At the Augusta Bird Club meeting last week, I was told that the now-famous Calliope hummingbird was still hanging around its chosen winter haven on the west edge of Lynchburg. Since it was a (relatively) nice day today, I paid a visit to the Morris home in hopes of getting a second look at the "hummer," but learned to my chagrin that it has already packed up and left. It was a big disappointment, but at least I got a good look at it when I was there last month. It's hard to believe that a neotropical migrant like that could have survived all those nights with single-digit temperatures we have had this winter.

On the way home, I stopped at a stream in a pleasant ravine full of green laurel bushes along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Everything was silent except for the rushing water, and I was about to give up on finding any interesting birds when out popped a Winter wren, yet another very late first-of-season bird for [me]. See the newly-updated Annual arrival page.

Back home, I was pleased to see more Pine siskins at our feeder by the window, and was lucky to finally get a superb closeup shot of one. Previously, I had taken photos of that species with our digital video camera, which yields still images that are rather grainy. Here is the high-quality image you get with a serious digital SLR camera, a Nikon D40:

Pine siskin