July 1, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Spoonbill makes the headlines

In her column in today's News Leader, YuLee Larner wrote about the Roseate Spoonbill that strayed off course and spent a few days near Waynesboro recently. (I was one of the fortunate ones to see it, racking up another notch on my life bird list; see June 18.) YuLee was clearly "tickled pink" (the same color as the bird!) by this special event:

The Augusta County roseate spoonbill will be the first documented Virginia record if accepted by the Virginia Avian Records Committee (VARCOM), and this is my rarest column since 1977.

There's no doubt that this sighting will be accepted, but I'm not so sure that my sighting of the Scissor-tailed flycatcher will be accepted. In any case, here's an old photo my brother John sent me a few years ago:


Roseate Spoonbill, somewhere in Florida, in 2000 or thereabouts, courtesy of John Clem.

Summer yard birds

Not much to report, as far as serious bird outings; we're in the summer doldrums now. The hummingbird is still showing up at our feeder a few times a day, and we get occasional House finches, Cedar waxwings, Cowbirds, and Catbirds. Grackles remain a nuisance, Starlings somewhat less so. Today I heard a familiar song near our back porch, and soon spotted the source: a male Goldfinch who was nibbling at one of the sunflower plants, which have grown to well over six feet tall. He called, and soon a female showed up. Goldfinches have paired up by now, and are getting ready to start their (late) breeding season.

English bird seed

In response to a friendly solicitation, I added to my Wild birds blog page a link to the The Really Wild Bird Food Company, located in Hampshire, U.K. I know that at least a few baseball fans in the U.K. and on the Continent follow my Web site / blog, but I don't know if any bird watchers do.