Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Northern Flicker and Spring!

One of the fun things about keeping a blog is that I can look back and actually see when I was posting about this or that, rather than trying to remember.  I can see that in other years, I've been out biking in March, but there's still a lot of snow on the ground, and it's still cold, so I haven't gone out this year yet.  (I know some friends have, but I'm a whuss.)  The roads are probably clear enough to start riding outside.

Today, I saw a Northern Flicker on the neighbor's tree (I got a pretty good look with the binoculars, and had my bird book handy).  I rarely see these around here, and it seems early (though I'm near the northern boundary of their wintering line, according to the book, so they may have been around all winter and I just didn't see them, or it may not be especially early).  Unfortunately, it flew off before I got my camera.  The flicker gives me hope for spring.

In looking over past springs, I can see that by March, I've often had crocuses up.  Not this year, though.  Where they are is still covered by a goodly snow pack.  (We really need moisture here, so I shouldn't complain.  If we get a nice, slow melting spring, that supposedly will help with our soil conditions.)

I think the first chipping sparrow might be about, and there are a couple of redpolls (common) at the feeder today, as well as the usual suspects (a tufted titmouse, juncoes, house sparrows, downy and hairy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatches, American goldfinches).  The goldfinches aren't molting yet, so far as I can see.  (The Sibley Guide blog has a fantastic post about goldfinch molting patterns here!)

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