Unexpected Visitors

What an unusual summer we have here in Willamette valley! Back in February, we celebrated early sunshine, and came in April, all things were blooming and thriving. This is definitely the most colorful summer I have enjoyed around our house. Then, the high temperature began to emerge in May, above the ’90s and it seemed to stay this way for a couple of weeks now. Except for maybe two days, I have not seen the hi’s go down below 90 in a 10-day weather forecast.

The good news is when all the flowers are in their prime, fragrance, and pollen are flowing in the air, birds seem to become extremely active. I like to sit on our porch and work from my laptop when the temperature is still mild in the morning. To me, luxury is to be surrounded by flower aroma, birds chirps, and pampered by a pleasant breeze. It is now late spring and baby birds just learned to fly and they loved to try. I was often so entertained by their clumsy flying behavior that I forgot what I was doing on the computer. Earlier I expected to capture some shots with moms feeding babies, but mothers are all so protected with their newbies, I have not had any chance to get a perfect shot yet. But, I get to watch siblings chasing one another, and most exciting, I have seen a few unexpected visitors !!!

A Bunting showed up in our feeder briefly more than two years ago. Caught by surprise, I only had a quick glance, but the vivid and stunning colors have always been in my mind.  When this Bunting suddenly popped up this time, I happened to have my camera next to my laptop. I held my breath and raised my camera very cautiously (in order not to disturb him). But, does he seem to mind being photographed? I don’t think so. I thought I was spying on him, but he is the one who does the scrutiny… His appearance has surely made me a great day!

You can listen to their call through this link.  All About Birds have very comprehensive information about all sorts of birds in all regions.

Most of the time I can be very focused on my work except if any of the birds start to sing or just make calls, I would have urged wanting to identify the birds.  American Robin has absolutely the sweetest voice, but they are everywhere and I have heard enough. House Finches are not uncommon, but it is not all that easy to take their pictures. Their song is very high-pitched, crisp, and pleasantly distinctive.  Go to the All About Birds site to listen to House Finch’s song.

Not only their voice, but male House Finch’s behavior is also sometimes hilarious. They usually react very quickly and flee in no time, but sometimes, he checked you out, little by little and from different angles, just like Bunting. The study says Bunting and Finches have a similar personality. Well said.

Male has that distinguished orange red color from head to the breast while the female is in plain grayish brown color. One of the reasons that I don’t get tired of House Finches is the companionship that they demonstrated. Their male and female always travel together.  The male bird is the one who carries nesting materials, feed his female while she is in her pregnancy, and feeds babies after they are born. Not only that, I often saw a male guarding when his female is eating on the feeder.

I captured this pair later in the afternoon yesterday. It was dark outside. I thought they are couples, but I think they are Dad and a baby girl. Babies have rounder heads and puffier feathers. You can easily detect a baby when it is flying.

Nuthatch is definitely one of my favorite birds, but prior to this week, I have only seen them twice this year. Believe or not, today I saw two of them flying back and forth right in front of me all day long. They would stop to pick up some seeds and instantly go out of my sight. The moment when I picked up my camera, they disappeared. Except that this (apparently) young bird was flapping its wings awkwardly and it fell on my flower basket at least 6 times. It was just too funny to watch.

Hummingbirds are very territorial. I particularly set out two feeders, but there is still no peace among them. They fight their own species and others. Anna’s Hummingbirds (green color) are the aggressive ones while Rufous (orange, golden) is my favorite. While Anna’s are guarding the feeders on regular basis, I seldom see Rufous around.

Rufous looks more attractive and they are funny sometimes. We saw one Rufous come to our fountain to drink that I missed the shot. The other one stood on the flower basket hanger and just stared at us fearlessly. It was there for a while that I had enough time to get our 500mm, check out the details. Isn’t it a beautiful bird?

What a wonderful week to receive these unexpected backyard visitors!!! If they will come more often in such hot summer days, I am willing to endure the heat as an exchange for their appearance. I have been wanting to texture tons of flower images that I have taken, But, as soon as my bird buddies came around, I was completely distracted…..


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