First Sightings For Us



Early April is the time when those birding juices start flowing in “Our Woods.” I started keeping records in April, 1994.

The earliest date for the migrating Kinglets: March 31, 1998. On this date we saw both Golden- and Ruby-Crowned Kinglets.

Here’s a list of what we’ve seen so far in 2019:

March 23: We saw our first-ever Northern goshawk at our feeder. It may have been after birds that were feeding there. A few days later there was a Great Blue Heron on the Parr Lakes.

Robins and red-winged blackbirds have been here since late March.

April 7: We first noticed  golden-crowned kinglets. As of April 13 we haven’t seen the ruby-crowned variety for certain.

A first-ever sighting of the canvasback duck. Four on the south end of Lower Parr Lake.

Several crows gathering noisily in Laurelcrest Park.

Bufflehead ducks on Lower and Upper Parr Lake in Laurelcrest Park. Only other time we have seen them was on April 14, 1995. They were diving for food, staying down for short (13 s to 45 s) times. As of April 13 the two are still here.

April 11: I spotted a brown creeper and cormorants and identified the call of a white-throated sparrow for the first time this year.

April 13: A first ever sighting of a Pied-billed Grebe diving for food on Upper Parr Lake. This bird stays under for well over a minute. This photo helped ID the bird from a distance. Taken with my Alpha A-6000 using a 200 mm zoom when 130 yards away.







Quite often, while walking in “Our Woods,” I get a little frustrated at seeing such a large number of geese on the two small, human-made lakes (converted from three human-made quarry holes) in the housing development near our bigger than needed two-storey house.  Often I have to focus on the path to avoid collecting goose poop on my hiking shoes. I might grumble, “What pests they are!” under my breath.

The other day I thought a little more deeply about it and realized who the real pests are on this planet.

Really, who are we humans to look down on other species as “pests.” I should know better. I get mailings from Greenpeace. We smarty-pants bipeds are pretty serious pests. In fact, the word pests is a euphemism when used to define Homo sapiens.

I get regular confirmation of our thoughtless pestiness on my regular walks through “Our Woods.” The above photo was taken today from the bridge across the brook that flows through the woods: a large, retired jack-o-lantern that someone thought would look cool smashed onto the stones. I have witnessed many much dumber examples, the dumbest being reported in this earlier post from May 2012.

Today’s comparatively minor incident reminded me of my goose poop reflection of a few days ago. The 20-odd straggler-gagglers that remain, but for our thoughtlessness, might have honked south with their friends weeks ago. Kind-hearted, not-too-deep humans like to feed them bread – probably not even whole-wheat or twelve-grain…  I saw someone feeding the Mallards and Canada Geese by the shore only today, and my mind immediately thought of… well… Peking Duck. I wiped the dripping saliva from my jaw.

‘Nuff said. Here are a few more photos taken recently: