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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Feb 22, 2011 12-1pm sunny 34` Bold Point, East providence, RI

I spotted the Redpolls almost instantly. They were flitting about on the other side of the weedy, industrial field which overlooks the tip of Narragansett Bay then they landed and I lost sight of them. I noted down the regular birds as we walked towards them: a Mockingbird there, some Mallards and Canada Geese over there, Red-breasted Mergansers, Greater Scaup, Hooded Mergansers, American Wigeons, a Gadwall and some Mute Swans on the water and the general assortment of gulls.

There they were again; chittering madly, reminding me of the twittering of Budgies which are commonly reported in display boxes at PetCo. Streaked backs, red caps and black chins, the males had a pinkish tinge on their pale slightly streaked breasts. They were unmistakably Common Redpolls! We followed them back and forth, photographing wildly. They were incredibly active barely staying thirty seconds on any one perch. sometimes they would land only ten feet from us though they preferred to keep their distance. They were presumably feeding off of the seeds of the bushes and Goldenrod. Though I have been searching for Common Redpolls for years today was the first day I have ever had any luck!

Hopefully we will see them here more often as they are known to occur at Bold Point. I am though, unaware at the moment how just how frequently they are seen.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Purdy - our Dirty Birdy

We Found her on a Friday (Nov 19, 2010). Swan Point was fairly limited for species; a few gulls and swans on the water, a Red-tailed Hawk in a tree, a crow flying lazily by. It was an ordinary day for winter birding. But then we saw her, a miserable writhing heap of dirty feathers. It was an American Goldfinch, her neck was twisted a weird angle making her left eye look to the ground.

Picking her up we rushed home where we fed her and gave her water. We set up a temporary home for her in an old mouse cage and named her Purdy after a cartoon character (you can see the cartoon here). She could barely move when we first found her. We thought she wouldn't last the night but she did. Day after day she got better and better.

Visiting our grandparents pet lovebird made her happy and stronger. She was almost fully recovered (flying about easily with her head just barely twisted) and then she had her first crash! One day we woke up to find her looking like she did the first day we found her. But once again, within days, she made a remarkable come back.

Then a week later it happened again. But as always she survived. I want to mention at this point how tame she was. We could hand feed her if we pleased though she preferred the seed bowl where she enjoyed munching on homemade suet, apples, clementines and niger seeds. Every day when we reached into her bird cage (by this time we had replaced the mouse cage with a bird cage) to fill up her water and seed bowl she would watch unfazed from inches away.

Then on the fifteenth of December, thirty minutes after feeding her breakfast, we found her shivering in her water bowl. We removed her from the cold water and put her in a cosy spot to hopefully recover. Twenty five minutes later she was dead.

I suspect that the Purdy got injured when a hawk flew by and and scared her head first into a tree.

At least this interesting little bird's last day's were spent in comfort and warmth.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Feburary 4, 2011 12:30am Lyons St, East Providence RI

We were dropping my sisters off at their friends house. My mother had gone in to say hello while my brother and I preferred to wait outside. Suddenly a weird rolling call best described as a "Grrrrrrrau-Grrrrrrrrau" caught my ear. I looked in the direction the noise had come from. There was a squirrel running along the ground. I knew that squirrels could make odd noises but I had never heard one say anything like this. Then on an impulse I looked up. Overhead flew a huge Corvus (Corvus is the name for the jay and crow family). It had a wedge shaped tail, was a rich black and emitted the odd noise. The instant I saw it I knew what it was-a Common Raven!

I watched excitedly as the bird flew steadily South and then disappeared into the distance. Although I am pretty sure that I have seen ravens in Massachusetts-I have never seen one in Rhode Island. In 1992 there had only been two records of ravens in Rhode Island but now ravens are growing increasingly common-and one pair is even nesting in South Kingstown. This is the first time I have ever positively identified a Common Raven.

On the same day that we saw the Common Raven we went and adopted a puppy. We are calling him "Sir Theodore Digby Chicken Ceaser" (Theo for short). We named him after a comedy (in which Sir Digby Chicken Ceaser is the main and funniest character). It's a very appropriate name because Sir Digbys side kick is called Ginger which is the same name as my grand parents dog. You can watch some episodes of it here.

Sir Theodore Digby Chicken Ceasar

Yesterday we went for a walk at Turner Reservoir with Theo. While we were there a man pointed out a Coyote watching us from the ice. Later when I looked for the coyote again I found that a second one had joined it! It was quite a sight.