The fall of 2012 will go down as the best nuthatch viewing of my life. The first ever sighting of a brown-headed nuthatch at my feeders came on November 21 - and this is an easy bird to identify. He joined the red-breasted nuthatch (from my Oct. observations) as a rare visitor to the Southeast - apparently due to some type of pine cone seed crop failure in the Northeast? Of course, the white-breasted nuthatch is very common here and I have had two or more of them at the peanut feeder along with the other two nuthatch visitors. SPLENDID! The fall of 2012 is the second in a row that I have welcomed a rufous hummingbird to the feeders and this was the first year that the visitor lingered all the way through November, with some memorable viewing on Thanksgiving Day. My last rufous observation was on November 30. Other first sightings for 2012 included a Ruby-crowned kinglet on November 18, and Christmas day brought a flurry of four goldfinches. Despite the finches feeding at the thistle station, they left that same day and have not been seen since. I have heard of other sightings of goldfinches on 12/25 followed by empty feeders, which signals to me that those finches were headed South. My first fox sparrow and a dark-eyed junco showed up on 12/27. Climactic conditions improved in late December with four inches of rain over the last 2.5 weeks of 2012. Other sightings included tufted titmouse, cardinal, downy woodpecker, carolina chickadee, brown thrasher, red-headed woodpecker, chipping sparrow, white-throated sparrow, dove, yellow-bellied sapsucker, mockingbird, sharp-shinned hawk, Northern parula warbler, carolina wren, Canada goose and redhead duck.
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