Thursday, January 3, 2013

Birding Journal Observations / Nov. - Dec. 2012

Rufous hummingbird on Thanksgiving Day
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.

To view past Birding Journal Observations click here.


  1. I was one of those people who had a flurry of goldies on Christmas day... must have been 10 at least. Then gone by afternoon. I had 2 show up on New Years day, but they also have moved on. I was wondering what was up with that. I am enjoying the antics of two Red Breasted Nuthatches this winter - they've been around for over a month now. No white breasted ones on James Island where I live... haven't seen one in the 13 years I've lived here. I've also heard the kinglets, but they aren't coming for the suet this year as they have in the past years. I also had a junco, but I saw mine in early November.

  2. I have seen a few goldfinches filter back in a few days after the New Year, but I had never seen the goldfinches come to the thistle feeder and then simply leave - like they did this year. It had me doubting my thistle seed. Did I get a bad batch? I actually went out and bought a different brand, but alas I just think the goldfinches were naturally following a migration pattern that they felt was right. Thanks for all the positive feedback and Good Luck Birding!


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