Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Birds at My Feeder; a Sundog

A new bird at my feeder this morning as I poured my first cup: white with a blue-gray back, dark atop the head but otherwise white face with a long needle-like bill.  A few minutes with my Sibley Field Guide confirmed a white-breasted nuthatch.  They're supposed to be common, but I hadn't seen one before--certainly never at my feeder.  My feeder is patronized mostly by mobs of house sparrows (alien city birds), but has gradually attracted a little variety of birds: lots of slate-colored juncos, some tufted titmice and black-capped chickadees, and the occasional house finch and cardinal.  Odd how the house finch once very common at my feeders could become so rare.

More snow today, turning to freezing rain before ending.

© Mike E. Worthington, Georgia, January 2009

female & male house sparrows (brrdwatcher.blogspot.com)

Dark-eyed junco (slate-colored)
© Michael Hogan, New Jersey, February 2004

House finch © Jeff Hurd

The link below reminded me of an experience a week ago.  I was in Rhode Island, driving my mother to visit my father in the nursing home, when I noticed that the sun, dimmed by clouds, was reddish on one side, bluish on the other.  I brought it to her attention, and it was clear enough that my mother was able to make it out despite serious vision trouble, and we admired it for some while.  Only after several minutes did I spot the real sun--much brighter--some distance away (earlier masked by buildings).  I guessed that, like a rainbow, it was caused by some sort of refraction by water in the air, but had no idea of the details.  Here is a very nice sundog, how they form, and what happened to it when a spacecraft was launched nearby.


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