It snowed this morning–not a lot, maybe and inch or so, but it is the first time since mid-December that we’ve gotten more than a few flurries. I was watching the feeders from the front door and the finches and sparrows were going at it like Bluto and Marmalard. There had to have been 60 or so House Finches, American Goldfinches, Sparrows (I saw House, White-crowned, and Field) Dark-eyed Juncos, Red-winged Blackbirds, and a Spotted Towhee. There were also a couple of Western Meadowlarks and a few Mourning Doves. The neighbor’s Guinea’s even showed up.
As I was standing there drinking my coffee I heard a Blue Jay screeching. I didn’t think much of it–I hear him out there daily, but he suddenly crashed into the Cottonless Cottonwood in front of my house, causing all the combatants at the feeder to flush so quickly that I thought they would uproot the little ash tree the feeders hang in. The cottonwood has an amazingly thick tangle of branches and the jay usually lands on one of the upper or outer branches, but this time he dove straight into the middle of the tree, making the branches clatter and knocking snow off of several of them, and sat there screeching.
I was a bit startled by this and was leaning out the front door so I could see him better, when another, smaller bird streaked by between the house and the cottonwood, not a meter from my head, followed closely by a much larger bird. Scared the hell out of me. The smaller bird ( a finch, I think) did a high gee turn between the cottonwood and the ash and shot off back the way he had come, quickly gaining altitude, with the larger bird (a Sharp-shinned Hawk, possibly) gaining on him.
They disappeared over the new neighbors house, so I don’t know if it was a successful outcome for the hawk or the finch. Caught without my camera once again. Probably wouldn’t have made a difference–everything happened so fast that I doubt I could have caught it.
I went out to Fritch Fortress (an area of Lake Meredith) in the afternoon to see the eagles were dong anything exciting. The snow had stopped but the wind was pretty stiff so I didn’t take but a few photos, none of which were all that great. The eagles were in their usual places on the sandbars and the American White Pelicans were huddled just off of Blue Creek like they were about to try a Hail Mary pass over the eagles. It was a grey day and the lake was very choppy.