Thursday, November 29, 2007

Late Fall Arrives

Most of the leaves have fallen from the trees except for the oaks. This was a problem for most of November because our sun room faces the woods. But since last week, the oak leaves finally fell from the big trees, allowing the sunlight to heat the room.

Still, the small oak trees retain their leaves which appear red when the sunlight shines through them.

My nature activities have centered on watching birds at the feeder. One of the most common is the American Goldfinch which number in the dozens. Luckily, they also feed on the seeds of the Sourwood trees so they do not rely totally on our feeders.

Here, the American Goldfinch flies to the feeder. At the bottom is another goldfinch and a Carolina Chickadee. At the top, the White-Breasted Nuthatch walks down the feeder.

The goldfinches share the feeder with two female Purple Finches. These finches returned in October from wherever they spent the summer.

Mourning Doves and several Northern Cardinals feed on the ground below the feeders. Along with these year-round residents, dark-eyed juncoes and a variety of sparrows feed.

A Fox Sparrow, rare visitor for us, feeds with a couple of goldfinches.

More common is the Northern Cardinal and the White-Throated Sparrow.

The many birds at the feeders attract birds of prey. Once, I heard a ruckus from the Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmouses outside. When I looked I saw the Sharp-Shinned Hawk on the ground with a Northern Cardinal in its talons.