Big Year 2016: Backyard Blizzard

Dashing

The big blizzard came to NJ, dropping 22″+ on us and giving the birds fits looking for food. Nothing new for the year list, but lots of great looks at some beautiful backyard birds in the snow.

Saturday

Blizzard pictures were tough in the low light, but it was still nice to see the birds coming to our feeders (desperation or not). The icterids were all over the place – mostly COMMON GRACKLE with some BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS and EUROPEAN STARLINGS mixed in. They were all over the place making it harder for the other birds to get a snack, but our ever-so-helpful COOPER’S HAWK cleared them out so that the smaller birds could get their own meals. The highlight was a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER coming to the feeder where I could finally get a decent shot for the year list.

Redheads get more peanuts

Fatso

Sunday

The next day the light was just gorgeous for photography. There was a lot of snow to shovel but it was worth it for the looks I had at the male YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER as it was creating its feeding holes in our hemlock only a few feet from me. If my wife had come out, she would have wondered why I was sitting there with my hands on the handle of my shovel instead of clearing the snow; it was, however, too good a show to pass up.

After shoveling a huge amount of snow (why do I live in a house with so much sidewalk again?) it was time to relax a bit for some photography. Again it was the normal denizens fighting their way through the grackles for some meals, but at least the light was spectacular.

Blue Feathers
Peanuts
Gentleman In Red

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Blue Jay
2016 YTD Tally
92 Species – Month 92
Lifers 1
NJ Species 81
NJ Lifers 1
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