Saturday, December 28, 2019

Holiday Visitors

  We weren’t expecting anyone for Christmas. 

                     So who is that orange guy behind the bird feeder?  

It can’t be!  We don’t have those here.

But it is, a Baltimore oriole (two actually, both males). In December!   

  “By now Baltimore orioles are on their wintering grounds in Florida, Central America, and the northern part of South America.”

I guess our visitors didn’t get the memo.

  This might be my favorite Christmas present this year!   I used to have so many in the summer in Minnesota that I couldn’t keep several grape jelly feeders stocked.  We often had one of their hanging basket nests in the yard, and I’ve missed them so much since moving here.  

  Not the greatest photos (phone photos taken through the kitchen window) but oh so welcome.  They were here for three days and then gone, on to the warm tropics I hope.  

🌙 ⭐️ 🌙

  And we had another bird surprise on Christmas Day.  After breakfast we took a ride down our road that ends at old rice fields, the Intercoastal Waterway, and the ferry to the barrier islands that make up the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Preserve.  Big machinery has been at work on the dike of the old rice field where we like to bird. No water all fall, no birds where it usually is teeming with bird life, and we have missed our special spot.  

  Well, Monday we had 8” of rain.  It covered much of the mud flats and by Christmas Day the birds were back!  
Among all the birds there, there was one special bird, one previously found only in Texas, Louisiana, and Mexico   that has been appearing in the most protected areas on the southeastern coast.  

“The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a boisterous duck with a brilliant pink bill and an unusual, long-legged silhouette.”

  The first one was seen at Tom Yawkey in 2008 and just recently, some have even started to nest here. 
And, they really do whistle!  They sound like a dog squeaky toy, a strange sound coming from a bird.  Another interesting fact — unlike other ducks which sleep on the water, whistling ducks roost in trees.  It’s quite a sight to go down to the rice field just before the dusk to see them, standing with their long legs perched in a dead tree, heads under their wings, falling asleep.  

  I hope you, too, got some very special Christmas presents that made you smile!  


  1. That is an awful lot of rain in one day, Cynthia, but if it brought the birds back all well and good! I am sure that the Baltimore Orioles were a real highlight. It was a banner spring and summer here for both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, and perhaps a few have lingered a while. In any event, better than any ornament on a Christmas tree! As for presents that made us smile, a Snowy Owl will do it every time.

  2. Hello Cynthia... looks like your Christmas was a merry one. I wish I could see some birds I haven't seen before... but all that comes to my feeder are cardinals, chickadees, titmice, and the like. I didn't get any one special gift except being with family. That is always special.

  3. I miss seeing Baltimore orioles! They are so beautiful! A duck that sounds like a squeaky toy would be something to hear! I would smile, too, at your two unexpected Christmas presents.

    I got a random act of kindness gift this year that I've been enjoying.

  4. the 8 " of rain caught my attention. we only get 12 " of rain in a year. Now some interesting birds to find . good for you to have your eyes open.

  5. Lucky you. No unusual birds so far but we did have a dog visiting. My son and dil unexpectedly got one from a lady who was too ill to take care of it so i also had an unexpected visitor for Christmas.

  6. interesting bird. Happy New Year 2020 from Poland

  7. They are both lovely birds. Interesting that they haven't migrated yet. Climate change?? Yes we had a nice Christmas present, it rained on Christmas Day. The first in months. The sad part is it only lasted a day but the grass turned from brown to green the next day.