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!