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Old Jan 30, 2012, 7:03 PM   #1
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Default Some hungry birds

We in East Tennessee have been experiencing amazingly warm, springlike weather at the lower elevations. Sun and rain and temperatures in the 50's and 60's fahrenheit!

Warm sunny days are perfect for chasing after the birds, and observing their feeding behavior. Here's a Goldfinch up in a Sweetgum tree. Those spiky things are the sweetgum "fruits," which are full of tiny seeds. Goldfinches really seem to enjoy these little seeds...
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 7:05 PM   #2
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And, they hurt like the dickens when you step on them! Nice capture.

Our weather has been amazingly un-New England like, too.

Patty
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 7:05 PM   #3
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Have posted several photos of our Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers recently, but not of their feeding behavior. These small woodpeckers especially enjoy tree sap, and will peck small holes in horizontal rows, eat the sap as it oozes, and then return to eat any insects attracted to the sap. Here are some sapsucker holes on their favorite tree, a Sugar Maple. (PS - maple sap is not supposed to be running in January!!)
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 7:08 PM   #4
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This American Robin was part of a big flock working the lawns in our campground. I missed the shot of the worm in his beak. But you can see a bit of pine needle that stuck to his beak while he was probing the soil for a "slippery snack."
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 7:11 PM   #5
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Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are quite common here year-round, but usually too shy (for this impatient photographer) to approach. This one was busy with an acorn - not sure if he was after the kernel, or some grubs inside the acorn. By this late in the season, most of acorns have become home to one or more acorn weevil larvae...
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 7:12 PM   #6
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Had spotted a rather rare bird here in the park recently, and went back to check on him. The Hermit Thrush is staying in the same ridgeline forest. Have only spotted this one individual, and mostly just see him quietly fleeing me!
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 7:13 PM   #7
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Tree Sparrows are common here. Spend most of their time in the trees, and don't like noisy photographers getting too close!
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 7:16 PM   #8
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Our region is also host to many White Breasted Nuthatches. They are usually very shy, but I was able to stalk pretty close to this one. He was working on the side of a White Pine, one of a long row of pines planted in our campground. By moving quickly from tree to tree while his head was down, was able to get quite close - close enough for a glimpse of his "lunch!"
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 7:19 PM   #9
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This springlike weather has been great for all my outdoor work, including sharing nature with many park visitors and school children. But we are looking forward to some real winter again soon!

Until then, here's a quick shot of some winter blooms - Veronica and Chickweed often bloom in mid-winter when the weather encourages...

Hope you enjoyed the birds and blooms, and that you will share your comments & critique!

(PS - which DOF do you prefer on these little flowers?)
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Old Jan 31, 2012, 5:00 AM   #10
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A fine series of interesting birds. That 400mm is quite impressive isn't it (sharp and produces a lovely bokeh) - and so are you're MF skills
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