Saturday, December 19, 2009

Look what the storm blew in ...

Despite the blustery weather, or perhaps because of it, our incredibly small urban backyard was graced by a palm warbler today.

I first noticed this bird fluttering through a half-snow covered chrysanthemum. It wasn't leery of human presence at all, and approached within six feet of me several times. It flipped and flitted through the snow while I watched and snapped pictures, for a total of about 20 minutes over two or three different sessions.

As an aside, this wild nor'easter weather also failed to discourage the presence of Pennsylvania's first recorded Allen's hummingbird, which is still feeding happily away at a feeder in a suburban Lancaster County townhouse development. Us Easterners are familiar with the ruby-throated hummers, who are not particularly cold hardy. However, each year, more and more reports of rufous, and now Allen's hummers are turning up in the east. These birds are well equipped to deal with temperatures into the teens and may stay in a northern area where feeders are available until late December and even January. Quite an interesting development!