The new Wits End Weekly Photo Challenge is Feathered Friends.
As a long time bird photographer I had all sorts of ideas for a post. Then I started thinking about bird families and realised that I could post about the Nuthatch family divided by decades and locations.
So we’ll start in Cheshire, England with a European species, the Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea), also known as the Wood Nuthatch. Photographed in the 1980s, I had set up a shovel handle as a perch for a European Robin that wouldn’t cooperate. So I photographed the Nuthatch when it used the perch.
Now to a North American species, the White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) photographed in Saskatchewan, Canada in the 1990s. A bitterly cold winters day, around -30°C with some light snow coming down. The dark crown stripe means that this is probably a male.
Finally, another North American species, a Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) photographed in Ontario, Canada in the 2000s. Once again, the dark crown stripe means that the bird is probably a male.
Throwback Thursday only travels back about nine years. A follow up of sorts to my Wordless Wednesday post yesterday as the shots were taken a couple of weeks and maybe a distance of five yards apart.
There’s a reason why I picked a Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) for this Throwback Thursday post. The species had been a regular and common visitor to the yard and feeders since I moved to the area 10 years ago.
Until this autumn that is. After having a yard full of adults and young early in the autumn I’m now hardly seeing any. I hadn’t really noticed the dramatic reduction in numbers until I read something online about large numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatches moving into the north eastern U.S. from Canada. It’s thought that the conifer seed crop in Canada is low causing the birds to head south for the winter. Since reading about the irruption a week or so ago I have seen only two birds in the yard, a few days apart.
This article gives more information and probably explains why our Purple Finches have also disappeared.
As the cap on top of the birds head is black this is a male Red-breasted Nuthatch. Females have a slate grey cap, the colour of the back and wings.
Sunday afternoon of week 35 saw me lying in the yard trying for shots of one of the three Eastern Gray Squirrels that appeared in the area recently. Still no luck with shots of the Squirrels but I had some cooperative birds prepared to pose for me.
I picked this shot because despite the Red-breasted Nuthatch being on the ground looking for seeds it’s looking up at the sky, more interested in something overhead than finding seeds.
A Red-breasted Nuthatch doing acrobatics.