Foam Lake Birding No. 178

No. 178
            Although we are experiencing our longest lasting heat wave this year there are sure signs that fall is underway.  Some trees are starting to shed their leaves and the goldenrod and fall asters are in full bloom.  I always have mixed feelings at this time of year.  Seeing crops being swathed brings back memories of the feelings of excitement at the thought of being rewarded for a hard summer's work.  However, with a new school year just around the corner the excitement was somewhat muted.  Not only did we have to attend school each and every day but upon getting home we had to unload the grain trucks and trailers that had been filled during the day.  As there were no hydraulics this meant a lot of hard shoveling.  Still, it was a fun time and the closest I come to it now is the picking of cherries and apples in our yard.  Not quite the same thing. 
            On the birding front geese are starting to flock and many of the fall warblers that have nested in the Boreal Forest are in town.  As of this writing I have seen the Palm, Tennessee, Orange Crowned, Yellow Rumped (Myrtle), Wilson's and Blackpoll Warblers.  Although the males are quite distinct and easy to identify in the spring they moult into very drab colours for the winter and look much like the females.  Even the differences between species is not very significant.  For those birders who like challenges identifying fall warblers will provide just that.  Binoculars, bird books and sharp eyes are essential. 
            We did have the pleasant surprise of seeing a Blue Headed Vireo in our chokecherries picking at gnats.  The bird is not a rarity by any means but it is uncommon especially in town and can be seen only in the spring and fall.  One day our feeder was visited by a mother House Finch with her four youngsters.  Now House Finches are common but evidence of them nesting locally is a first for me.  Our fall flowers have attracted juvenile Ruby Throated Hummingbirds that are preparing themselves for their winter migration to Central America.  This year they seem to be more numerous than usual and frequently there are two or three birds at the flowers at any one time.  Nice. 
            This week's photo is of an unexpected event - at least for me.  We have one male Flicker that actually eats chokecherries.  I managed to get a good shot of him feasting on said chokecherries.