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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Finch Feeding Frenzy

Our feeders have remained popular with three finch species: American goldfinch, red crossbill, and pine siskin. The other day when I got home I parked up above where you can overlook our houseboat. The finches were out in full force and it was fun to watch them going to and from our feeders to the trees that were right at eye level.

Red crossbills and American goldfinches at the feeders
 In total there were about thirty pine siskins, twenty crossbills, and between five and ten goldfinches.

Female red crossbill on top of a madrone tree

American goldfinch in the madrone tree
While watching all the finches, a male rufous hummingbird came by and started feeding at the orange honeysuckle vines on the hillside:

The madrones have been in peak bloom over the last week - noticeable both by their smell and the tiny snow-like blossoms falling to the ground. Here's what the trees have looked like:

If you're not familiar with the Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii), it's a native west coast tree related to manzanita and rhododendron. It has leaves, not pine needles, but is an evergreen, and is notorious for the red, paper-like bark that peels off to reveal green wood underneath.

My co-worker Dave brought a couple of the tiny white flowers into work last week and we looked at them under one of our microscopes. The tiny structures inside are amazing! Check it out:

I can only guess what I'm seeing, but it looks like maybe tiny seeds with roots starting to emerge, and sticky hairs with balls of nectar on them?

Next up, get ready for some crazy cuteness....

1 comment:

Robyn said...

Lovely shots, Monica. Thanks for an up close peek at these little beauties!