I spent a wonderful weekend at the Loyola Retreat House in Faulkner, MD, one of my favorite places to visit. The silence, rest, and community were wonderful, and I returned home feeling restored physically and spiritually. The picture above, and the one below, are of Saturday’s sunset over the Potomac River.
I kept watch for birds throughout the weekend and spotted the following:
Bald eagles; osprey (species #113 for 2017!); cardinals; chipping sparrows; robins; turkey vultures; mockingbirds; white-throated sparrows; gulls of all sorts; carolina wrens; crows; juncos; blue jays; double-crested cormorants; brown thrashers; a red-bellied woodpecker; bluebirds; and 35+ bufflehead.
Much to my delight, I discovered an old yet useable scope in one of the retreat house rooms that enabled me to identify the bufflehead ducks. One species I couldn’t identify were the small black birds gliding low over the water. I look forward to talking with birding friends, to learn the type of birds they might have been.
There have also been wonderful yard birds in recent weeks. In particular, the Purple Finches (NH State Bird!!) have been stunning. I’ve previously seen one or two in with the house finches, however this year there have been days I’ve looked out to see a dozen or more at once. The males are beautiful to look at — Roger Tory Peterson is said to have described these birds as a “sparrow dipped in raspberry juice.” My eye has also been drawn to the females — plain color, yet a bold eye stripe and lovely streaked underparts. The bold stripe above the eye initially had me thinking these might be female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, however they are Purple Finches.
The Chipping Sparrows and Goldfinches have also been abundant, cheerful visitors
And lastly, I’ve been enjoying the “drink your tea” song of the Eastern Towhee (that I still think of as the Rufous-Sided Towhee), and this male came out from cover long enough for me to capture a few pictures yesterday. So handsome!
I put up the hummingbird feeders last week, and each time I pass by the windows I look for signs of their arrival…