Christmas bird count

The most interesting birds here (Casco) yesterday were a half-dozen, or maybe seven, cedar waxwings. We haven’t seen them here before, and I’m just as glad there weren’t more. A big flock of them, and they sometimes come in flocks of thirty or more, could strip all the fruit from the crabapple tree in a day. Then there wouldn’t be anything to attract the grouse — who was also there, at first walking very slowly and carefully across the driveway, then jumping up into the crabapple with a little flurry of wingbeats.

Today I saw a couple of yellowish-brownish birds in the crabapple. I thought they might be the waxwings having come back, but no — when I put the binoculars up I was struck by how big the bills were. Oh! The pine grosbeaks are back. This time it was the females or immature males. The first one I looked at impressed me almost as being the color of a female goldfinch, mostly gray and white with that dull yellow, almost greenish color. The second was a much brighter yellow-orange color, especially on the upper tail coverts but also the head (and note the wash of the same color on the breast). These pictures are all the second bird:

We had redpolls today also, I think five or six at one point; also both red- and white-breasted nuthatch, two goldfinch, downy and probably hairy woodpeckers, and titmice and chickadees.

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