Windy Wednesday in the arboretum

April 23, 2009

Wednesday evening I made a run on the JMU Arboretum in Harrisonburg. Pulling up on the scene, I was met with an overcast and chilly site.

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Initially, I spotted several squirrels and blue jays near the feeder and slowly made an approach.

As expected, the jays took off but I was left with an unusually cooperative squirrel.

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As I’ve said before, I’ll sometimes have luck if I don’t move and make myself part of the environment. As I remained motionless and crouched toward the ground, several blue jays flew back toward the feeder, but stopped short and perched behind some foliage. So close…

Then one of those bizarre occurrences started to unfold. As I sat, the skies cleared but it began to rain. For a few minutes, I didn’t see any clouds overhead but a steady rain came down in the arboretum. After that passed, there was intermittent sunlight as several birds perched nearby.

Most of the birds had become familiar sights – the downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, tufted titmouse, robins, doves and several sparrows. But then I noticed one of the more rare (at least to me) varieties, the eastern towhee.

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I’ve only seen a few of these birds in the past year.

After I watched it skip about for a while, I scanned the surrounding treeline and made a few more images. Overcast windy days are really a toss up photographically, but I walked away pretty pleased.

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2 Responses to “Windy Wednesday in the arboretum”

  1. Renee Says:

    Wow, I’ve never seen a Towhee like that. Nice catch!

    That’s a nice white-crowned sparrow in the 2nd pic, too!

  2. Evan Dyson Says:

    Hey Renee,
    Thanks for checking it out. I’m pretty sure the sparrow is actually a white-throated, not white-crowned (Zonotrichia albicollis versus Zonotrichia leucophrys).

    Very similar but the giveaway is the white patch beneath the beak. White-crowns lack that.


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