Wildlife Wednesday: January 2016

Most of what I’ve seen this month has been from the inside looking out.

christmas dove 2015
The Christmas Dove. Peace on Earth

Once again I’ve come to appreciate how even a small change can have multiple consequences.

The usual gang comes to the feeder outside my window: English house sparrows, chickadees, tits, cardinals, house finches. The female house sparrow always amuses me; she is absolutely implacable. A pregnant squirrel comes around sporadically. Best of luck to her and her little ones. Overall it seems like we have more and more visitors who tend to stay for longer periods of time.

Carolina Wren California Dreaming
Carolina Wren California Dreaming

What’s new? Blue jays. The odd one used to visit from time to time but now at least two come by on a daily basis. I believe they are drawn by the bees and their fuzzy protein.

So I’ve increased the amount of bird seed I pour into the feeder each morning hoping that sunflower seed is easier to eat than honey bees on the wing.

Thanks, blue jays. Everyone’s a winner.

A new bird for me is the yellow rumped warbler. They are common winter visitors around here apparently and I certainly recognized the call but this is the first time I’ve seen one. Do check out Tina’s post for better photos and some interesting details about this bird. You can hear their songs here.

yellow rumped warbler
Setophaga coronata with bright yellow underarms.

And here’s an insect I just discovered. Try not to laugh.

Gallinipper (Psorophora)

Yeah, in the photo it simply LOOKS like a mosquito. And it is a mosquito but it was the hugest mosquito I have ever seen. The wingspan was > 1 cm. A real monster. I believe the one I saw was a male sipping away at the fatsia flower. Let’s hope he is a bachelor. The females are supposed to have an extremely painful bite.

Fascinated, I had to learn more and happily found a hilarious song written by Blind Lemon Jefferson. Why there aren’t more blues songs about mosquitoes is a wonder. I listened to a couple versions and honestly the misery sounds all too true. Poor guy.

Mosquito Moan

I’m sittin’ in my kitchen, mosquitoes all around my screen
I’m about all ready to get a mosquito bomb, I’ll be seldom seen
I must sleep under a tin tub, try my best to brad their bills
Mosquitoes so bad in this man’s town, keep me away from my whiskey still
I love my whiskey better than some people likes to eat
Mosquitoes bother me so I can hardly stay on my feet
I bought a spray last night ’n’ I sprayed all over my house
Mosquitoes all around my door won’t leave nobody come out
Mosquitoes all around me, mosquitoes everywhere I go
No matter where I go, they sticks their bill in me
I would say gabbernipper, these gabbernippers bites too hard
I stepped back in my kitchen and they springin’ up in my back yard
(I may be laughing now but we’ll see if I’ll be singing a different tune this spring! The Blue Jays and Co. are more than welcome to eat every single mosquito they can find.)