This week’s photo, taken January 15, 2013 at Meadowbrook Pond in Seattle, WA, features a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET flashing a slice of its bright red crown at the photographer.
You don’t have to travel far to huge tracts of land to find cool birds. Rewards can be big when you survey a pocket of nature just down the road. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I drive 4 minutes to Meadowbrook Pond, a quaint little sanctuary tucked into a northeast Seattle neighborhood. The pond hosts some attractive water fowl, including GREEN-WINGED TEAL, WOOD DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD and HOODED MERGANSER, but during my 2 brief afternoon visits, it’s mostly about the small stuff. 3 tiny RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS and a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER repeatedly leap out of the bushes bordering the pond, as they take wing above the water in search of flying insects. The kinglets are oblivious to my presence as they boldly fly surprisingly close to me. BLACK-CAPPED and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES sing and move about through the fir trees. A GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET makes a brief appearance, as does my first PURPLE FINCH of the year and the first COMMON REDPOLL of my life. That’s 5 new year birds, including a lifer, and that’s not a bad haul for 2 quick tours to a patch of wildness close to home.