Here I am in Maryland, working hard to organize things with my family! But still, I can't help taking pictures when I see cool things.... So here are some assorted sightings from my family's yard.
The American Goldfinches are here in force, flocking to the thistle feeder my parents have set out. This pretty female posed nicely for me when I was out there yesterday morning (I was in the shade, so the pictures are a little grainy):
And then she demonstrated how to get seeds from the feeder:
I'm glad I don't have to hang upside down for my food.
A whole family of Carolina Wrens was out and about yesterday morning as well. The two parents were keeping a close eye on their three fledgling babies as they hopped around in the low branches of a tree next to the driveway, testing out their growing wings. I was able to get pretty close to them, too -- the little guy in this next picture actually flew up and landed on my head, at which point I gently suggested that he should probably move somewhere else!
Just look at that big mouth, perfect for gaping, and the little dippy tail! These babies still have some growing to do, but they were managing themselves pretty well -- it looks like they'll be nicely agile adult wrens someday.
Here's a last picture, an oak tree outside my parents' window that is showing a really strange growth habit that I've never seen before:
One of these large branches is actually growing around another branch that's pressing against it. I've seen this sort of thing before with ropes or wires tied around trees, or with objects nailed into tree trunks, etc., but never with a tree and itself. Does this mean that in a few years, the tree will have a branch that goes completely through another branch? Or will there be problems because the smaller branch is actually growing as well?