I had, in birding jargon, two "lifers" for the yard in one morning! The first one, a rusty blackbird, is one I'm surprised I had not seen before. I heard a strange, loud call coming from the top of an aspen, and I looked up to see a black bird that was not a starling and not a red winged blackbird. Rustys are not nearly as common as either of those, but they do nest in spruces near swamps or bogs. Definitely a lot of habitat for them here.
Then, as we were eating breakfast, I glanced up at a branch in the dead spruce just in time to see a small hawk with fine reddish bars on its breast. With much assurance and a calmness that masked my excitement, I announced "There is a sharp shinned hawk in the spruce." I usually second-guess myself with hawk identification, but I had just been studying the hawk section of Sibley the other day and it was fresh enough in my mind that there was no doubt. Of course the camera was not within reach.
Other sightings included ruby crowned kinglets, dark eyed juncos, a tree sparrow, purple finches, goldfinches (now turning very yellow) blue jays, chickadees, and ravens. I heard a snipe winnowing, but did not see it, and also heard sandhill cranes and turkeys.
I took the day off to be with the kids on their holiday from school, but my to-do list keeps growing. I'm hoping to plant seeds indoors and out, but there are the dishes that have been neglected all weekend, laundry to sort, and that pesky state tax return I put off filing because we owe money.
UPDATE- 10:54 am This just in...a yellow-rumped warbler sighting has been confirmed! That has got to be the earliest I have ever seen a warbler here; usually they come in around the first of May.
And don't ask how the chores are going...