The soundscape in my yard changed literally overnight as scores of Dark-eyed juncos made their appearance. A single junco's call is not memorable, and I had forgotten what they sounded like, but a whole flock of them makes a twittering symphony. Added to it was the insistent peeping of red breasted nuthatches and the chatter of chickadees. The raucous cries of crows and Canada geese echoed through the air, and the rattling bugle of the sandhill cranes added to the chorus.
I had the chance to see a few other new birds for the year as I made an emergency trip to Wal Mart with the kids. Around here, a broken Game Cube connector cable almost warrants a 911 call. I had planned to spend the whole day cleaning house, and it was nice enough that the kids could play outside, not playing video games all day, but I knew come evening my parental ratings would suffer if I didn't do something. Besides, The Hermit, usual Wal-Mart runner here, was across the state for business. So we made the forty mile trip, and along the way I saw a tree swallow, common grackle, and ring billed gull, all new spring arrivals. I also saw three eagles and numerous hawks, probably red tails, but I couldn't tell for sure. I wonder how much getting glasses will improve my drive-by birding.
There was an American tree sparrow among the dark eyed juncos, so I saw a total of four new "year birds" yesterday. I was hoping to see a bluebird, and I scanned fence posts and wires in all the likely areas, but no luck yet.