An Eastern Bluebird flew from the ground to an open branch as I passed by.
A Carolina Chickadee was picking on the new buds of a Sweetgum tree with two of last years pods still hanging on.
Taking time out for an itch a Yellow-rumped Warbler appeared to give me a wave.
Realizing he was noticed he hopped down the branch…
before flitting a bit further off the path.
This winter I have seen Yellow-rumped Warblers at all my birding spots.
Sunday was no different when they were zipping all over Magnolia Cemetery.
This fellow gave me quite a few poses.
The decaying plot fences around the cemetery are common perching spots, if only for a moment.
The tangled shrubs that hang over the pond were the favorite spot that afternoon, perhaps because there was ample sun to warm the birds up.
A very busy Yellow-rumped Warbler was zipping back and forth over the edge of a small pond.
He found small twigs to perch on between forays.
And then totally surprised me by landing in the water, which is much deeper than just to his ankles.
The carpet of vegetation, or perhaps a stick under the surface, was enough to hold up his 0.4-0.5 ounce (12-13 g) body while he poked in the water.
He got his treasure and skedaddled showing off his name-sake rump.
Feeding on Sweet Gum seeds is a lot of work!
A lot of probing goes on and you can see some debris falling at the bottom of this next image.
The Chickadee’s foot grasps the ball between the spikes.
Check out the reward!
From my research the seed balls of the Sweet Gum (or Sweetgum, depending on where you read) tree should be empty of seeds by mid fall.
Clearly this tree didn’t follow the program and several Carolina Chickadees were feeding in its upper branches on this mid-January day.
The dried pod stems are still quite sturdy, although this little bird doesn’t weigh much at 0.3-0.4 ounces (8-12 g) per All About Birds.
If you’ve ever touched one of these balls you’ll likely remember; those spikes are quite sharp.
Fellow blogger Mike Powell has captured similar scenes in Virginia where there is overlap in both the tree and the bird, including his post Acrobatic Chickadee
A perky Carolina Wren entertained me while he hunted for bugs on a vine covered tree trunk.
The vine and some Spanish Moss are good hiding places for bugs.
An occasional stop for a song is the wren’s way.
I think I was spotted.
Back to business the wren moved on up the trunk.
I spotted this Eastern Phoebe from a distance, his whitish chest shining like a beacon in all this dried winter brown. I was pleased he stayed put until I got a bit closer.
After a bit he entertained me with some flutter dives as he hunted, then he landed in this nearby dried stalk.
This Yellow-rumped Warbler flew into a tree right in front of me.
I think we were both surprised!