Since storms loomed on the horizon for Saturday, I decided to stay close to home and lay out "the welcome mat" for all fowl visitors and other transient travelers.

     All the usuals were here, trusted foragers at the bountiful feed trough.  I jotted down their appearance as if they were RSVP guests, not wishing to slight any as less notable than another.  Yep, Cowbirds and House Sparrows went into the mix of the distinguished.

     A few days ago, two male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds has showed up.  The godly nectar was out and ready for them.  For the first couple of days, they seemed to have formed some kind of a truce, each feeding from a different feeder and leaving the other alone.  Friday was an evident end to said truce.  The battle was on.  Territorial dispute to the maximum.  Saturday morning, I got a particularly good show right in front of the living room window.  The two hovered in a circling pattern filled with feints, mock dives, and proboscis rattling.  Finally they lunged at each other, throwing their diminutive bodies together like some kind of exotic, aeronautical sumo wrestlers.  No harm done as they vanished into the trees for what I assume was a necessary respite from warfare.  Can't imagine what it is going to be like when a female shows up.

     The sparrows are still hanging around in the brush piles and thickets to the north.  White-crowned, White-throated, Song, and Harris's.  Add to the mix the first visit of the year by a particularly dashing Lark Sparrow.

     Seven Cedar Waxwings flew in for a quick overview before continuing on to parts unknown.

     Not nearly the number of Goldfinches and Pine Siskins as there were a few days ago.  Instead of numbering in the 400 range for the former and 20-30 for the latter, it was respectively about 100 and about 10.  Hard to count them with the constant bickering going on between them.

     I decided to take a nap in the late afternoon only to have a Mockingbird catch my attention with his repertoire of "mocks."  Did an absolutely excellent rendition of White-breasted Nuthatch blues and Carolina Wren riff.  The first Bobwhite of the season joined him.  It was too much.  I forgot the nap and went back to the fray.

     Wild Turkeys gobbled their greetings to the south where the horizon was growing quite dark and menacing-looking.  I decided to take a quick jaunt to Buckhead Creek a few hundred yards from the house.  Glad I did.  The new arrivals were all paired.  Two Northern Rough-winged Swallows, two Summer Tanagers (males), and two Great-crested Flycatchers, the latter two species especially dashing in their breeding frills.

     As the night came on and the threat of storm dissipated, a Chuck-will's-widow called from the dark.  I always have to listen intently to hear that first syllable "CHIP."  For some reason, it often escapes my ear.  Heard it and lodged his name on the guest list.

     Also accompanying the fowl returnees were other transients.  Butterflies.  The Red Admiral, Pearl Crescent, Cabbage White, Tiger Swallowtail, Purple-spotted, Harvester, and a Spring Azure.  Add to this the first Bumble Bee feeding passionately without distraction on the blooms of the Common Vetch.

     Standing in the dark, I mused it was about time for the bats to appear, especially with all the mosquitoes, gnats, and crane flies circling me.  As fate's timing would have it, the first of the season appeared with a head-high fly-over.

     Good day to stay home.  Thirty-five species.  All the usuals, a few returnees, and a couple of surprises.  They all share one thing in common.

     They're welcome.

     Good birding, friends.

Edge of the Earth Rd. Journal
The Welcome Mat
April 21, 2002
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(c) Copyrighted by Phil Floyd 2002
Robins and Waxwings. (c) Photo copyrighted by Brenda Carroll 2006.  Used with permission.