Bashakill abounds with Half-hardies!

The Gray Catbird at the Orchard has been around a couple of months now.

The Gray Catbird at the Orchard has been around a couple of months now.


This morning I got another late start at the Bashakill, arriving just at 11:00 am. There were plenty of birds around on what was a pretty nice day. Besides all the regular field and feeder birds, I had a nice selection of Half-hardies. First on Haven Road I again had one of the four RUSTY BLACKBIRDS. I then spotted the long staying GRAY CATBIRD! It was cooperative to photos this morning. A Winter Wren was near the pond on the parking lot at the Stop Sign Trail. I then went to the Nature Trail. I was hoping for some sparrows or wrens, but had neither. What I did have were four male EASTERN BLUEBIRDS feeding in the rose hips. As I watched them and moved around the area and out to the board walk I heard the familiar call of the COMMON YELLOWTHROAT! I had searched for this bird a couple of times since originally finding it on December 1st without success and was sure it was gone. This morning it flew right out to greet me. It was camera shy though and I followed it around for half an hour trying to get a shot of it in the snow. It was quite strange seeing this bird foraging in snow piles and skidding when it landed on the ice. It was no sooner in the open and it would retreat to the undergrowth. I finally got one poor shot of the bird with some snow behind it! I am really hoping that all of these half-hardies will stick around for the Christmas count in two weeks. Yesterday, I had three Swamp Sparrows which I’m sure are still around, but I didn’t connect with them this morning.
The juvenile male Common Yellowthroat has been around at least two weeks now.

The juvenile male Common Yellowthroat has been around at least two weeks now.

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3 Responses to Bashakill abounds with Half-hardies!

  1. John, what exactly are Half-hardies?

  2. Matt and all,
    Half-hardies is a term coined (apparently long ago) that refers to birds that used to be considered wintering much farther south of our area than they do today. Birds that fit this description include : warblers, Mimics (thrashers, catbirds, mockingbirds), Wrens and thrush (particularly Hermit). Basically, it is any species that you normally don’t consider as wintering here. As a new birder, some of these probably seem to be regular wintering species, but it isn’t that long ago it was unusual. Hope that helps. John

  3. Thanks John, that is helpful and interesting too. I’ve read the term before but never actually questioned it until I read your post. Matt

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