A Fluffy Surprise

  American Bushtit

American Bushtit

I stepped out onto our front porch this afternoon to a chorus of chirps and tweets coming from our Alder. I looked up, and much to my surprise, there was a flock of 20-25 American Bushtits flitting from one limb to the next at hyperspeed like they do. I took one step forward and they were gone in a flutter. I figured that was it, but then, just as I was going back inside, I heard a few faint chirps coming from behind the house. I ran inside and grabbed the Fuji with the 100-400 mounted and slipped out the side door. Much to my astonishment, there they were at eye level in a small tree in our side yard, not 15 feet in front of me. This time they stayed around for 4-5 minutes and I was able to capture a number of fun images of these little quicksilver cotton balls. 

Before today, we've only encountered Bushtits in nearby oak forests, but never in our yard, so this was a great surprise and a real treat! I'll be adding these guys to our Yard List.

Here's some information on Bushtits from Cornell:

Bushtits are sprightly, social songbirds that twitter as they fly weakly between shrubs and thickets in western North America. Almost always found in lively flocks, they move constantly, often hanging upside down to pick at insects or spiders on the undersides of leaves. Flocks of Bushtits mix with similar small songbirds like warblers, chickadees, and kinglets while foraging. Bushtits weave a very unusual hanging nest, shaped like a soft pouch or sock, from moss, spider webs, and grasses.