little bits of sunshine

The goldfinches are back with their canary yellow plumage…


A sure sign that summer is finally drawing near.


There are a whole lot of them hanging around the old neighborhood. They make quite a cheerful racket.


The grosbeaks seem to like the neighbor’s weeping willow.


What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable. 
Joseph Addison


22 thoughts on “little bits of sunshine

  1. Generally your birds are the same as our birds, but the Evening Grosbeak is one we do not see in the Bay Area. Thanks so much, Gunta, for introducing me to this beautiful finch; I enjoyed reading your encounters in the comments, too. This photo is gorgeous, and the quote has me smiling. Thanks for this refreshing smile and sunshine.


  2. These are such joyful pictures! He’s quite the fellow, posing in a tree with leaves almost as yellow as his feathers…I haven’t put thistle out beacause it’s so expensive, but I see them around now and then. A different Grosbeak, the Black-headed, has just returned here and is spending a lot of time at the sunflower feeder. They just sit there contentedly for the longest time, chewing away at those seeds – no need to go fly to a tree trunk or branch to crack them open one by one like the Chickadees and Nuthatches. Best thing is when Mr. Grosbeak sings while he eats…lovely.


    • The goldfinches are making up for the dreary winter we slogged through! Yeah, the thistle seed is expensive, but I needed their cheery chirps and sunny color after the yucky winter we had. I’ve already scaled back on how much I put out to ease them back to their normal diet. Eric tells me that they breed late because they use thistle fluff for their nests. So no pulling thistles in this yard!

      I only put out thistle and sugar water this year. When I moved here in June, 2010, except for a goldfish pond, the yard was a bit of a dead zone. Even thistle seed didn’t entice. I suspect that there were quite a few chemicals used to produce the “picture perfect” lawn and I found a gallon jug of some pesticide that I returned to its owner. I’ve pretty much let the lawn go and refrained from any nasty chemicals and gradually the birds seem to have returned.

      I was surprised at the almost olive colored beak of our Evening Grosbeaks. They don’t come half as close as the finches, so without the long lens and/or zooming in, I’d never have noticed that odd feature. It’ll be interesting to see what variety I’ll find down south. I do plan to put out more variety once I’m down there and we’re planting native species to invite birds and bees and butterflies. Should be fun.


    • Yeah for farmers’ market. Our CSA starts up the first week of June (FINALLY!!!) T’is the season… today was perfect weather along the coast. We took the day off to play while we waited for a permit to be finalized.


    • So do I. We seem to have a whole lot more variety at the new house. Can’t wait to put some feeders up there, but won’t until we’re actually moved.


        • The actual closing for the old house (when the sale becomes final) is June 30. We have an additional 30 days if needed. Nasty weather. with storms lasting far beyond normal this year, kept us from finishing some of the work needed on the house down south, but we hope to be done before July 30 (the final deadline) now that the weather is improving. We’re looking forward to being able to do some travel and exploring the new neighborhood once the work phase is considered ‘done’.


    • The males only put on the bright yellow during mating season. I used to think they migrated in the winter, but they just lose the yellow. The females, of course, are far less flashy. You can see one over toward the right in the second image.


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