Two new yard birds in the span of 24 hours. Not bad!
#58 - Cedar Waxwing. I know, it's a very common garden bird for a lot of people, but it's a first in ours.
#59 - Pine Siskin. This guy has been hanging out with the Goldfinches and House Finches, and I thought it was a female House Finch. But then I got a better look at it, and I realized the beak was completely wrong and it had a yellow tint to its wings.
Yesterday morning I was outside trying to get some more pictures of my tree swallows, and I got to witness the babies fledge! It was pretty special to be able to see these little guys take flight for the first time ever. I felt a bit like a proud mom. They spent about half an hour working up their courage - first squeezing their shoulders out of the hole, then perching there with their little feet grasping the ledge, and then - jump and lift off! Now they're gone, and the nesting box will be empty until next spring. Maybe one of those babies will come back and start a family of its own. :)
I also reached new levels of bird nerdiness yesterday. I bought a small photography blind to set up in the backyard to allow me to photograph our birds more closely without disturbing them. Tried it out yesterday afternoon, and from a preliminary review of my pictures, I'd say it was a success! (That's actually how I realized the Pine Siskin wasn't a House Finch - I was able to get some pretty close-up pictures of it in our pond.) So we'll see how this works out. Hopefully I'll be able to get some pictures of yard birds who have eluded me so far - like the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and House Finches. I also really, really want to get some good Oriole pictures - NOT with them sitting on the feeder. Wish me luck!