Sunday, December 24, 2017

Gift Birds On The Day Before Christmas


 On this busy holiday weekend I somehow managed to steal an hour to go down to the shore. Marinas can be a great place during the winter to get a close-up look at certain birds.
 One of these geese is definitely not like the other!
It was a nice surprise to come across a snow goose which aren't all that common around here.
 Birds like this American Coot like to hang around marinas in Old Saybrook.
I was especially excited to get such a close look at a Surf Scoter which are usually much further out on the water. I'm glad I squeezed in this little birding excursion. It turned out to be like an early Christmas gift. Merry Christmas and happy holiday to all!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Return Of The Traditional Christmas Count

On Christmas day in 1900 a new tradition started. Instead of shooting birds on Christmas Day people started counting them instead. Here's the whole story.

Many birders,including me, look forward to the Christmas each year. It helps motivate me to get out in the colder weather with a purpose; to look for birds.It's all about watching birds,the camaraderie of birders, and enjoying the beauty of nature. Part of our territory was around the Great Hill area. Unfortunately, all lakes were frozen during the count so we missed out on some of the water birds.
 Our search led us along snowy paths out in the country........
 along side little streams deep in the middle of the forest....
 .....and along the old rail trails which provide a nice walking trail.
We were too busy to take pictures of birds but we made an exception for this Golden-crowned Kinglet who briefly flashed his crown before flying off. After that our group was off to lunch at a local restaurant. Another Christmas count tradition that we all enjoy!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Boardwalk Built By Reform School Kids In 1978


This sign at the entrance of the Helen Carlson sanctuary caught my attention today. Long Lane started in the 1800's as a school set on farmland for troubled girls. In the 1970's it became a high security reform school for boys.
 The boardwalk and nature trail were built by some of those students as seen listed on the sign.I wonder how those former students are doing today, almost 40 years after this project was completed? Did their lives turn around for the better? Maybe some went into the building/construction trade?
  As more land is developed for commercial projects and housing nature preserves become all the more valuable.
This is not some birding hotspot but does provide valuable habitat for a variety of birds throughout the year.
.........including birds like this Eastern Bluebird (older photo)................

Friday, November 24, 2017

In The Scraggly Brush Of An Old Tobacco field

 I visited an old tobacco field in town. It's hard to believe I worked here as a teen almost 40 years ago.It looks like the old shed needs a touch of paint and maybe a wee bit of duct tape.
This scraggly looking brush pile caught my attention as well as the attention of a few birds.
 I had a nice look at some Savannah Sparrows.
 This one was not as colorful but noticed it had a distinct eye ring. It is a Vesper Sparrow which was a nice find because I don't see many around here.
Of course, I wouldn't want to ignore this male cardinal that was hanging out in the same patch. I wonder if his beak would be shinier had he used his crest?