Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pectoral Sandpiper At Frozen Fairgrounds

I can never pass by the fairgrounds without having a quick look to see what's around. This morning started out with temperatures in the 20's. That kind of put the kibosh on finding ducks as the shallow skating pond was already frozen over. In fact, there wasn't any birds to be seen except for a brown blob that lloked like a morning dove in the distance.
Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a Pectoral Sandpiper! I didn't see that one coming. A nice surprise for a cold November morning to be sure!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Just Passing Through The Shoreline At Sunrise

 I was traveling along the shoreline early in the morning and hoping to make a quick search at Meig's Point at Hammonasset. I was disappointed to find the road closed but not disappointed by the sunrise.
 It was a little difficult to make out these Cedar Waxings this early in the morning.
A littler down the road the hawks have come out to play hide and seek with the little birdies. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Last Bird Stop In October Was Parmelee Farm

 My last birding stop of the month was at the 132 acre Parmelee Farm preserve in Killingworth. The area has a nice historic country feel to it.They have community gardens which can be a good place to look for fall sparrows.
I've found that pumpkin fields are a good place to look for interesting bird species like pipits, once the remaining pumpkins start to rot.
 There was plenty of bird activity including Cedar Waxings, Field Sparrows, and Song Sparrows like this one.
The month seemed to go so quickly. Halloween is on Tuesday and then we're in November already!(photo is at Colchester town green)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

In Search Of Fall Color

 The Fall foliage has been a little slow to develop this year but I started seeing a little more color to the leaves this weekend. I visited the reservoir on Saturday and was pleased to see my first White-throated Sparrows and Juncos of the season.
This is also the time of year that I like to check big flocks in the farm fields to see if their are any rare geese mixed in with the Canada Geese. No luck today but their was still several Killdeer flying around.
I didn't have much luck getting bird photos but this Red-bellied Woodpecker was kind enough to stick his neck out for me and show off its red head.
The skies at night have become clear and crisp with lots of color at sundown. I hope there is more color on the way for the next upcoming weekend!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Wild Turkey And Pumpkin Pie?

Why are they in such a hurry? Let's at least get past Halloween first!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Grey Skies, Un-listable Birds, And The Town Fair

The sky stayed mostly grey this weekend but not all the leaves were brown. They are just starting to take on some fall color.
 I didn't have much luck finding wild birds before the rain started coming down but this one caught the corner of my eye before I realized what I was looking at.
 Plastic pink flamingos seem to be popular these days but wouldn't count on most birding lists. I'm sure that someone keeps a list of artificial birds they see though.

 Looks like the animals have it good in this town, even the goats have their own sports cars.
 Domestic geese like these look similar to Snow Geese.
 The fair had some musical entertainment with the first act being the Tony Rome band. He changed his outfit after almost every song and did a lot of stones-type classics.
And of course we don't want to forget to mention the horn section!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Comfort Of Routines

I took a walk along the Connecticut River this morning. The twists and turns of life we all experience have kept me away from my  weekend birding routine. Today was the first day I was able to get back to the birding basics. Routines can become mundane and make us feel like robots, traveling though life on autopilot. Breaking away from the usual way of doing things is an opportunity to make some changes and approach things differently.
I know for myself, that I sometimes look but don't really see. It's sort of like when you drive in a trance but don't remember the journey. 

 Today, was one of those days I was able to slow down and look at one, or in this case, two birds at a time. I got back to the habit of writing down what I saw and seeing, not just looking. 
Today I was following a familiar path but I found it comforting, not boring because I missed my routine birding. 
(birds in photos 2 and 3 are Savannah Sparrows).
I was also able to view things from a different perspective.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

September Just Blew Right Past Me

It's hard to believe that September is almost over. The weather in Connecticut this month was as a perfect mix of warm days and cool nights with very few extremes. I came across 37 Bobolinks at the local meadows.
 They were in heavy cover so I only managed to get glimpses of them.
 I wasn't able to do much birding but carried my camera during some travels. This is an American Goldfinch taking in a puddle at a ball field. The colorful yellow male birds probably didn't want to get their feathers dirty.
 Many of the days were dry with clean, cool air and vivid blue skies.
September seemed to blow right past me along with the Black Vultures and Broad-winged Hawks. I Plan to take time to take in the fall foliage while I'm out searching for sparrows.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Taking It From The Top In Middlefield

 We've had some refreshing fall-like weather this week. Connecticut is not known for mountains but the the trap rock ridge does provide great views from the top. The trap rock ridge was formed by volcanic activity long ago. 
 I had better luck finding birds at ground level. I caught a sneaky Green Heron hiding at the edge of a pond.
The Mute Swans don't feel the need to be sneaky. They boldly hold their ground or in this case, their water.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Up Up And Away!

 I took a ride out to Plainville this morning to catch the morning to catcch the 6am morning launch at the annual hot air balloon festival.
 There is some dispute as to when hot air balloons were invented. History indicates that the Chinese were experimenting with a simple form of hot air balloon technology back around 220 AD.  The first recorded manned flight took place in Paris France in 1783 in a hot air balloon created by the Montgolfier brothers.
I was surprised by the size of the crowd at 6am and almost couldn't find a spot to park in time. 
 I arrived just as the first balloons were taking flight.
 I liked the elephant design on this balloon.It looks as though it could have come from a land far away.
 Don't worry, this balloon got past the trees without a problem.
I wonder what this red-tail would say about all the excitement if it could speak English?
Here's a video of one of the balloons taking flight.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Easy Birding Along Your Daily Driving Route

 Sometimes it's a struggle trying to find the perfect spot to find birds. The funny thing about it is that birds are everywhere we go. The tiny nature park above is right along my daily driving route. It is called Middletown nature gardens and is loaded with natural food for young summer birds.
This one looks like a young Indigo Bunting
On the same tree was a young House Wren.
As I drove back through town I passed by an old industrial pond that used to sit beside Wilcox Crittenden, a well known factory in it's day. I remember hearing the pounding of the machines from miles away. It provided jobs for a lot of people though.
The remains of the factory have been converted to apartments. This morning I spotted a Great Blue Heron there.

Sometimes the best birding are the places that are the ones that are most available.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Always Look A Gift Bird In The Eye 100x's

 I had a chance to get down to the shoreline this morning with a full agenda planned of where to go and what I hoped to see. I'm always interested in seeing new birds and hope to get some bird photos along the way. My first stop was behind the Clinton town Hall at a spot they call McCusker Landing. 
 I was pleased to see a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron. I only had an hour or so to spare so instead of rushing around I decided to just stay and watch this one bird and any others in the immediate area.
Juvenile birds will sometimes let you get closer. I've learned that when you can get close to a bird without  it taking off it is best to take advantage of the opportunity.
 I've also learned that just being close doesn't always mean your going to get a good picture. I'm not satisfied until I take at least 100 pictures in these situations but must admit that I get tired of sorting though all of the photos when I get home. It's a tedious process of deleting the bad ones and tweaking the good ones. Usually there are only a handful of good ones out of the 100 if I'm lucky.

I still use a point and shoot and only use settings like auto or sports mode. Since I don't know how to manually set the camera i have to rely on getting closer and getting the right lighting angle but once in a while even amateurs get lucky.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sitting Quietly On A Deck In The Forest

I spent 30 minutes relaxing on a deck in Highlawn Forest in Middlefield Connecticut. It was a very comfortable August morning with cool,dry air. Sitting still never comes easy for me but it paid off with a couple of interesting sightings.

I was expecting to see something on the smaller side like a warbler or chickadee but it was a Black Vulture, aka known as the Carcass Warbler, that came crashing in to the trees above me. I did a little math and figured it would take roughly 250 American Redstarts to equal the weight of one Black Vulture.
And on the other side of the deck was a beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.