Sunday, January 6, 2019

Everywhere Is A Birding Hotspot In January

 For those of us who keep a list of birds, January is an excellent month. As you start your fresh list each January 1st, every place you go becomes a birding hotspot.
Each bird you see becomes the first of the year. That means even your local park is filled with brand new species for your year list. 

Some may wonder "why bother keeping a list of birds?". If you think about it all we need to survive is food and shelter. Everything else is just about using our senses and sense of purpose to entertain or fulfill ourselves in some way.
So in January every bird counts whether it be an eagle, a mockingbird, or even the unpopular European Starling. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Stopping For Pileated Woodpeckers Only

 I decided to work off a few holiday calories with a brisk Christmas day hike through Wadsworth Park. I did have my camera and binoculars but vowed not to stop unless I came across an owl, a rare bird,or a Pileated Woodpecker.
 Well, so much for the exercise. I actually encountered 3 Pileated Woodpeckers. They had a loud squabble and 2 of them flew off.  This photo shows how woodpeckers use their tail for balance.
 You can tell this is a male by the red malar stripe and the entirely red crest. Pileated Woodpeckers are the largest woodpecker species in Connecticut  at about 16" in length.
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Monday, December 24, 2018

Urban Birding Birds

 I usually think about fields and woodland out in the country as my ideal birding spots. I tend to dismiss places that are in an urban setting.

 There is one area that I've driven by numerous times that  caught my eye. It is a trail that follows a river which floods the surrounding woods. It is sandwiched between condominium complexes and the highway.

Today, I decided to park my car in a plaza then I snuck under the highway to pick up the trail.
 Once I started walking the trail I noticed nice pockets of habitat along the way.
 Of course, you would expect to find house sparrows in an urban area as well as common woodland birds like titmice,chickadees, woodpeckers, and wrens.
 There were plenty of noisy Blue Jays patrolling the area. This particular Blue Jay was doing a first rate impression of a Red-shouldered Hawk.
I have to wonder what the Red-shouldered Hawk thought about the Blue Jay's imitation? 

The walk was a reminder to me that birds don't judge habitat the same way we tend to. While we might complain about how much land is being developed,  birds are just interested in finding  food and shelter.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Sleepy Owls, Hoodies, & Dogs On Skateboards


 December has been a slow birding month for me so far. I've been reading the local eBird lists and noticed that birders have noticed that the species lists have dropped down to 10-20 species per outing.

One reason I prefer fishing to birding is that I've never been "skunked" while birding. there have been many times that I've gone fishing and didn't even get a bite but I always see at least some birds. The other day I caught a Barred Owl napping in a tree. 
I must admit that I was disappointed that it wouldn't open his eyes.I realized that the eyes of an owl are what give it that mystical appearance.
One thing I enjoy about winter birding is seeing the return of winter ducks like the Hooded Merganser.
This dog on a skateboard stopped me in my tracks. It wasn't just standing on the skateboard but actually propelled itself by using one of its feet.I wish that I had the chance to make a video!