Sunday, May 1, 2016

Like Pieces Of A Puzzle Falling From The Sky

For most of the month of April spring migration was moving along  gradually as swallows, phoebes, and early warblers started to arrive.
While  others like Dark-eyed Juncos began heading north.
 Saturday was a sunny day so I got an early start by checking the area surrounding our local reservoir. The woods were finally starting to come alive with the sounds of warblers,thrushes tanagers, and vireos.
I searched areas in and around the meadows as well and was surprised....
to find that I didn't need to drive to the shoreline to find yellowlegs after all.
 Sunday was cloudy and rained most of the day but that did not  slow the arrival of new migrant species. Warblers were everywhere. I found several Prairie and Blue-winged Warblers at the powerlines. 
 The woods were packed with American Redstarts,Ovenbirds, Black and White, and Black-throated Green Warblers. All together, I tallied 13 different warbler species this weekend right in town.
 I looked out my kitchen window this afternoon and there was an Orchard Oriole picking through the blossoms on the crabapple tree in my back yard.

I tried to take my birding in moderation as it is only the first day of May but the migrants were falling from the sky like pieces of a puzzle. I felt compelled to see as many of the new arrivals as quickly as possible. If I'm able fill in some of the easier pieces of the migration puzzle early in the month then I'll be able to focus my search on some of the more difficult to find species during the rest of the month. This will mean I'll be able to bird at a more relaxed pace which will help minimize warbler neck. I'll also have plenty of  time to do things like take pictures or just have nice long views of those colorful warblers.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pictures Don't Always Tell The Whole Story

 It's hard for me to remember what it was like to go birding without bringing my camera along. I like having a visual record of what I see but there is a lot that happens when I'm birding that I never capture on film. For example, seconds after I saw this American Oystercatcher a jolly old Labrador Retriever came crashing though the water and chased him off.
You can see from this photo that there are about 20 Glossy Ibises in this photo. What you can't see is that there are 85 more of them outside of this frame making a total of  over 100. I was watching them from Indian River Cemetery in Clinton which overlooks a marsh. There was a light rain falling at the time.
 It had a nice experience get very close to a Great Blue Heron I saw at Devil's Hopyard. I could have reached out and touched it. 
  I wanted to get a photo of the whole bird with the sun behind my back. I was trying to explain that to the heron little but I don't think it understood English. At least we seemed to hit it off fairly well.
 This Ruby-crowned kinglet actually flew right toward my camera 3 times. Maybe it was attracted to the beeping sound or a reflection off of the lens. It does have an eye but it's hard to tell when no light is reflecting off of it.
What's going on with this Little Blue Heron? Hairon gel? wind? or maybe just a bad hair day? Every picture tells a story but not always the whole story.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Camping, Birding & Rambling Around Kent CT

I spent a few days camping out in Macedonia State Forest in Kent Connecticut. I added the canopy as extra protection because there was some rain in the forecast but overall I had good weather.  Kent and the surrounding Litchfield area has a lot of scenic beauty so I can understand why many celebrities have built there homes in this part of the state. Fortunately, camping is still a relative bargain and doesn't require a movie star income.
One of the most well known natural features in Kent is the Kent Falls. They extend even further down but I couldn't get it all in one frame.
You don't want to mess with the cats in this town.
 I found an abandoned car while walking along the trails at the Sharon Audubon Center. I like looking at abandoned cars in the woods because they seem to tell a story that leaves it to your imagination to fill in the blank pages.
 Sharon Audubon Center has one of the few blinds in the state which I've come across which are actually somewhat useful in the way it was set up.
I had a nice view of some Wood Ducks that were passing through...
 ..and also saw a Palm Warbler bouncing around the bushes outside of the blind.

In the distance I kept on hearing a strange call and couldn't figure out what it was. I thought it might be a bird of interest that I needed to track down.
click center to play
I had forgotten that there was an aviary at the center. This frisky Raven captured my attention with his loud vocalizations which could be heard from the other side of the pond!