Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Just Saw Birders: The Central Park Effect

I just took out a copy of Birders: The Central Park Effect (HBO) from the local library and watched it for the first time.This is the third movie I've seen about birding but the first one which features real birders. It's a documentary that interviews birders while they are birding in central park throughout the movie. The interviewees give their insight about what it is that makes birding so great. It also has fantastic footage of the brilliantly colored migrants as birders zero in on them with their binoculars. 

This movie was a great reminder of what I like so much about birding and almost made me feel as if I were on a field trip in Central Park. What made it more interesting was that I recognized some of the birders in the movie. It has put Central Park on the list of places I need to visit during the spring. Non-birders watching this movie should also gain a greater understanding of what the appeal of birding is all about. 

(I noticed that this DVD can be purchased or rented on some of the popular online retailers).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Savannah Sparrows Hiding In The Cornfields

 I made a visit to my local patch at Wangunk Meadows this weekend to check on the state of the sparrows and other birds. I walked along the river past the fairgrounds to the northern end of Wangunk. Along the way I counted 8 Swamp Sparrows, 12 Eastern Bluebirds, 4 White-throated Sparrows, 2 Red-shouldered Hawks, 2 Bald Eagles,1 Northern Harrier, 2 Osprey, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, and 1 American kestrel. I saw about 35 species in total. 

 You might not know it by looking at this picture but I counted at least 40 Savannah Sparrows near these cornfields. They were very hard to see on the ground and when I got close they would pop up into the cornfields and disappear.
 I finally managed to catch one at the top of a corn plant looking around.
There were a few warblers too including Black and White Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, and several Palm Warblers. Not surprisingly, the majority of the warblers I saw were Yellow-rumped Warblers

When I was in the deepest part of the woods, 2 Alaskan Huskies ran toward me. I pet one of the dogs but the second dog didn't like it. A dog argument broke out and I was standing between 2 alpha males aggressively barking, snarling, and baring teeth. I like dogs but I was a wee bit nervous there for a minute.

Sparrows of the corn, surrounded by birds of prey, and being cornered by angry dogs made the morning feel like an early Halloween birding trip.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Some Nice Sightings At Sharon Audubon Center

 I camped out at Macedonia Brook State Park this weekend. During the day I decided to take a ride over to The Sharon Audubon Center which was within close driving distance. There are several well-marked trails on the property. with a couple of nice ponds on property. The progression of fall foliage was still in the early stages.
They had a blind conveniently set up on the edge of the first pond. I was able to get a good view of Wood Ducks from this location and imagine that it would come in very handy once some of the migrating ducks arrive. The second pond featured boardwalks and  benches set at the edge of the pond making my birding experience very comfortable.
 They also have a raptor aviary with hawks,owls, falcons, and a Bald Eagle which are unable to survive in the wild.
 I caught a nice view of a Swamp Sparrow at the edge of the pond.
 This Blue-headed Vireo was a nice find for me but I don't think I've ever seen one with so much green color!
Another surprise was 2 animals that were swimming around in the reeds. They didn't allow me much of a view but they looked like otters. I've only seen otters maybe once or twice in my life so that was exciting.

It was perfect weather and the scenery in Litchfield County is beautiful in the Fall. I spent a lot of time hiking up hills, checking out back road scenery, and visiting other parks such as  Mowhawk Mountain but the highlight of my trip was my time spent at the Sharon Audubon Center. It was the perfect way to end the month of September.