The title about sums up my birding adventures for last week. Let's start with the Cedar Waxwings. I've been seeing a lot of Cedar Waxwings all along the Connecticut River in Portland lately. Unfortunately, they don't seem to want to come anywhere near me. What's up with these birds? Come a little bit closer so that I can take a picture!
I had asked the farmer in charge of haying some of the local fields to leave a portion of them uncut. He did as I requested, and it seems to have paid dividends. I saw a few Bobolinks right down the road from my house. The male and female both have the same yellowish color this time of the year. One Bobolink that I observed must have been a male. It had a few black blotches on it's body. There was also a Cooper's Hawk hunting on the main riverfront trail-It flew before I could lift the camera. I saw an adult Bald Eagle near the fairgrounds. I've seen several Indigo Buntings along the river as well. I've also had a Red-breasted Nuthatch at my feeder and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher(first time) in my yard.
I've been checking the farm fields at Rocky Hill Meadows lately too.This little Barn Swallow was catching some droplets during a rain shower last week. I usually try to visit after it rains, hoping to see some shorebirds gathering near the puddles and torn up sod. So far, I've only seen Least Sandpipers, Killdeer, and one suspected Pectoral Sandpiper at this spot.
I visited a wildlife refuge in West Granby Saturday. I had seen the sign for it when I had passed by it during work. I'm always curious when I see signs like that.I know enough that birds and wildlife don't read the signs. It's not as though they're going to stay in a certain portion of woods just because it has been designated for them. Nevertheless, I like checking out places like this one. It had lots of pine trees throughout the trails, along with a few open swampy areas.The sound of my normally noisy footsteps were nicely muffled by a thick bed of pine needles beneath my shoes. I heard little chip notes in the trees. It turned out to be Pine Warblers.There really didn't seem to be many birds around. It was a very windy day. It felt like Fall, which is just fine with me.I had a nice eye level view of a Veery. The bird sat on a branch looking at me so silently before disappearing to the forest understory.There was a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks working their way through the area. They were noisy as could be- Keee-yur Keee-yur keee-yur they called as they moved through the woods.
I was heading back to my truck when I hear what sounded like someone hitting a tree with a hammer. I suspected that I was probably hearing Pileated Woodpeckers. What happened next was totally unexpected. Two Pileated Woodpeckers landed in a tree just 10 feet directly above my head. I did not move from that spot for the next 10 minutes. They were hammering away on opposite sides of the same tree. Wood chips were literally landing on top of my head. Let me tell you, these birds can chisel out some serious chips! My hope was, that they would move in to a position where I could get a decent photo, but it never happened. The above photo was all I could get. Shortly after, they flew way off in to the distance. I've been close to Pileated Woodpeckers before when they've visited suet feeders, but this was much more exciting. Seeing birds at a feeder is nice, but there's something special about seeing them in their natural surroundings.