Sunday, April 6, 2008

Snowy Egrets Have Arrived In Connecticut

I guess that I could say that I was more of a bird watcher than a birder this weekend. I didn't keep a list. Instead, I just sauntered around the state and focused on viewing a few species. Here is a photo of a male Red-winged Blackbird. It's nice that the photo actually shows its eye for a change. Do you know how many times I've taken photos of this bird only to find out that the eye isn't visible in the photo? This is a photo of the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry (viewed from Hadlyme side)-which has been operating in some form or another since 1769. This is a good area from which to spot eagles in the winter and is also an excellent place to spot the ferry boat after April 1st.

My wife, Joan, joined me for some casual birding on Saturday. She was impressed with the 8 Wilson's Snipe and several Killdeer that we saw at The Portland Fairgrounds. I pulled my truck up so that she would have a good view of the flooded grassy area. I enjoyed listening to her descriptions of the field marks as she called them out. She noted the stripes on the head and back of the snipe, as well as the long bill. Durham Meadows was our next stop. Joan was thrilled by the sight of several Great Blue Herons, which she saw in the trees through a spotting scope. She didn't know right away what they were and I wasn't going to tell her. "An egret?" - "No, not an egret." - "Great Blue Herons, right?" - "Now you're getting the hang of it!" Unfortunately, I didn't manage to capture any photos on Saturday. On Sunday I went to have a look at a place called Pease Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon, Connecticut. It looks like a decent place but I think that I went there about a month too early. I realized my mistake and moved on quickly before wasting any more time there.

I took a ride to the Old Lyme area to see how the Osprey were coming along. I made a short stop at
Great Island Wildlife Management Area. This area was dedicated to Roger Tory Peterson, a resident of Old Lyme. There are a lot of Osprey nesting platforms out there and every one I could see was occupied (too far away to take any pictures). The Osprey in the above photo is actually from a place called the Four Mile River Boat Launch, also in Old Lyme. This place isn't particularly known for its birding but I've had good luck spotting herons and egrets there in the past.
I was not disappointed today. Apparently, there was a Snowy Egret convention going on. I saw my first Snowy Egrets of the year, a total of sixteen of them! There was a large group across the small river. They were flying from one side to the other. I found out that they are a threatened species in Connecticut, so this was an encouraging sight. An interesting habit of the Snowy Egret is that they use one foot to stir up food from the bottom in order to flush prey into view. I took a nice video of them but blogger is not cooperating. Fortunately, the birds were. Now bring on the warblers!


Shelley said...

Lovely photos! How lucky you were to snap the redwinged blackbird. I tried very hard this morning to snap them at our cabin but too fast for me. The Robin was agreeable luckily.

Anonymous said...

Great sighting of those Snowy Egrets! That is my kind of convention.

Good birding to you!

Patrice said...

Great photos! I love the egrets. Yes, bring on the warblers!

Jayne said...

Beautiful Egrets Larry. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the migrating birds as well. Last year, there were two weeks in mid April to May when it seemed as if they all descended at one time here on Chickadee.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Those egrets are so pretty! It sounds like you might just have Joan hooked on birding. Wait til she nibbles, then slowly set the hook...
When Art goes birding with me he brings a book. I can't complain too much though because he'll drive so I can be on look-out.

Aunt "B's" Backyard said...

I'm with you, I'm waiting for the warblers to return.
Good you weren't disappointed and was able to view the egrets. What a thrill to be able to see the osprey nest, that's wonderful. Looks like you had a great time!!

Beth said...

I always enjoy your birding adventures.

Larry said...

shellmo-Thanks-They aren't to fast for me but there eyes usually blend in with their plumage.Robins are pretty good that way.

birdfreak-Yes-those are the sort of conventions I like to attend also.

Patrice-It shouldn't be much longer now.-I don't know how migration works out where you live.

Jayne-It should be about the same here.

Aunt "B-I'm sort of enjoying the arrrival of a few species at a time because there will soon be mayhem.

Beth-thanks-so do I-being in them more so than writing them.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100%!! Bring on those Warblers! Love your photos and great seeing the Snowy Egrets!

Kathie Brown said...

Looks like you've been busy! Are you going to get some shots of those warblers when they come through? Until recently warblers were a catogory I largely ignored! Now I'm getting to know them!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a nice relaxing time. Now Snowy Egrets are a bird I can't count on seeing any particular year, never mind 16! Sounds wonderful. Yes, Warblers and other migrants are on their way. Saw my first Barn Swallow of the year yesterday. Glad to hear that your wife Joan is taking some interest. Makes birding that much more special when you can share it with those you love.

Anna Simpson said...

Fantastic photographs well done. Keep up the great work.

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

Great outing! It's not easy to get good detail on black birds, but your picture of the RWBB not only has good detail, but a catchlight on the eye!

What a wonderful sighting of all those Snowies. I see Snowies and Great Egrets quite often down in Milford, when I go to Silver Sands. They're beautiful birds.

Lana Gramlich said...

I love egrets. They & herons are year long residents down here in the South, of course. So lovely!

Cathy said...

I love that you require your wife to establish the bird for herself. My husband is a little impatient, but I know it's best that he figure a few out for himself.

I clicked on the black bird eye to make sure you 'really' got it ;0)

Love those egret!

And Larry - all the mention of Lyme. Are you concerned about Lyme disease and do you take precautions?

Larry D said...

Great photos. It is very hard to catch the light in a dark birds eyes, nicely done.

Larry said...

Monarch-Sounds like you're anxious for the return of the warblers!

kathiebirds-I'm going to try to capture some shots of the warblers but it can be difficult. Some stay high up in the trees and they all move around a great deal.

pa-birder-Joan has actually been interested in birds for quite some time now. She has a very good eye for seeing details and often spots birds before me. If she ever became really serious about birding,I think she would be pretty good at it. In the mean time, it's fun to have her along when she does go.

anna simpson-Thank you for stopping by anna!

Sandpiper-They disappear for a while in the central part of the state so its nice when they first come back.

lana-They are nice birds.-I imagine they are quite common in your area.

cathy-It's much more interesting for a person if they can find and identify birds for themselves.I know that it takes some of the fun out of birding if I go with more experienced birders who see and identify everything before me.

Lyme disease is always a concern but no more so in Lyme than any other part of the state. That is where it was first discovered but it is all throughout Connecticut now. If I know that I'm in a high risk area, I take extra precautions. Sometimes they get you when your not expecting it though.-I'm definitely at high risk with all the hiking I do. I'm willing to take that chance because I like the outdoors so much.

larry d-Thanks-just caught the right lighting for a change.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
My favorite picture was the osprey on the nesting platform! I almost never see them around here.
I liked seeing the picture of the little ferry boat on open water. Someone sent me a newspaper pic today of a barge stuck in the ice of the Mississippi near Dubuque, Iowa. All barge traffic is still stopped until the ice breaks up now -- hopefully some rain this week and next week's warmer temps will bring more springy weather and spring birds (like egrets) back to Minnesota for our viewing pleasure. At least we can see them courtesy of your blog!
P.S. I had trouble loading that 32 second bluejay video to blogger last night too--it took about 90 minutes before it finally finished!

Mary said...

Hi Larry,

Isn't it nice just to browse around birding places without a scope, camera, or binocs? Just to listen and learn?

Hey, give Joan and handshake for me. She's getting it, right? My husband doesn't share my excitement for birds, really. But he's been asking about the return of the hummingbirds, daily. I think he has a little of the bird bug :o)


Michael Nelson said...

Bring on the warblers is right on!!! I have 4 days planned in May during peak warbler migration at Point Pelee. Can't wait.

Nick S said...

I love the Osprey on that platform. I still need to get a good close photo of one of those !

Larry said...

ruthiej-Great Island is swarming with them right now but the platforms are set back at quite a distance. Yes I've had quite a bit of video problems lately. The Snowy Egrets are so nice to see when they first come around.

Mary-Joan is pretty good WHEN she goes.It is nice to browse without equipment until you see something good-then you wish that you had binocs and camera.

Michae-Sounds like a fun and exciting trip-I'm sure you'll have a great time!

nick s-I've seen your blog.-I have no doubt that you will easily accomplish that goal!

Anonymous said...

Darrell G. it would be more of gods country if they would leave an open space of land alone to enjoy builders have pushed the american farmer out of conn. besides high tax.they see open land they think dollar signs,lets build houses hell with the wild life in that area put a ball field, tenn, corts ect.I live in middlefield ct. were I live there are bald egeles,red tailed hawks,pelieted wood peckers, turky hawks stop building so much on a open space and praserve whats left in conn.there are already plenty of houses start renvateing them and make them new.