I looked out the picture window of my living room at 6:30am and determined that it was going to be one of those gray, drab, days. It wasn't raining but a light mist stayed suspended in the air throughout the morning. One of the things I enjoy most about the birding experience is enjoying the visual beauty of the birds. They are like living works of art set in a natural landscape and you get the added enjoyment of being able to observe their behavior as well. Of course the quality of lighting really plays an important role in what we see. On cloudy , gray days we just aren't able to see the color and detail that we can on a clear, sunny day. Having considered all this, I just wasn't in the mood to do any birding. I considered chasing after something that might have showed up on the rare bird report or just going back to bed for some much needed rest. I know that it is vital for me to spend time outdoors on the weekend so I settled on the idea of exploring a new trail in the area. I checked in my Eastern version of The Connecticut Walk Book and found a listing for a portion of the Shenipsit Trail off of Birch Mountain Road in Glastonbury.
There didn't seem to be many birds around. I did enjoy listening to the vocalizations of a large flock of European Starlings. With all the strange noises they make, it does seem to me that there is a lot of communication going on between these birds. I also saw another flock of about 30 Pine Siskins but they appeared as not much more than dark silhouettes in the top of a tree. I will say that I enjoyed looking at some of the rock formations and glacial boulders along the trail. The lack of light didn't diminish their appearance. My mind wanders on nearly birdless walks like these. I thought about all the unnecessary purchases that I made during the days when the economy was more robust (about eight years ago). I wish that I could return some of that unneeded junk and deposit the money back into a bank account. At least nature will always be there for us to enjoy free of charge regardless of what the economy is doing. Then I went on to consider the fact that when we're looking at stars, we are looking at light from years ago. I guess the same would hold true with objects that we see here on earth. It must take time, no matter how minuscule, for the light reflected off of an object to travel to our eyes. When we move forward, are we looking into the past or walking into the future? If I could empty the junk in my mind onto the trails that I walk, there would be no room for hikers.
I saw this sign on my way out. It seemed to put things in perspective for the day.
Sunday was the opposite of Saturday. It was all sun and no clouds. I made a visit to Dead Man's Swamp in Cromwell which is located between Main Street and the Connecticut River. There was no need to spend time thinking on a day like this. All I did was walk about the fields enjoying the birds and scenery. There were hundreds of sparrows in the field including White-throated, Swamp, Savannah, and my first Fox Sparrow of the Fall. Other species included Northern Flicker, Pine Siskins, Northern Harrier, 4 Red-tailed Hawks, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Wren, Winter Wren, Belted kingfisher, and Brown Creeper.
On this day, even commonly seen species were pleasant to look at. I watched Canada Geese pass overhead as the sun reflected off of their wings.
American Goldfinches, even lacking their brilliant summer plumage, had me captivated. I must now end this post abruptly because the Library is closing. This post will probably contain plenty of errors since I had to rush through it. I can't wait to get my own computer back.
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Here is a video of a Brown Creeper creeping up a tree. They have a wonderful song if you happen to catch them at the right time of year. Most of the time they make this tiny ringing sound that you can hear quite well on this video. It is this sound that usually draws my attention to Brown Creepers before I actually see them.
And if you feel that you can't go on
And your will's sinkin' low
Just believe and you can't go wrong
In the light you will find the road
You will find the road -
-Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin