I hadn't checked out the tide chart and was disappointed to find that it was high tide. That kind of messed things up for finding shorebirds. I decided to check some of the marinas along the main road. I was pleased to find numerous Red-breasted Mergansers like the one in the top photo ( even though they had already been added to my January list) . You can see many of the field marks that distinguish it as an adult breeding male. It has a thin reddish bill which is not as thick at the base as a Common Merganser's is. Also visible, is the shaggy crest and dark area below the white portion of the neck.
I saw lots of Hooded Mergansers as well. I sat on a dock and took time out to enjoy watching them. Their markings showed up beautifully in the morning light and it was fun to watch them dive for food. I never get tired of seeing them. Here's a cool fact about Hooded Mergansers that I found in Cornell's All About Birds site:
The Hooded Merganser finds its prey underwater by sight. The merganser can actually change the refractive properties of its eyes to enhance its underwater vision. In addition, the nictating membrane (third eyelid) is very transparent and probably acts to protect the eye during swimming, just like a pair of goggles.
After checking out various places in the area to no avail, I stopped by Hammonnasset again. I added a few species while I was there including: Peregrine Falcon, Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, and Red-breasted Nuthatch.
Once again, I managed not to find any White-winged Crossbills that have been reported here lately. There was no shortage of Pine Siskins though.
It snowed on Sunday so I stayed pretty close to home. I had to work hard driving through snowy roads to add Hermit Thrush, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Ring-necked Duck (at Haddam Meadows), and Great Cormorant. On Monday, I was able to find a Merlin, and 20 Snow Buntings that were mixed in with hundreds of Horned Lark. That brings my January total to 68.
-Birds aren't the only thing I saw during my stop at Hammonasset. I also met Proteus the Possum while I was out on Willard's Trail.
click to play
- Proteus the possum lives in a tree
-he was searching for food but then he saw me
- he ran past the trail
-as I followed his tail
-now I've brought you this video to see