Monday, May 4, 2009

Return To The Quiet Corner

Joan and I visited Connecticut's Quiet Corner this weekend. We spent most of Friday traveling along country roads looking for new places to explore. I made a few wrong turns along the way, but sometimes taking a wrong turn is what exploration is all about. Joan loved being a passenger as she checked out the numerous farms, historic buildings, country homes , and unique stores .

We made our first stop at a place that I've been curious about for a while, The Creamery Brook Bison Farm. I was pleased to find that there was more than just Bison living on the farm.

I didn't see any signs saying so but I believe the birds in the top photos are Emus. When you look at these birds, it's not hard to imagine that they might be relatives of the dinosaurs. They're kind of cute too, aren't they?

I had to pull back in a hurry when this female peafowl tried to take a peck at my camera. It may not be as showy as the male, but a nice bird to look at nevertheless. The history of the Peafowl goes way back to the time of the Phoenicians.
What would a Bison farm be without Bison? The one on the far right looks like it has been eating quite well. I'll bet you it weighs as much as some of the new cars that I've been seeing on the roads lately.
Another place of interest was the Safe Haven Farm in Hampton. They breed and sell Alpacas. That impressive looking building is their country store. The store wasn't open at the time of our visit, but what we were most interested in was seeing the Alpacas. So what exactly is an Alpaca? It is a domesticated species of South American Camelid that superficially resembles a small Llama. They are specifically bred for their fiber. It looks like this one recently had a haircut.

click to play
We were allowed to take some photos and video footage but visitors are required to be accompanied by one of the workers while around the animals.
We spent the night at Feather Hill Bed & Breakfast. The rooms were very clean and the house was nicely decorated with additional rooms for the guests to relax in. The Innkeepers are Fred and Angela Spring. We enjoyed talking about birds with Fred. He, himself, is a birdwatcher and keeps his feeders well stocked. I spotted a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak while seated at the dining room table. We went to Mozzarella's Italian Grill for dinner. We had Eggplant Parmesan and Fish & Chips. The quality of the food was very good and the prices were reasonable.
We left early Saturday morning so that we could spend some time birding before heading back home. I brought Joan to a place that I had previously visited, Trailwood Nature Preserve. The house you see in the picture was the former home of Edwin Way Teale.
Joan has a pretty good eye when it comes to spotting birds but she does not spend every weekend birding the way I do. I was hoping to point out a few colorful migrant birds that would be new to her. She spotted the Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows on her own. She admired the way the steely blue color of the swallow contrasted with the pure white underside of the bird. We were able to spot a House Wren and Eastern Phoebe near the stream. She was excited when she saw her first Black and White Warbler and I was happy to witness the event. It was cloudy with occasional showers throughout the weekend. This can make it even more difficult to zero in on warblers that can be challenging enough even on sunny days. We took our time slowly wandering about the preserve. There was one bird singing a burry sort of song that sounded familiar to me. After some time, I was able to locate and identify it as a Yellow-throated Vireo (photo -4/08). I saw my first Gray Catbirds and Blue-winged Warblers of the year. They seemed to be abundant throughout the area we visited.

After departing from Trailwood, we continued to head West and made a stop at James L. Goodwin Forest. We had nice views of Eastern Towhees, Black-throated Green Warblers and Pine Warblers there. We were surprised when we ran into our friends Tom, Denise, and their dog Myah. What are the odds of seeing people you know out in the middle of a remote forest? While driving along a road that took us deeper into the woods, we saw a pair of hawks perched in a tree . At first I thought they might be Red-shouldered Hawks but after getting a closer look and hearing their call, I recognized them as Broad-winged Hawks.
Our weekend was a memorable one. We enjoyed the places we visited, the people we met, the birds we saw and most importantly, spending time together in Connecticut's Quiet Corner.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

What a lovely trip. I showed my daughter your alpaca video. They've always been her favoite.
So much history there.

Dawn Fine said...

Some more great spots to visit when I get back to CT!
I liked the video too..did the cute little critter want to eat your camera?
Thanks for taking me on your was fun.

Kim said...

Sounds as if you had a wonderful time! I love all of those pictures of the various animals. HA regarding bumping into someone you know in the woods. That would have shocked me too.

Jayne said...

What a lovely weekend Larry. :c) How fun that you ran into friend there!

Allison said...

Oh Larry, I just love love love your blog! Hmm, I wonder if I could steal an alpaca under cover of night!

Andy said...

The Bison farm is about an hour from me. Hmmm, perhaps I'll visit.

Unknown said...

Bison - I have an interesting picture from Colorado of my Dad (who was an avid hunter) scratching the beard of a very content Bison. It was one of those "tou can not belive that" kind of pictures. i have not seen any warblers yet, do they get down to Stamford?

Larry said...

Lynne-I had no idea what an Alpaca was before last weekend.I hope your daughter enjoyed the video.

Larry said...

Dawn-He did eat my camera.Now I have no camera! What am I going to do?
Kallen-Yes it was surprising. They say it's a small world when you run into someone unexpectedly but then again there are a lot of times when you don't so maybe it isn't so small.

Tutta-Thanks-I appreciate that.I would be careful-they had dogs guarding the animals.They were polite to us but they were keeping a close eye on those Alpacas!

Andy-You might as well visit a few spots while your out there-Bison Farm,The Audubon Center,and whatever else you can find.

Whitemist-That sounds like quite an intersting photo.You should check out the New Haven Bird Club Link on my sidebar. They are in your area and have lots of free birdwalks. They will gladly point out plenty of warblers for you-there are plenty down your way if you know were to look.

Ruth said...

How nice that you and Joan had a lovely weekend together and you didn't make her sleep in a tent ;-)
Great photos of birds and animals not usually seen. Those vireos are quite a confusing lot!

Larry said...

Ruth-True Joan didn't have to sleep in a tent this time around but I see a tent in the near future for her.

Caroline Gill said...

Greetings from Wales, UK! I found your blog via Crafty Green Poet and thoroughly enjoyed your post about the Quiet Corner. We have a lot of warblers about at the moment, and I saw about nine red kite at the weekend.

Unknown said...

I made my first trip along I-395 last summer and was surprised to learn how rural that part of the state is. It is an area I know very little about.

Larry said...

Coastguard-Thanks for stopping by-the only Red Kites I've seen around here are the ones that kids are flying at the beach.

Mathew-That's true. This is one of the reasons I made it a point to learn more about that area this year.

dguzman said...

Looks like a wonderful trip! Alpacas are sooooo cute!

Great YTVireo pic! You really caught all the field marks.

MaineBirder said...

Looks and sounds like you had a great time. Wonderful photos and video!

susanc said...

Hi Larry,

You really have a great blog. I am an avid birdwatcher myself. I try to get good bird photos, but it's really hard to do so sometimes.

I will definitely be back.

April said...

What a lovely place. It sounds like your weekend was very relaxing. I enjoyed your tour and beautiful pictures. Thank you.

Amila Salgado said...

Close ups of ratite heads really reveal the ancient looks. I once tried to do it with a short tempered Cassowary but found out it was too easy!

Nice captures.

Larry said...

ratite-that's a new word for my vocabulary-thanks.

Birdinggirl said...

Sounds like a great time! What a great list for the weekend. Excellent picture of the vireo!

steadyjohn said...

I've been through Hampton CT many times on my way to Worcester MA. The trip from Middletown/Portland involves passing through East Hampton CT on the way. Oddly enough, Hampton CT is east of East Hampton CT. Go figure! The oddities of Connecticut place names are illustrated too when considering the places bearing the name Canaan: South Canaan hamlet is in the Town of Canaan and Canaan hamlet is in the Town of North Canaan.

Kathie Brown said...

Larry, how amazing to read about your visit to a place I used to live in! I lived very close to Creamery Brook Farm. It was a Dairy farm then. I'm glad they were able to diversify and survive!

I saw my first black and white warbler and yellow-throated vireo in WV. I never knew they were in CT! I will have to look for some this summer.

I can't believe you were able to got to Edwin Way Teale's old farm. Your photo looks like the drawing on the cover of my book which he wrote. I would love to visit it when I am there this summer. This is a wonderful post!

Chris said...

Hi Larry,
It looks like you got a lot of fun. Nice to share this time with us! Thanks

Blessed With Four said...

I am new to blogging and just found this awesome blog of yours yesterday - I will travel over to this blog often to see what new delights you have found to show us. I love birds and nature so plan on hanging out here and taking trips with you - if that is okay :o)

Thanks so much for sharing your journies and adventures with us!!!

Anonymous said...

Most interesting post with lots of info. So many of the birds you mention I have not seen here where I live in the past 47 years.

Larry said...

Hi-just returned for a few days up in vermont and came back to discover that my internet is not working on the home computer so I am commenting from the library.It may be a while before I can get a post up.

Steadyjohn-Interesting-I've noticed thing like that in my travels throught Connecticut.I guess there's probably an explanation for everything if you have the time to research.

Kathiebirds-Cool! Yes-It is a nice area.You've lived in some of what I consider to be the nicer natural areas in CT.

Blessed-Thanks-I appreciate you stopping by to comment on my blog and hope that you do return.

Abe-47 years? For a second I was thinking four score and seven years ago but that equals 87 years.Glad you enjoyed it-thanks for stopping by.