Monday, July 13, 2009

Birders Meet In CT For BwBTC Field Trip

I went to Milford Point on Saturday to meet Birders who Blog Tweet or Chirp for a day of birding. The trip was organized by Dawn, of Dawn's Bloggy Blog and led by Luke of Under Clear Skies. I do most of my birding alone and don't often travel out of state, so this was a nice change from my normal weekend birding routine. We had a lively group with an interesting mix of personalities. I found myself focusing in on the different aspects of birding which appealed to different individuals within the group.

Here are a few of the of birding related topics that I can recall being discussed:

  • Birding adventures at a Maine Sporting Camp

  • identifying Pine Warblers by their chip notes as they flew across the New york City sky at night.

  • Various social gatherings and festivals by birders in various states

  • species added to state lists, monthly lists, year lists, and life lists
  • how attempting to sketch what you see can be beneficial even if you're no good at it

  • differentiating species of birds by their flight patterns & wing beats

  • The different species of birds one might find in a backyard birds in Brooklyn

  • The excitement of being a new birder rapidly adding to the number of new species seen

  • How to make homemade digiscoping adapters

  • Proper identification of various species including Boat-tailed Grackles and various terns

  • The recent increase in quality of lower end optics

  • and of course-blogging, tweeting, and chirping (I'm still not sure what tweeting and chirping is)

By the end of the day I felt a renewed interest in certain aspects of birding that I may avoided for some time. I was also pleased by the number and variety of species we were able to see by the end of the trip. I won't list all of the species which totaled more than 60 but I'll point out a few of my favorite sightings. This photo of a Baltimore Oriole was taken for the observation deck at Milford Point Nature Center. We also saw Glossy Ibises, Black-crowned Night Herons, Purple Martins, and Orchard Orioles here. At other stops we added Brown Thrasher, Salt-marsh Sparrows, Marsh Wrens, Boat-tailed Grackles, and Piping plovers to our lists.

An Osprey flew overhead with the catch of the morning gripped tightly in its talons.
While we were carpooling I mentioned to Luke that it would be nice if I could get my first look at a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. He told me that with any luck we would see one in a few minutes. We were driving along a residential road and there it was-my first Yellow-crowned Night-Heron! I found the markings on the head stood out distinctly as the bird made its way through the tall, pale grass. Another nice sighting for some in the group was seeing a flock of Monk Parakeets and their jumbo-sized nests. I've seen my share of these birds but I haven't gotten used to their lime- green color always catches my attention.

click to play
I started hit the record button but was disappointed when I saw that my memory card full after a few seconds of filming. I had forgotten to delete the old videos which fill up a lot of space. I was able to record a short clip of the Yellow-crowned Night Heron but don't blink or you'll miss it.
After stopping off for lunch, we headed out to Hammonasset State Park. There were plenty of egrets there like the Great Egret above. We were also able to get some glimpses of a Little Blue Egret as it flew by us a couple of times. I enjoyed learning about the differences between the different terns as we carefully searched for a Roseate Tern without success. We were able to find a King Eider which had been reported here recently. This was a lifer for several of us including me. We also had an excellent view of a Surf Scoter that was perched upon a rock. The low angle of the sun and the texture of the rock upon which it stood made the bold markings of the scoter stand out nicely. Some other birds of interest included Least Terns, Common Terns, Double-crested Cormorants, Short-billed Dowitchers, Spotted Sandpipers, and Least Sandpipers .
A cool breeze was coming off the water as we used the last of daylight to take in the final views of the day. After leaving Hammonasset we stopped at Fishtale for some ice cream. It was a nice way to put a finishing touch on what turned out to be a great day of birding and camaraderie.

Thanks to Dawn for organizing the trip and to Luke for leading it. It was a pleasure meeting everyone. Hope to see you next year!

-Here are links to the birders who attended:

Dawn and Jeff from Dawn's Bloggy Blog
Dan from Nature Observances
Dee from Oak and the Seed
Chris from Tails of Birding
Luke from Under Clear Skies
Bev from Behind the Bins and Murmuring Trees
Christopher from Picus blog
Cindy from Living in Brooklyn, Longing for Maine
Laura from Interstitial Spaces
Mark from Strack16
Catherine from Birdspot blog
Paul D-No link yet (but that may change soon)


Dawn Fine said...

howdee Larry,
Nice post...oh nice osprey photo!
And I loved the video ..came out nice and clear.
It was great meeting you! I am glad i bugged you to come out and join us!
Hope we can bird together again.
Take care..
keep bloggin!

Kim said...

Great pictures Larry! Love the Osprey and the Yellow-crowned Night Heron shots! Love the video too. It's so funny to see that heron walking around the tall grass like that.

Sounds like you had a great time with all of the other bloggers!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Neat video!! I've never seen that heron. Glad you got a lifer with it.

Dawn is coming to Minnesota for another BwBTC meet-up in August. Wish you could come to this one too! I've always thought you'd be a fun one to meet.

Maybe I'll get to add you to mt "blogger Life list" one day!

Jayne said...

Sounds like a great time was had by all. Glad you got to meet so many neat Bloggers!

Christopher said...

Hi Larry,
Great post and photos! I love the threads of conversation that you summarized. Things like that really help to make these meetings so much fun.
Hope to see you out there again soon.

Patrick B. said...

It's great to see these northeast meetups happening so close to me. Sorry I missed it. It was our baby shower. Maybe I'll get to the next one or maybe I'll even host one!

Larry said...

dawn-Thanks-You did a good job promoting and reminding us about the event.I'm glad you did-it was a lot of fun.-Maybe there'll be a BwBTC 2 tour in CT

Kim-thanks-I liked watching the YCNH-the event was fun.

Lynne-I'll look forward to reading about the Minnesota event in August.Maybe they should have a list serve for rare birder sightings.

Christopher-Thanks-those little discussions were one of my favorite parts of the trip

Patrick-I can understand you would be busy with all that's going on.-Maybe one of these days we'll cross paths.

Dan Huber said...

Larry was good meeting you and love the summary of topics you mentioned. I find too many pointers to remember discussed on trips with folks, espescially as a beginner. See you soon I am sure


Jochen said...

Larry, just why didn't you send that Yellow-crowned Night-heron over to Germany?

Congrats, that's the kind of views that make a lifer a real big thing worth remembering!

Larry said...

Jochen-Actually I did send it over there-mow you just have to find it. I'm not always hyped up on lifers but I was impressed by this one and the views we had of the bird.

Kathie Brown said...

It sounds like so much fun! It would have been nice to be there! Congrats on the Yellow-crowned night heron!

Unknown said...

I do not know what chirping is either.