Sunday, January 3, 2010

Big January Update: 54 Species So Far

This scene was taken through my truck window as I was heading though East Haddam. There were snow flurries throughout the entire weekend and we had wind gusts up to 40mph on Sunday. The weather didn't prevent me from adding to my list of species for January but it did make the task a little less pleasant.
These European Starlings didn't seem to mind the snow flurries. They were having a grand old time in this puddle of melted snow. They were awfully bold. I wonder if they think they are camouflaged by their little white speckles in the snowy weather? The Horned Larks at Hammonasset Park were bothered at all by the snow. I enjoyed getting a close up view of their facial markings. It brought some color and contrast to what was otherwise a gloomy day.
The larks were burying their bills into the snow and plucking out bits of food. I have no idea what this one found but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a leftover from a happy meal.
Meig's Point was super windy and cold. I lasted about 5 minutes outside of my truck before my hands went totally numb. There was a nice variety of shorebirds in the area including Ruddy Turnstones, Dunlin, Sanderlings, and ............
Purple Sandpipers. The one on the right can't seem to decide if it wants to hop across or peck the rock in front of it. Life is always full of tough decisions. There was a few distant birds in the water that I missed out on because I didn't bring my spotting scope. I didn't plan on ending up at hammonasset but I should have brought it just in case. My ideal spotting scope would be 10.5" long (would fit in my vest pocket), have a 30x high definition image, have image stabilization technology (so I wouldn't need a tripod), and would sell for $169.99. If you find something that fits that description please let me know.
I found my good old reliable Bufflehead at the saybrook causeway. The only challenge of finding them here is that you are not allowed to stop your car on the bridge. It didn't say that you couldn't slow down though and that was all that I had to do to identify these Bufflehead. For some reason, oreo cookies come to mind when I see them. After crossing the bridge I found a Gray Catbird hiding in the bush. It ignored my attempts at pishing which rarely happens with the catbirds I encounter in the spring or summer.
It wasn't a bad start for me but I know that the month will got by quickly and I have to make the most of the weekends. If you live in Connecticut and reach 90 species by the end of the month, you can send your list to the COA to be published on the listserver. Click on the COA website link for details. I'll look forward to visiting your blogs in the upcoming week to see how everyone is progressing with their lists.
Here is my list so far: Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe ( in saybrook marina), Great Blue Heron, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Greater Black-backed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Horned Lark, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, American Tree Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow.


Susan T. said...

You're off to a good start!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

NEXT year- I'm going to try this list next year. It's such a fun idea! You are off to a terrific start.

Ruth said...

You have done very well in three days! I am at 22 birds (cannot resist your challenge) but it is so bitterly cold here that the birds have fled I think. I have seen no winter finches yet this season, nor Snow Buntings or Horned Larks.

Larry said...

Susan T.-The first 50 birds are a cinch. The closer you get to 100-the harder it gets.I learned from past years that I need to get started as quickly as possible to have a chance.

Lynne-I do believe that is the first time I've seen you proclaim that. I will remind you next year but it's not to late to start now if you want to make a practice run at it.

Ruth-I know it must be cold in tough conditions but I'm glad that you are participating.Don't get discouraged-the birds are out there somewhere. You just have to stay one step ahead of them.

RuthieJ said...

You got some great photos Larry. Sounds like you're doing really good in spite of the seriously bad wintry weather you've been having since January started.

Kathie Brown said...

Larry, congratulations! So far you are ahead of me. I have been delayed by computer problems and grandkids still here visitng from Maine. They left this evening and I am off to a new start tomorrow! I am at 40 species so far, some found in the oddest places like parkinglots, gas stations, and alongside the highway. I have been counting birds wherever I can!

Your horned lark photos are really nice. I saw some of them on New Year's eve at a playground we took the grandkids to. I will have to check back there later this week.

Larry said...

Ruthiej-If it weren't for this listing game I probably would have stayed inside and drank lots of hot coffee.

Kathiebirds-I won't be birding again until next weeekend except fo anything I come across by chance while traveling between jobs.

Jayne said...

What a great start Larry. I admire your being out there, not being able to feel your hands! That's dedication!!

Erica Houskeeper said...


A very impressive start! I really like your images along the shore. That Meig's Point shot is very dramatic.

Happy 2010!


Lana Gramlich said...

Wow! Go man, go! I'm trying to report more regularly to eBird, myself, even if it's not a necessarily lot more species.

Chris Petrak said...

Great start to the year! Keep at it, and good luck on January.

Larry said...

Jayne-Dedication? That's putting it nicley. Other people might call it something less flattering.

Erica-Thanks-It's always nice to have a little rough water to make your photos more interesting.Happy New year to you too!

Lana-I keep forgetting about e-bird.You just reminded me that I should go back and do e-bird for that Red-headed Woodpecker I saw a while back.

Chris-Thanks-I will keep at it even if the weather is miserable.

Birdinggirl said...

Larry- glad to hear this is going so well! I love your Horned Lark picture- they're one of my favorites:)

Happy Birding!

dguzman said...

Great pics, Larry!