Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pictures Don't Always Tell The Whole Story

 It's hard for me to remember what it was like to go birding without bringing my camera along. I like having a visual record of what I see but there is a lot that happens when I'm birding that I never capture on film. For example, seconds after I saw this American Oystercatcher a jolly old Labrador Retriever came crashing though the water and chased him off.
You can see from this photo that there are about 20 Glossy Ibises in this photo. What you can't see is that there are 85 more of them outside of this frame making a total of  over 100. I was watching them from Indian River Cemetery in Clinton which overlooks a marsh. There was a light rain falling at the time.
 It had a nice experience get very close to a Great Blue Heron I saw at Devil's Hopyard. I could have reached out and touched it. 
  I wanted to get a photo of the whole bird with the sun behind my back. I was trying to explain that to the heron little but I don't think it understood English. At least we seemed to hit it off fairly well.
 This Ruby-crowned kinglet actually flew right toward my camera 3 times. Maybe it was attracted to the beeping sound or a reflection off of the lens. It does have an eye but it's hard to tell when no light is reflecting off of it.
What's going on with this Little Blue Heron? Hairon gel? wind? or maybe just a bad hair day? Every picture tells a story but not always the whole story.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Camping, Birding & Rambling Around Kent CT

I spent a few days camping out in Macedonia State Forest in Kent Connecticut. I added the canopy as extra protection because there was some rain in the forecast but overall I had good weather.  Kent and the surrounding Litchfield area has a lot of scenic beauty so I can understand why many celebrities have built there homes in this part of the state. Fortunately, camping is still a relative bargain and doesn't require a movie star income.
One of the most well known natural features in Kent is the Kent Falls. They extend even further down but I couldn't get it all in one frame.
You don't want to mess with the cats in this town.
 I found an abandoned car while walking along the trails at the Sharon Audubon Center. I like looking at abandoned cars in the woods because they seem to tell a story that leaves it to your imagination to fill in the blank pages.
 Sharon Audubon Center has one of the few blinds in the state which I've come across which are actually somewhat useful in the way it was set up.
I had a nice view of some Wood Ducks that were passing through...
 ..and also saw a Palm Warbler bouncing around the bushes outside of the blind.

In the distance I kept on hearing a strange call and couldn't figure out what it was. I thought it might be a bird of interest that I needed to track down.
click center to play
I had forgotten that there was an aviary at the center. This frisky Raven captured my attention with his loud vocalizations which could be heard from the other side of the pond!

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Robin Says Why Am I Not Good Enough?

Most birders I know don't get all that excited when they see a robin.  No one would want gold if it could be found if everyone's back yard. It is part of human nature that we tend not to appreciate what we have but instead covet what we don't have.
The American Robin is a beautiful thrush whose only crimes are  that they have good survival skills and have mastered the art of reproduction. I see the robin as a reminder to count my blessings. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Finding April Warblers In A Snowy Forest

 Mother nature pulled her April Fool's prank on us this weekend by dropping a little bit of fresh snow. I decided to take a ride through the local forest hoping to find some early-arriving warblers. Heavy winds caused a lot of fallen branches in the road. I had to remove several of them and also maneuver around low-hanging snow covered branches while I was driving.
The only birds I saw for the first mile were dozens of robins which seemed to be unfazed by the weather. Eventually I encountered other species including a Hermit Thrush and a Red-bellied Woodpecker which picked up some sort of acorn from the side of the road. 
 I did see (mostly hear) a couple of Pine Warblers during my travels and expected this yellowish bird be one of them but it turned out to be a Palm Warbler hidden in a pine tree pumping its tail.
 When it was time for me to leave the sun finally came out and I was able to take in a nice view of the small swamp across from the reservoir. All in all it wasn't a bad morning of birding because at least I was able to get out for a while and see my first spring warblers of the year.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Fishing For A Fish Hawk In The Rain

The weather forecast calls for rain and snow for most of the weekend so I decided to take a car ride to find  birds that are scheduled for arrival this time of the year. 

I added a few new species for the year including Rough-winged Swallow, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, and who can forget the beloved Osprey. I remember seeing them for the first as a kid when I went fishing for flounder. Some Osprey, or "fish-hawks" as the old timers called them, would land right on the boats waiting for  fishermen to throw them leftovers. This particular bird wasn't looking for any handouts. It was sitting in a tree with a freshly caught meal as the rain was coming down.