Sunday, November 11, 2018

Trolling For Birds By Car

I used to have a boat and did quite a bit of fishing. If fishing as slow in one location we would cast a lure or a streamer out and ride around the lake until we found some fish.We called this trolling.I wasn't mentally prepared for 30 degree weather yet so I decided to troll around town in my heated car looking for birds.I searched the wooded hillsides.
I drove by the old railroad tracks here I found a mockingbird that stayed in the middle of a berry bush.
Then I found a Cedar Waxing getting drunk on crabapples. If you drive around enough you'll eventually run into birds.until then at least you have a heater and a radio!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

I Got Birds In Forgotten Places

 I made a point of looking for birds in forgotten places today. I made one stop along the Connecticut River and took a walk along a 10 foot wide strip of grass that is owned by the town but it looks as though it's part of someone's yard.
The Dark-eyed Junco is a sure sign that winter is not far away.
 I checked below these colorful fall trees to see what bird was making chip notes.
 The White-throated Sparrow is another bird that will keep us company for the rest of the winter.
 This is a little pond that has no name. It sits behind a few houses and isn't much more than a flooded patch of woods.
Which is all it takes to satisfy a Green-winged Teal.I was happy to find him in a forgotten little pond, especially this time of the year.

It had me singing "I got birds in forgotten places-where the trees are broken and the sign are faded-but that's okay-I found a teal today". Does that song sound familiar to anyone? 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Wile E. Coyote Versus The Kingfisher

I remember a cartoon from Looney Toons that featured a coyote that was constantly trying to catch a roadrunner using elaborate contraptions.The coyote failed every time as the roadrunner would always avoid the trap at the last second leaving the coyote caught in his own trap.

 I always think of that cartoon when I approach a kingfisher because they always seem to sense when I'm going to take a picture and slip away at the last second. I finally managed to get very close to this kingfisher but of course it had to be cloudy and raining! My camera doesn't like cloudy and raining.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Habitat Search Led Me To Purple Finches

Sometimes I will just drive around country roads and look for habitat that I think might be good for birds rather than go to places I'm already familiar with. I'll look for things like water features, berry bushes, weeds, cedar trees, tall grass, and shrubs.If I see signs of bird activity I'll stop and check it out. this time I as rewarded with a nice view of a pair of Purple Finches stuffing their bills.The male Purple Finch is on the top.It has more of a raspberry color to it versus the reddish color of the male House Finches. I don't see a lot of Purple Finches so I'm always happy to come across them.
The female has a sort whitish eyebrow mark.
Sometimes my initial roadside search I will explore the area in further detail. I came across this little area near some hilltop power lines where someone created a nice little stone sanctuary. 

Birding can become routine and predictable so heading out blindly with binoculars and using your own instincts to look for birds can be a rewarding way to go about it.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Birding And Solitude Are A Natural Fit

George Dudley Seymour State Park is a place I have visited several times over the years. I've yet to encounter another person during my visits there. It has steep gorges with lots of rocks and flowing streams that serve to calm a restless spirit.
 It is a place that I can enjoy without worrying about the next bird I'm going to see. the birds are a bonus but the scenery and solitude are what makes the place special.
 I did manage to find a butterfly that wasn't ready to head south of the border...
and an Eastern Towhee as curious about me as I was about he. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Little Fog Can't Stop That Birding Vibe

 It has been raining by the bucketful this week and a the fog has been rolling in every morning.
The birds are out there but can be a little hard to see.
I new it as going to be one of those special birding days when I came across 8 Wood Ducks as soon as I stepped foot on the rail trail.It took me an hour to travel 50 feet because every bush was saturated with birds such as warblers and sparrows, some of them  uncommon. There are some days when you just know within the first 5 minutes that it's going to be a birdy day.
It's nice when the fog finally lifts so you can get a clearer view of the birds.
It's been a little slow on the birding front the last couple of weeks but all that changed this weekend. I'm hoping next weekend I can get some photos of some of the smaller birds.It was too difficult this morning because I constantly had my binoculars pointed upward. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Fall Begins This Weekend

It was the official start of Fall this weekend.There is just a touch of color in the leaves so far.
 Broad-winged Hawks and other birds of prey are making their long journey south. 
I try to keep my eyes on the sky as I was shocked last year when an American White Pelican flew over my house.
I hope we get some colorful foliage this year!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wandering The Rail Trails And Fairgrounds

 I haven't posted lately but continue to wander out with the binoculars and camera on the weekend.The photo above shows the entrance to the new rail trail which has become one of my favorite birding spots to visit. It is loaded with an unusually high number of wrens and seems to be a good fall migration area too.
 I made an attempt to walk through the fairgrounds a couple of weeks ago before they cut down any of the grass.I didn't come prepared with waterproof boots and ended up with soaking wet socks and pants.Realizing what a dumb move that was made me feel like...
.....well I can't really put it into words but you get the idea.
 Fall migration has already started so I've been seeing a mix of everything including lots of Common Yellowthroats, hawks and
......a mix of sparrows. Savannah Sparrow seemed to be the special of the day.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Don't Trade Today's Birds For Yesterday's Birds

 One of the advantages of using eBird is that you can look to see what people are seeing in the area and then go to the same places to look for the same birds. The problem is that when birds are migrating they may not wait until the next day for you to show up.

I've been looking high and low for birds on the weekends. From high places like the above photo overlooking the fog-covered Connecticut river valley... the low lying train tracks passing through the dynamite-blasted ledges. 

The other day, I was on my way to a location that had been crawling with exciting migratory bird sightings the just a day before. On my way there, I made a quick stop at a marsh and was surprised at how many birds seemed to be around. I was eager to get to yesterday's hotspot so I only took a quick look around before heading off to my desired destination.

There was only one problem when I got there. Yesterday's birds were gone. I should have stayed at the marsh and enjoyed viewing the many birds that I already knew were there!
 I decided to take a couple of photos of butterflies instead of stepping over them to look for birds.

I see plenty of eagles in our area but made sure not to ignore the one flying over my head.
There are tons of catbirds around in the summer but I'm trying to remember that I will be desperate to see one by the end of the upcoming winter.
It may only be the non-native Mute Swan but what if it was the last one I were to ever see? 

I hope I learned my lesson. Don't make the mistake of trying to trade today's birds in by looking for the ones that were seen by someone else the day before.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Cormorant And Gull Sharing Lookout Duty

 My birding adventures are brief and less frequent during most of the summer. I came upon a rocky area in Saybrook where a cormorant and gull seemed to be sharing lookout duty.
 The rock next to them seem to be a popular spot among the local terns.
I like when cormorants spread their wings to dry. It looks like a bird that should be guarding Dracula's castle.
Here's a little clip of the terns. I just noticed that some were banded.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Swallows On The Roof & Flickers On The Beach

 We are headed for a 5 day heat-wave so I got an early start this morning.I decided to take a quick walk through the farm fields to the river. Seems there are a few birds on top of the barn roof. Wonder what they could be?
 Seems to be barn swallows (hope they had their shingles vaccine).
It was a short walk down to the river and it seems that the Sycamore Tree was loaded with flickers, a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and a couple of Cedar Waxings. They were all gone when they saw my camera come out.

I passed by a few butterflies along the way.
 Time for me to go. It's only 9am and already 90 degrees. Even the flickers are heading for the beach! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Meditative Birding

Our minds have a tendency to wander and have repetitous thoughts that distract us from the present moment. 

A simple meditation technique can help. 

Focusing on our own breaths whenever our minds start to wander can help us relax and be more in tune with our immediate surroundings. 
If you can reach some level of a meditative state while birding your heightened senses can enhance the experience.

You become more aware of the sounds of your footsteps. Bird chatter in the woods suddenly sounds like a symphony with each bird playing its own instrument. Birds stand out in vivid detail through your binoculars.
Time becomes suspended with an hour feeling like a minute and a minute feeling like an hour.

It takes a little patience but meditative birding is worth the effort.