A Connecticut native with an interest in birding shares his outdoor adventures
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Enjoying The Moment
Sunday, September 23, 2007
A Walk Along The Forgotten Tracks
At one point, I heard a group-(It's actually called a murder of crows but it seems odd to say that )- of American Crows harassing a Common Raven.-(a group of Ravens has historically been called an unkindness of Ravens, but I only saw one Raven anyway. The Crows were being unkind to it though).
On my way back, I could detect the smell of a charcoal grill. Not a bad smell,-just enough to snap my mind back to the present. I'll be looking forward to walking the rest of this historic trail in the days ahead.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
What's This Stuff?
First On The List -Wopowag Wildlife Management Area
Can you tell what kind of tree this is ? Every time that I find a patch of these trees, I find a bunch of birds in them. There were House Wrens, Palm Warblers, and several other birds bopping around in them.
I worked my way down to the river where I saw the little flock of Canada Geese. It makes for a nice seen when they're in a river versus along side a pond where they walk all over their own droppings.
Across the street from the parking lot was a swampy area. I had a nice look at some male Eastern Towhees. There were four of them all together.
I would rate the area a c+. It has some potential, so I will be checking it out again in the future. It's one of those places that's worth a look before heading on to somewhere else. One of my favorite areas, Machimoudus Park, is right up the road.
I visited an undeveloped portion of the Airline Rail Trail today. I'll tell you all about that in my next post.
Friday, September 21, 2007
It's Not Too Early To Enjoy The Future
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Sunday's Double Feature
Other birds of interest included: Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawks, Belted Kingfisher, 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-eyed Vireo, and 4 Wood Ducks flying over. I also saw a female Purple Finch.The white eyebrow was visible, but it was a distant view.
Here are a couple of interesting facts about this bird:
- Their song(chick-a-dee-dee) is one of the most complex vocalizations in the animal kingdom. It serves as a contact call, an alarm call, to identify an individual, or to indicate recognition of a particular flock.
- They can remember where they hid their food for up to 28 days! I can't remember for that long (of course I wouldn't want it after 28 days).
- They can drop their temperature by about 10-12 degrees Celsius at night to conserve energy.
- They have a definite pecking order within a flock.
The Tufted Titmouse seems to be a little bit lest trusting than the chickadees. They are fun birds to have around as well though.They make a lot of interesting sounds. Many times, they fool me with their sounds, making me think they're another bird.
Here are a few facts about the Tufted Titmouse:
- Most individuals spend their entire life within an area of just a couple of miles.
- They only live in areas where they get at least 24" of rain annually.
- They were regarded as messengers according to Cherokee legend. I could see that-they definitely are talkative birds.
I don't have anything to say about this Red-breasted Nuthatch, except that I'm glad that he's still hanging around my feeders. Who's been hanging around your feeders lately?- (besides your neighbors).
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Remembering Lake Nahmakanta
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Songbird Lyrics Game
Blue=Unanswered Grey=incomplete Black=already answered
1)She didn't know what she was headed for-And when I found what she was headed for-It was too late...
2)The lock upon my garden gate's a snail, that's what it is.
3)I've paid my dues-Time after time-I've done my sentence-But committed no crime..
4)And there's nothing short a' dying -That's half as lonesome as the sound- Of the sleeping city sidewalk....
5)Give me time- to realize my crime-Let me love and steal-I have danced inside your eyes-How can I be real....
6)Company........., always on the run-Destiny........, oooh, and the rising sun..
7)So I was the one with all the glory, while you were the one with all the strain.
8)I don't want to leave her now,You know I believe, and how.
9)Hands-touchin' hands-reachin' out-touchin' me-touchin' you...
10)Three thirty in the morning -Not a soul in sight- The city's lookin' like a ghost town- On a moonless summer night..
11) You always won- every time you placed a bet-You're still damn good, no one's gotten to you yet..
12)I was a willow last night -in my dream-I bent down over a clear running stream
13)Don't it always seem to go-That you don't know what you’ve got-‘Til its gone
14)A dream that will need-All the love you can give, Every day of your life- For as long as you live.
15)Oh - thinkin' about all our younger years -There was only you and me -We were young and wild and free..
16)What happened to the world we knew? When we would dream and scheme
17) We had a dream, we'd go travelin' together, We'd spread a little lovin'- then
we'd keep movin' on.
18) You know I can be found, sitting home all alone, If you can't come around, at least please telephone.
19) Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream- I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been..
20)You used to be so amused-At Napoleon in rags- and the language that he used-Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse..
21)I remember to this day-The bright red Georgia clay-And how it stuck to the tires-After the summer rain
From Famous Poems:
1)But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay. Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning After a rain.
2)The purple petals, fallen in the pool, Made the black water with their beauty gay; Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool, And court the flower that cheapens his array.
3) Would you be calm and placid-If you were full of formic acid?
4)Calmly the wearied seamen rest -Beneath their own blue sea.
The ocean solitudes are blest, For there is purity.
Monday, September 10, 2007
The Birds Were hard To Come By
Surprisingly, I only saw 3 birds on the way up! American Crow, Mourning Dove, and a Wild Turkey. I did hear a few birds including: Black-capped Chickadee, Cedar Waxwings, Blue Jays, and American Robins. I did take note of the fact that there wasn't any sign of water up there. No brooks,no puddles, not even ant spit.
I could have hiked all the way over to West Peak, but I forgot to bring water with me. Besides, I didn't want to take a chance of running in to the Black Dog. There is a legend about a strange black dog that has been seen roaming the area by hikers. It supposedly makes no sound when it barks. I'm always curious as to how a legend originates. Are there any well-known legends where you live?
I decided to head back but did manage to see one more bird on my way out. It was a Red-breasted Nuthatch. It seems like I always see that one last bird on my way out from a hike.
Sunday, I decided to start the morning at Rocky Hill Meadows.there have been good numbers of Baird's Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, and American Golden Plovers spotted in this area. I really like to check these fields out after it has rained. Unfortunately, it has not rained for some time. These shorebirds are considered to be "good birds" to see at an inland location. I could tell from the comments in reports, that the area was starting to get mobbed by birders. For this reason, I decided that I would be the first one there and the first one out. I quickly came upon two American Golden Plovers. To be honest, I wasn't sure what they were at first. I forgot my field guide, and have seen only one Golden Plover which happened to be in breeding plumage at the time. I identified it later using the photo. . This one has quite a prominent eye stripe. It's amazing how different shorebirds can look in different stages of plumage. Several cars started showing up, so I decided to head out and explore other areas. I took a ride to an area that is owned by the State of Connecticut. There are a few fields and wooded areas surrounding some mental health facilities. I caught a glimpse of these turkeys as I was driving along. I then traveled to a field on the corner of Silver Mine Road and Farm Road.It was there, that I saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk, 5 Black Vultures, and a Brown Thrasher.
I pulled my truck over to get a photo of these Double-crested Cormorants that were in a dirty little city pond along route 17. Maybe it just looks dirtier than it is. I enjoyed seeing signs of life here.
I continued to look for potential birding spots along the way.- I checked out a few cemeteries in the area to see how much land and how many trees they had. It seems that every fall, someone finds interesting birds such as a Lark Sparrow at some cemetery in Connecticut. I'd like to find one on my own some time! I ended the day getting a close view of this Red-tailed Hawk. Almost made for a good picture if I could have just seen more of it's face. I never committed to birding at one spot this weekend. I felt as though I was digging for change underneath couch cushions. Next week, I'm picking one nice spot that has water. I'm going to do a few hours of birding in that one area.
What was your favorite bird sighting this weekend?
Saturday, September 8, 2007
The Two Connecticut Nuthatches
Connecticut has two nuthatches, the Red-breasted Nuthatch (top pic), and the White-breasted Nuthatch (bottom pic). Both have the unique ability of climbing the trunk of a tree -head down -(don't try this at home!).
Note the distinct black eye stripe and white supercilium on the Red-breasted Nuthatch. It has a song described as a series of clear, nasal rising calls repeated slowly eeen eeen eeen...(Sibley). Some say that they sound like they're blowing a little tin horn.The ones that I've come across, have had a consistently quiet but nasaly song. It is the smaller (and quicker!) of the two nuthatches.
The White-breasted Nuthatch has a white face and dark crown stripe. Its call is described as a nasal yenk or renk slightly descending-often trilled or rolling (Sibley). I've run in to small groups of this species while out in the woods. They can be mighty noisy with a lot of variation in their songs.They are pretty well-behaved at my feeders .
For more detail about the two species go to Cornell's All About Birds and click on: Red-breasted Nuthatch or White-breasted nuthatch.
I was happy to have the Red-breasted Nuthatch as a visitor this week. They are much less common than the White-breasted Nuthatch which are at my feeders all year. Both of them eat peanuts, and sunflower seeds.There have been reports of increasing numbers of the Red-breasted Nuthatches moving through the state over the last couple of weeks.
I can tell you that the Red-breasted Nuthatch has been very feisty. I caught it jabbing its bill in to the side of a House Sparrow at one of my feeders. I felt bad for the poor House Sparrow...NOT!!!
Outside of an occasional visit at my feeders, I some times find Red-breasted Nuthatches where there are stands of Pine.
How many species of Nuthatch do you have in your area? Which are the most common and least common?
Thursday, September 6, 2007
I Judged The Book By It's Cover
Monday, September 3, 2007
Does This Day Have To Come To An End?
I took a ride to nearby Miller Road in Middlefield. There are a few large houses in the area, but they managed not to wreck the surrounding land.Birding this area is a little different for me.You actually just walk along the road which is bordered by fields, swamp, streams and woods. I often end up talking to the neighbors walking by, who are proud that they've been able to help protect the remaining land.
The weather was so beautiful today, that I moved along at a snail's pace. The cool, crisp air was so refreshing. It didn't matter which birds I saw because they all looked incredible standing out in sharp contrast against the blue sky. I did see a male Scarlet Tanager in non-breeding plumage. It was a kind of greenish yellow color with black wings. For a moment, I thought that I had spotted something really unusual. There was also about six Palm Warblers feeding in a couple of trees.
I noticed the way Red-winged Blackbirds react when they are scared off by me. A few fly off followed by a few more, and then the whole crowd. Like a Cavalry abandoning a battlefield. Blue Jays, on the other hand, seem to have a specific strategy in mind.There was a group of about 8 Blue Jays in the area.They started making alarm calls when I entered their territory. They then took position in certain trees that surrounded my location. Keeping contact through vocalizations, they slowly worked their way closer to me until they reached their desired locations. I like Blue jays. They seem very clever to me.
I wished this morning could have lasted longer. I felt like dropping all of my responsibilities, and just savoring the entire day. I know that Fall is almost here. I know there will be more days like this one. I am thankful for that.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
It was nice way for birders to reconvene for the first time since spring. Who else can I talk about birds with? If you follow a sports team, it's easy enough to find someone to strike up a conversation with. It's hard to have a conversation about birding with anyone else but another birder. Who do you talk to about birds/birding?
The weather has been terrific this week. Clear, sunny , and in the 70's. I decided that my morning field trip wasn't enough. I went for an evening walk on the nearby riverfront trail in Portland. I wasn't trying very hard to find birds, but I did have my binoculars just in case. I did come across the first Brown Thrasher that I've seen here since spring.
As the sun began to set, I was watching the skies for any flyover birds.I was surprised by of two pointy-winged birds that flew directly over my head.I was thinking to myself-Is that some kind of Falcon? I noticed that the wings had a nice pattern with white patches on the underside of the wings.Then it came to me-it was a Common Nighthawk. The Nighthawk is not a hawk at all. It is a member of the Caprimulgidae family which includes Nightjars (Whip-poor-will etc). I'd never actually seen one through binoculars, but I remembered checking them out in the field guide.These were awesome birds to see in flight. I was really pleased that I had the opportunity to get such a nice view of them.
I didn't take a picture until after I had a good look at the birds through the binoculars.This distant photo was still helpful in confirming my identification afterwards. Can you see the pointed wings with the two white marks ?