I decided to combine a little exercise with my birding Saturday. I hiked up Mount Higby in Middletown. This area is part of a long volcanic ridge. I've never seen any bird reports come from Mount Higby. My hope was that I might see a few birds on the way up, and perhaps some migrating hawks on the way back(they like to use the updraft from these ridges). The hike and view were very nice, despite the extreme humidity. There was a strong breeze, so that helped cool things off a bit.
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?