My next and final stop of the day was at Glastonbury Meadows. I finally came on a day when their was no hunting activity going on. I spent less than an hour here, but I was pleased with some of the birds that I found. After walking through the wooded trail, I entered the fields. A mature Bald Eagle took off in flight not more than 30 feet from me. You don't really appreciate the awesome size of these birds until you are really close to them. I once had a view of two Bald Eagles when I was standing 10 feet above them. I looked down over a cliff and watched as they spread their wings and took off in flight. I was shocked. They looked enormous from that angle!
As I walked along the edge of the fields, I was repeatedly hearing the song of one particular species. I wasn't familiar with this particular song but soon discovered it was coming from White-crowned Sparrows. During most years, I only see a few White-crowned Sparrows in Connecticut. On this day, I saw ten, but by the number of birds I heard singing there must have been many more in the area. Moving further along, I heard the sound of a woodpecker making the sound of squeaky toy. It was an immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (although I'm sure it was acting its age). A flock of American Crows passed overhead. Interestingly, it seems that a Fish Crow was leading the flock. You can best identify the fish crow by the unique nasally call that they make, which is much different than the American Crow. I wondered if the Fish Crow had to stay at the front in order to have permission to travel with the flock of American Crows? I heard the chip notes of a sparrow coming from some birds that were well hidden amongst a patch of weeds. They kept flying from one spot to another but were hard to see. I was finally able to identify them as Savannah Sparrows. There were Red-tailed Hawks and Northern Harriers patrol the fields. There was also an interesting flock of about 100 Rock Pigeons(some odd variations). If I had the time, I would have checked them out more carefully.
The last species of the day that I identified before leaving was a flock of about 50 American Pipits. They seem to stay close to the ground flying just a short distance away as you move closer to them. I was able to see a bit of the white outer tail feathers when they took flight. I only saw my first American Pipit two years ago. It took me quite a while to make a positive identification of the first one I saw. Since seeing that first one, I seem to have a much easier time locating them. It seems that way with a lot of birds that I have seen for the first time. Once you see the first one, it is usually easier to find more. Has it been your experience that it is much easier to find more of a particular species after you have seen the first one?