This weekend I stopped by the new Cabela's store in East Hartford, Connecticut. I was checking out some of the hunters blinds wondering if I might be able to use them to aid in bird photography and I came across this one. It kind of reminds me of what avid hunters might use as a baby stroller. It is called the Ameristep Chair Blind. It looks pretty small but I was able to sit inside comfortably so I figured for $60 I would give it a try.
On Sunday, I went to Wangunk Meadows on the Glastonbury end hoping to get a look at some Blue-winged Teal which had been reported there the night before. This place is less than 5 miles from where I live. As I was entering the meadows, I had a nice view of a very noisy Pileated Woodpecker. I walked through the field a ways and then I saw an over sized mud puddle filled with Green-winged Teal. There were 50 or 60 of them in a little tiny mud hole. Now I can relate to the term "puddle ducks" I've heard some birders use. I set up my scope and started sorting through the ducks hoping to find a Blue-winged Teal. A male Northern Pintail caught my eye. That is one nifty looking duck and the name fits it well. I had one nice look at the pintail someone let their dog loose for a little run. Apparently, ducks don't care much for dogs.
I left this area but returned about an hour later. There was just a couple of green-winged teal in the puddle so I thought that I would try out the blind. It sets up very easy. You basically just open the chair and the blind falls into place. I set the blind up about 50 feet away from the puddle. Sitting inside was not a problem but the spot where I set it up was muddy. It was difficult to set the tripod and camera set up the way I wanted it. The next time I try this, I will definitely be more organized. Once I was inside, I could hear ducks flying by but I don't think they were all that fooled by the blind. Maybe it needed to be located near a tree or something to make it look a little bit more natural. One teal finally came in for a landing but I only took one blurry shot before it was off too. I will have to experiment more with this product before I decide whether or not it was worth it. It's definitely not going to be as easy as I thought.
After leaving the meadows, I went to Pine Brook Bog off of Terp Road in East Hampton I counted 75 Ring-necked Ducks but I believe the total was closer to 100. I found it to be quite an awesome sight. There was a few Wood ducks there as well.
Great Blue Herons are starting to show up around Portland too. I think this photo was from last year at the fairgrounds. I know of an area where there is a heron rookery with about 100 nests. I'll be looking forward to checking in on them soon.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
What have you been doing to take advantage of the extra daylight?