Saturday, November 30, 2013

Starlings Having A Wild Puddle Party

 I came across this wild scene of dozens of starlings bathing in puddle near Dock and Dine in Old Saybrook.
 There were a few cowbirds around but they didn't want any part of that out of control pool party.
Below is a video clip of the starlings in action.
                                                                                          click to play

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blogging Helps Give Birding A Purpose

The routine of find the birds-identify the birds-and check the birds off on a list can become a little bit monotonous for me. One of the benefits of having a birding blog is that it forces me to come up with some sort of theme when I'm out birding. I want to be able to post about something other than just the birds I've seen. If I'm lucky enough to capture a good bird photo then I don't need to say much but since 99% of my photos end up in the trash bin I have to fill a blog post with something.

On this particular morning my idea was to look for birds within walking distance of where I live. The top photo was taken at Portland Riverfront Park. It used to be pretty good birding here but it is quite a bit more developed than it used to be.
There's a large, private field along the trail. It has a big Sycamore tree in the center. It looked like a nice day to be a sheep.
The Mute Swans get along well with the Canada geese on this stretch of the river. It looks like one of the swans has a little river spinach on its tooth.
In a nearby field I spotted pheasant under grass. It's funny to watch these birds run across the field. I'd be running too if hunters had their shotguns pointed at me.

If it weren't for blogging I wouldn't bother taking bird photos and my field trips would probably be less imaginative. I guess you could say that blogging helps give me a sense of purpose when I go birding. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Checking Out Some CT Lucky Duck Ponds

This the time of the year that a lot of waterfowl start moving into the area. There is a route that I like to take that goes from the town of Durham to Wallingford and ends in Meriden. There are ponds in each of these 3 towns that are productive for ducks and other waterfowl. I could probably leave my house and complete the whole circuit in an hour if I was in a hurry. The first stop was at a small farm pond on route 68 in Durham. Besides the Canada Geese I found a few Ruddy Ducks and a Scaup (lesser I think) here.
 Just up the road from Durham is an area of Wallingford that has lots of farm fields, ponds and reservoirs. I found a Northern Harrier hawk patrolling the fields but I was a little too slow to catch it in action. It's a beautiful area though.Several of the less common geese show up in this part of the state as well.
Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and starlings gathered in large numbers in fields along the way.
This was the quiet half of Mackenzie Reservoir in Wallingford. I did get to see my first Hooded Mergansers of the year on this side at scope distance.
I got a much better view of Ruddy Ducks on the other end of the reservoir. 
After leaving Wallingford I continued onto Bishop's Pond on Research Parkway in Meriden. I don't know what makes this pond so special. It is sandwiched between a highway and an industrial area. It's definitely not a place that I would want to have a picnic but for some reason, ducks love it. I found lots of American Wigeon, a few Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, and a Bufflehead here. 
Just as I was getting ready to leave I found some Northern Shovelers emerged from some corner of the pond. I used to have to work hard to find a variety of ducks in Connecticut until I found out where some of the lucky duck ponds are.