Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Huge White Pelican Just Flew Over My House!

I was in my back yard cutting my grass this morning with one of those non-powered reel push mowers. At the same time, I was watching the sky knowing that this will be the last weekend that large numbers of broad-winged Hawks might move through the area.
Suddenly, I see this huge black and white bird with an an enormous wingspan (108") flying towards my direction.
 It was soaring like a giant bird bird of prey. What an awesome sight an American White Pelican is when in flight! It's also considered a rare sighting for Connecticut. Maybe I should start cutting my grass more often!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Some Warbler Done Somebody Wrong Song

 A few weeks ago I was walking along an undeveloped portion of the Airline Rail Trail. It is an elevated trail which is bordered on one side by forest and overlooks the Connecticut River from the other side. Over the last couple of years I've found a few interesting birds there including good numbers of Black Vultures and Hooded Warblers during Fall migration. This time around I saw some Hooded Warblers again and a large number of House and Carolina Wrens, about 8 of each in a short stretch.

I also encountered many Common Yellowthroats along the way. I thought that I was going to run into another one when I heard this warbler singing but the song wasn't right for a Yellowthroat. 

The possibility of Kentucky Warbler popped into my head because one had been seen a few miles west of this location a month before and I was told about another a few years back just about a mile north of this location. I didn't get a chance to see the Kentucky which was in town a month before because it was in a private area and the statute of approved viewing limitations had run out by the time I had the opportunity to see it. 

I had one good 2 second view of this bird and judging by the face pattern it looked like a Kentucky Warbler to me. However, this would have been my first live view of one so I needed better evidence than a 2 second look, half of which didn't count because I was a bit shellshocked. 

After 45 minutes of trying, I wasn't able to get another good view of this bird. It was singing repeatedly so I thought that a recording of its song would confirm my sighting for sure. Here is my desperate attempt at capturing the song and hoping to get it into the camera view at the same time.

As it turns out I was wrong. After sending the song to a few experts I received responses like: "It's reminiscent of a Kentucky but I can't be sure" and "I can't say it's not a Kentucky but then again I don't know what else it would be". It would have been a nice addition to my town year list but in the end I decided that I just better let this one go. This warbler sure sang me the wrong song! It reminded me of that  pop hit in the 70's by Bj Thomas titled "Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Quiet Nature Preserves Have Their Busy Days

We have a small nature preserve in town named The Helen Carlson Wildlife Sanctuary. I like to stop in for a quick look around whenever I'm in the area. During my last visit their was a Red-shouldered Hawk calling out keyeer keyeer keeyer from the top of a pine tree just as I was getting out of my car.
The preserve used to be a cranberry bog but since the beavers moved in the flora has changed quite a bit. I don't know what these flowers are but I did like the color.
  They built a nice platform a few years back. It makes for a comfortable place with a good vantage point form which to view birds. I look forward to seeing Hooded Mergansers in late winter and there are Wood Ducks here most of the year. In summer, you can expect to see  flycatchers, swallows, Great Blue Herons, and Green Herons.

The preserve happens to be located at the edge of Meshomasic State forest so I've had good luck finding migrating warblers in the surrounding woods during spring migration .
 A couple of weeks ago there was about 75 Tree Swallows here feeding on insects getting ready for their fall journey.
Here's a little clip of the Red-shouldered Hawk calling. The ringing in the background is the result of me leaving my keys in the ignition and leaving my car door open.

Being a nature preserve does not necessarily make a place 
a birding hotspot. The birding can be slow at the Helen Carlson Wildlife Sanctuary but every so often it seems to come alive just when I least expect it.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Black Swans Not Native But A First For Me

I saw a Black Swan this weekend which has been hanging around South Cove in Old Saybrook. They are native to Australia so this is probably an escaped bird. Still, it's the first time I've seen one.