Friday, March 31, 2017

Hometown Coming And Going Birds

 This is the time of year that I headed out to search for birds hidden away in the flooded fields at Wangunk Meadows.
 Over the last couple of weeks I've noticed Wilson's Snipe have been arriving in good numbers.
There are also a variety of ducks passing though like the Green-winged Teal.
The Common Mergansers seem to be moving out of our area. The last pair I saw were swimming in the rain-what a glorious feeling they're happy again! I know I can some up in the northwestern corner of Connecticut if I want to visit them in the summer.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mud Hen Pool Party

 I stopped by south cove in Old Saybrook last weekend. There were plenty of ducks to be seen there including my first Northern Pintail of the year.
 This place is always loaded with Mute Swans. Many times I have counted over 100 hear, not that anyone's counting.
There was also a good number of American Coots. They are not more closely related to Sandhill Cranes and rails than they are to ducks. Some people call them mud hens. There are a lot of interesting details about coots that you can read about on the excellent All About Birds website from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 
click to play
I captured a video of them swimming around diving for food just below the causeway bridge.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

What's Worse Than Forgetting My Camera?

 Sometimes when I get up  early to go birding on the weekend I forget some of my birding gear because I'm in too much of a hurry. If I forget my scope it's no big deal. I can still get by with the use of my camera and binoculars. Forgetting my binoculars is more of a disappointment but then I usually concentrate my efforts on getting better photos. 

The one thing that bothers me most is when I forget my camera. I  don't like being without it because I know that will be the morning when a great photo opportunity will present itself. 

So what could be worse than forgetting my canon 50x superzoom camera? The top photo is of a kodak Duaflex II camera which was recently discovered packed away in an old box down in the basement. I wouldn't even bother taking photos of birds if I had to use that old camera. I don't know what a "kodet' lens is but I doubt  it would take close-up pictures of birds and I wouldn't want to bother developing the film.
I forgot my camera this weekend but decided it was worth the ride to back for it. Even an average photo (Red-breasted Merganser) from the Canon would top my best efforts using a kodak Duaflex. I'm sure that it would come in handy if I was living in the 1950's but for for now I think I'll just put it on the shelf as a reminder of how much cameras have advanced in technology since then.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Thankfully Pileated Woodpeckers Aren't Extinct

I remember a few years ago there were reports of a possible sighting of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker which was thought to have been extinct. It must be quite a sight to see a 20" long woodpecker with a 30" wingspan.
We don't have any Woodpeckers quite that large in Connecticut but we do have the Pileated Woodpecker which is about 16" long with a 26" wingspan. One nice thing about Pileated Woodpeckers is that they are definitely not extinct (listed as least concern). They are in fact plentiful, although you do have to be at the right place and right time to get a good look at one. I always take time out to watch them when I come across them because you never know if they might become more scarce in the future. Let's hope not!
Here's a 30 second video