Friday, December 27, 2019

Birders Could Learn A Few Things From Golfers

I had a close encounter with a Great Blue Heron at a local golf course. 

It was standing near a tiny pondlet that had a bit of trickling water coming out of a drain pipe.
Golfers seem to pick prime locations to make their golf courses. They have golf carts to drive them around and restaurant/bars on site when they feel like taking break.
If they have a hard to reach spot they build a bridge to it and have caddies to carry around their golf bags if so desired. I wouldn't mind having someone to cart around my spotting scope!

Maybe birders should think more like golfers. It would be nice if birding areas could be enhanced with some comfort features.

 How about bird blinds that are set up in very birdy areas at an angle that has perfect lighting for taking photos? Maybe a silent solar-powered tramway that would slowly move you along the edge habitat elevated to a level for ideal viewing? 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Deer Have Been Our Neighbors This Year

We don't live in a heavily wooded area but there seems to be enough to satisfy deer and turkey. It's nice to see them wander through now and then.

Monday, December 16, 2019

The Christmas Counts Are Here Again

I was out and about for our local annual Christmas Bird Count This weekend. We don't have a very birdy territory but were able to reach 40 species which is a new high for our section of the bird count which included a couple of Winter Wrens and both Ruby-crowned and Golden Crowned Kinglets. We had a great look at this Northern Mockingbird.
 We saw several Bald Eagles during the day. They have gone from nearly extinct to very common in our state which is a great thing to see.
  We had a couple of new guys to help us with our territory. It makes it more interesting when someone new joins the count and also puts more eyes on the birds which helps out a lot. This scene was at our last stop as the sun was going down.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

What About The New Sparrow On The Block?

 I searched the edge area along a stream at Frederick White Farm in Durham last weekend.
There was a few sparrows around including the newly arriving tree sparrows which seem to sort of take the place of the Chipping Sparrows.

I wonder if the other sparrows that have been here all year notice when a different species shows up? Do they interact differently to the new arrival than they do to their own?

Too often I get in the routine of identifying a bird and then moving on. I'm going to try to observe the interaction between different species a little more than I have in the past. 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

No Creeper But I've Never Been Skunked

 I went to an area that I've always been able to find a Brown Creeper.They love viney half-dead trees like this. I have not seen a creeper all year which is unusual for me.
 I was able to get a nice view of American Goldfinches in their winter plumage.
There were also a number of Red-winged Blackbirds around.

One thing I love about birding is that I've never gone out birding without seeing a bird. It may not be the one I'm looking for but I always see something. When I used to go fishing there was many times when I caught nothing.We used to call it getting skunked. I've never been skunked birding.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Cardinal Used To Be King

Back when I was a kid Cardinals used to be the king of the birds. When you saw a male cardinal that was the tops. Now like anything else we've grown accustomed to them and they don't get the respect they once did.

 It reminds me of how people are with their phones, always looking for the latest upgrade. I guess it's human nature that we're always looking for something newer or better. I still think the Cardinal deserves some appreciation though.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Even A Dirty Old Factory Pond Has Ducks

 This is the old Wilcox factory building which has been restored for use as offices I think. Back in the 60's and 70's they made ship anchors I believe and there was a giant hammer that came down in the factory that could be heard for miles away.I'm sure it must have been rough on the workers ears.
 There's a muddy old pond right in town near the old factory sight. Even though it doesn't look all that impressive, I still see some interesting birds here.
Just today some hooded Mergansers flew in (old photo). Those old factory ponds may not be the most scenic but the birds don't care about pretty as long as the pond meets there needs.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The perfect Place For A Thanksgiving Day Walk

 We have an area in town that seems like the perfect place to take a walk after a big Thanksgiving meal. It has a historic feel to it. As you can read in the sign below this wide path used to be a carriageway entrance to the Wadsworth Mansion.

 The brownstone walls that border it are now covered with moss.
There are many signs like this one around the grounds and I can say by reading them that Colonel Wadsworth had a clear vision of what he wanted.
 Here is the old mansion itself. They hold wedding ceremonies there and summer concerts on the lawn.

Not much luck finding birds today but it was a nice place to get a little fresh air.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Fall Brings Back Memories Of Fall

 Every year when Fall arrives it feels like I am opening up a treasured gift. Suddenly there is I am thankful to once again experience the smell of burning wood, crisp, clean air and beautiful foliage wherever you go. Like a special song, it brings back memories of fall days from the distant past.
 Around this time new sparrows like the White-throated Sparrow start showing up in large numbers.
I was reminded recently that leaves don't change color from green to the brilliant colors we see in fall. It's just that the chlorophyll start to dissipate this time of the year exposing the true colors underneath.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

On The Fence

East Haddam is a town in Connecticut that seems to be a perfect match for fall weather. I stopped by the Salmon River boat launch to take in a view of the Connecticut River.
I drove along a country road on my way towards Devil's Hopyard.
I saw a park sign on the side of the road that I never noticed before. The name of the park was Captain G. Comer Memorial Park. I googled Captain Comer and found out that he was a famous whaling captain that grew up in East Haddam. Anyway, this park turned out to be a nice spot for sparrows and other birds. 
It had a wire fence bordering a garden where the birds liked to perch in between feasting on seeds from various plants and flowers in the garden. This is a Lincoln's Sparrow which is always a nice find.
There were also a number of Savannah Sparrows there.

There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in Connecticut even though it's a small state. I love coming across new parks and hiking trails by accident. This one had the extra bonus of having a fence that attracted birds like magnets. It's definitely worth a trip back there.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Heading East To Catch The Train And Foliage

 The Fall Foliage is still a week away from my area so I drove 30 minutes east to the Raymond Marsh portion of the Airline Trail  which was built in the 1870's and once used to transport passengers from Boston to New York.
 I was using my imagination to visualize the old train coming and this painting magically materialized on the side of a building!
I was hoping to get a glimpse of some scenic foliage but kept my eyes open for birds like this Downy Woodpecker as well.
 The rail trail runs across the Raymond Marsh where I had a view of some ducks, Red-shouldered Hawks flying over....
 ....and not surprisingly, a Great Blue Heron.
I was curious if there was any fish in this type of marsh and the heron soon answered my question, although it didn't inspire me to get my fishing rod.
Peak color has not yet arrived in this area either but I did manage to get a peek.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Just Stop Where You See Birds

 I had a couple of hours of free time to go birding this morning but could not decide where to go. Should I go to the shore? -not enough time. In the fields?-Mosquito triple e report. As I was trying to decide I just stopped at some power line cuts after seeing several birds crossing back and forth across the street.
 There are still some Monarchs migrating which was nice to see.
The birds I was seeing were mostly sparrows, finches and bluebirds. I didn't catch many with the camera. A fuzzy Field Sparrow was all I could manage but at least I can make out the eye ring.

Sometimes I have my best luck when I just pick the first place I see birds and just go with it.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Taking Inventory On The New-Yard Birds

 As of this year I am watching birds from a new backyard. Of course I am curious as to what types of bird species are in my new neighborhood. So far my most vocal neighbors are a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks which make their presence known with their loud keyeeer keyeeer calls. No need for an alarm clock in the morning because they are up before dawn.
Also, I must remember to hydrate when I'm cutting the grass or the local Black Vultures might come to investigate if I were to pass out.

There are lots of mature trees in the yard so hopefully it will be nice foliage when the time comes. I also noticed some Pileated Woodpeckers in the neighborhood so hopefully they will visit the suet feeder.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Don't Underestimate The Wise Old Owl

I recently bought a new laptop at a chain store. They wanted me to pay for all sorts of programs and services that would have doubled the price of the laptop. I did not want to give the satisfaction of soaking me for the extra money but was disappointed at how slowly it ran when I got home.

I like to have breakfast at the local diner at 6am on weekends and chat with the old timers who always show up as the restaurant opens. One guy gave me a tip about a computer repair guy that he said was very reasonable. It was in a sketchy part of town and the computer repair guy was about 80 years old. I decided to give it a shot despite my skepticism. It turned out to be a great move as he got my computer running great for 30 bucks along with instructions on how to keep it running fast.

 I always thought of the younger generation as being the computer experts but on the other hand I have more trust in the older generation. It made me think about how we tend to prejudge situations whether we realize it or not.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

I'll Miss These 2 Birds In The Winter

 This a place they call Del Reeves Marsh which is located out in the Meshomasic State Forest. It's a beautiful place to visit but is a little rough on my Corolla getting out there on those forest roads. They've spotted some interesting birds here including kites and recently an Olive-side Flycatcher.
 I didn't get any photos of rare birds like that today but I did come across one of the hundreds of catbirds I've seen over the summer. I'm taking them for granted right now but I thought I'd take at least one more good look at one because I know I'll be missing their inquisitive nature and smorgasbord of calls when winter arrives.
There are herons by the dozens now but they too will be scarce during the winter months. It's funny how the mind works. As despised as House Sparrows are around here, we would be searching high and low for them if they ever became extinct.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Birding In Forgotten Places

  I walked along some old places like unused railroad tracks and abandoned bridges to nowhere.
 There were some birds around like this flicker in a tree.
 I watched this hawk chase a Belted Kingfisher 3 times. Each time the Kingfisher skimmed the river and left water in its face.
Then there was a Chipping Sparrow just sitting on an old patch of tar. Visiting places I used to walk as a kid in the 70's seemed like the perfect way to get in some end of summer birding.