Sunday, June 13, 2021
This male bobolink is also a blackbird and it is also a black bird but as you can see the back of his head is not black at all. Baltimore Orioles are also backbirds but they are very colorful with the males showing a lot of bright orange.
Saturday, June 5, 2021
I've heard a couple of stories about snapping turtles, both from my father. He told me as a kid he found a snapping turtle. When he tried to pick it up, the turtle bit his finger and wouldn't let go. I'm not going to go into the rest of the details of the story but it didn't end well. When he was older he was fishing in a pond and stepped on what he thought was a big rock, and then the rock started moving. It was a very large snapping turtle.They say snapping turtles can live to be 100 years old and can grow to be very large. One from the wild weighed in at 75 pounds!
Sunday, May 23, 2021
I use eBird all the time to find out what species I haven't seen for the year, to see what others have been seeing in my area, and to keep track of my county list (and where I rank).
The thing about eBird is you have all sorts of people entering data. Some just randomly enter a sighting because they feel like it and include very little accompanying information. Others try to get an exact count of every single bird they see and include all sorts of details about each species they see. I imagine these are the same sort of people that take a notebook to the gym to keep a record of each exercise they perform and the number of sets and repetitions. That's something I never found the ambition for.
I enter for most places I go but if I don't see anything new at a popular location that I was recently at, I might skip the list altogether. I do like to enter a sightings list for new places that no one seems to visit. To me, that is the most interesting data and I also like to read others entries of new places.
So I'm not exactly the perfect eBirder but there is interesting and helpful information that you can obtain using eBird so I will continue to enter data as often as I feel comfortable with. Maybe when I'm retired I'll try to be a little more thorough.
Monday, May 17, 2021
Besides the colorful, bird there is another thing that appeals to birders in the spring. Some of these warblers present a challenge to find. The Cerulean Warbler seen here is an endangered species in Connecticut and not easy to find. it seems to me that their numbers have increased a little recently.
Friday, May 7, 2021
Birds, on the other hand, don't care about all that. I've seen many cool birds near the dingy little pond.
Birds don't judge their habitat by how pretty it looks so neither should we. We can let the birds themselves provide the beauty!
Sunday, April 25, 2021
I traveled down the road a bit to check the tangled woods across from the Helen Carlson Bog. One more species for the year here-Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. They were too tiny and too high to capture a photo.
Down on the ground was the year-round resident that is a common visitor to many back yards, the White-breasted Nuthatch. I don't usually put much effort into taking a picture of one of these guys but this one seemed to beg for attention so here he is!
Sunday, April 18, 2021
The level of enjoyment when it comes to birdwatching can be affected by many factors. Rarity of the bird, lighting, and weather conditions in which you are doing you're viewing are a few examples.
Another factor is the setting in which you encounter a particular bird. I see Great Egrets frequently when I visit the shoreline in warmer months.I don't, however, see them often at our local fairgrounds which is a long way inland from the shore!Also commonly seen at the shore are Osprey nesting on one of the numerous man-made platforms. It's nice to see but so commonplace these days that I can't say it makes me slam on the brakes to get a look.When I saw this Osprey perched on a branch overlooking the Connecticut River, I immediately pulled off the road to get a closer look.
Another example is the conditions under which I viewed these deer. I always enjoy seeing a deer but hiking through the woods in foggy conditions and encountering deer during a nature walk adds to the ambience.
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Saturday, April 3, 2021
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Those little dark spots are actually nests with Great Blue Herons on them. Sometimes it's amazing what a $300 dollar camera can do. The picture quality can't compete with an slr but the zoom capability is really amazing! I've had my Canon sx50 for a few years. It allows up to 50x but there is one that I saw that goes up to 125x!
If you compare the nests in the top picture to this one it gives you an idea of how much magnification we're talking about. The high magnification comes at a cost though. The more you zoom in the more the image degrades. On a nice sunny day it can do okay though and it sure helps people like me who hate fiddling around with camera settings.
Sunday, March 21, 2021
I've seen many unusual birds over the years but seeing a seal in this far up the river so far from salt water was one of the strangest sightings I've had. I hope that it is healthy.
On the same day I heard a strange bird call coming from the opposite end of the field. They were large and not Great Blue Herons. I started scanning though my mind the possibilities as I took a picture of them taking off. I compared the sounds I hear to the Sandhill Crane and sure enough that's what they were! My first sighting of them right in Portland! They are still considered a rare sighting but have been showing up in Connecticut on occasion over the last few years. I'm glad I took the picture for verification even though it doesn't show too much detail.
Sunday, March 14, 2021
We had a touch of Spring this week with temperatures reaching the upper 50's! I visited some small ponds like this one buried out in the middle of the woods somewhere in East Haddam. There wasn't much in the way of ducks there but I did find a Red-headed Woodpecker which had been previously reported.Ring-necked Ducks have been at many of the local ponds this week some times in numbers over 100. It's really hard to notice the ring. It's that dark area where the neck meets the body.
The Hooded Mergansers are pairing up. Most of us are used to seeing them around Connecticut in the winter but they become very secretive and hidden in the woods while nesting in warmer weather. They, like the Wood Ducks nest in cavities of trees.I remember the first time I saw a male Wood Duck I was shocked! I'd only seem the green-headed mallard previously and the wood duck by comparison was exotic looking to me!
It was only a few days that we got our first taste of Spring then it was back to to the 30 degree range again this morning, but soon Spring will be here for good!
Saturday, March 13, 2021
Wilson's Snipe have also started to arrive. They prefer to hide in the tall grass near the muddy edge of ponds. Snipe are also a shorebird. The word sniper originated from hunters in Britain who had to be a good shot to pick these birds out in the field because they blend in so well with their surroundings.
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Monday, February 22, 2021
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Sunday, February 14, 2021
I'll just have a cup of coffee and watch birds out my window. Next week may be a different story but for now I'm no better than the groundhog.
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Unfortunately, back in the Audubon days they had to shoot the bird if they wanted a close-up look at them. Otherwise, they probably would have came up with a different name. See that little splash of blush color on the underside? Apparently, that is supposed to be the red belly!