Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Herons On The Nests And Superzoom cameras.

It's become kind of a local tradition for those who know where to find the heron rookery (aka heronry) to check on the status of the number of herons on the nests. It's about a half a mile walk down the hill to the flood zone of the Wangunk Meadows. If you look carefully you might be able to make out the little dark spots in the tops of those trees.
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 Had Some Rare Sightings Along River

My favorite inland spot over the years has been the Wangunk Meadows which has a variety of habitat including open fields, marsh, woodlands and is bordered on one side by the Connecticut River.
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

A Touch Of Spring And Ducks

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

The Killdeer Are Here!

Killdeer are considered a shorebird but we often see them inland in grassy fields. they are very conspicuous making lots of noise. They also make believe like they have a broken wing to lead potential predators away from their nests.
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.