Saturday, September 23, 2023
I was able to find a few new county birds including Ruddy Turnstone down in Westbrook. After Labor Day it's easier to get to more shoreline birding spots as rules seem to be a little less strict once the beachgoer season is over.
I haven't had a chance to look this one up in a book yet but if anyone knows their dragonflies and damselflies feel free to jump in with the answer!
When I was growing up I never saw bluebirds. Now they nest in my yard. One of life's small pleasures!
Thursday, September 7, 2023
There are some exceptions to this rule. If: 1) The bird has been hanging around for a couple of days 2) It's a species I've never seen before and 3) It's rare for this area 4) It's a bird that interests me. (I wouldn't burn up gas to see a sparrow that looks just like another sparrow except it has a tail feather that's a centimeter longer than his cousin).
It just so happened that someone told me that there was a Roseate Spoonbill hanging out in Milford Connecticut for several days. This a species that has only been reported in Connecticut a handful of times. I decided that this would be a bird worth chasing because it passed all 4 of my qualifiers. The Roseate Spoonbill has a pinkish color due to its diet and as you can see, has a spoon-shaped bill. What you don't see in the picture is that it makes a sweeping motion side to side when it has its bill underwater searching for food. This was one interesting bird that was worth the chase!
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
I chose to take a walk along some tracks towards a big marsh. The sign says that trains are active again on these old tracks but the overhead speed bumps would probably slow them down a little.
Some poor kid must have got his egret kite caught in the bushes.
There was a healthy population of Green herons in the area. This is one of four that I saw but most of them blended in too well with the surrounding for me to get a picture.
This looks like a young oriole to me. I don't have time to look it up so I'll just go with that unless someone corrects me.
Sunday, August 13, 2023
That was the little spark I needed to make me feel as though it was worth getting out instead of sticking around at the house doing yardwork.
When I think about it, I enjoy fish out of water type of movies. That is probably the reason seeing Great Egrets in a tree at the fairgrounds instead of the shore makes this particular sighting more appealing to me.
There's always something good to see at the fairgrounds when there is water left over from the rainstorms.
Monday, August 7, 2023
It needed a little color so I tried a perennial hibiscus. I decided to try to do this blog post from a backyard gazebo and was pleased to find out that I'm able to pick up my internet signal from here. Bluebirds are singing and I'm able to get a little hibiscus therapy while I'm typing away. It has come to my attention that you can also make tea from the dried flowers so that's an added bonus!An update on my pumpkin? Zucchini? patch. These have to be just plain old pumpkins. They must have just mislabeled the plant. I've never grown pumpkins before. Hopefully, they will turn orange at some point. I noticed some are dark green now while others are light green like this one. I'll be curious as to how they turn out in the end!
Monday, July 31, 2023
Anyway, I managed to pry myself away from air conditioning one morning to make my way down to the shore which at least had a breeze to cool things off. There's always things to see at the shore. I quickly came upon a coupe of young Osprey hanging out at the nest.
Anyway, summer is a time when I am selective about when and where I go birding. Two other things I have on my summer list is early morning birding by a cool brook and maybe joining in on a group sponsored bird trip which I haven't done in a long time.
Sunday, July 23, 2023
It had lots of flowers but not much production until it finally grew this one. I showed a picture to someone at a garden center because this did not look like a zucchini to me. It looked more like a pumpkin but they said it was indeed a zucchini.
Then the light bulb went off. I had dumped my old rotting pumpkins in the much pile last year. I read online that pumpkins and zucchini can hybridize. I believe what we have here might be the ghost of last year's pumpkin finding its way back through the zucchini patch?!
Sunday, July 16, 2023
There was a time when the only thing I liked about yardwork was finishing it but now I use it as an opportunity to appreciate my outdoor surroundings and observing birds and wildlife that are right in front of me. So many times in life we miss what's in front of us by looking ahead to the end result. Sometimes the process of getting there can be just as enjoyable if we choose to view it that way.
A few days later I saw this guy hiding between two leaf-filled bags. I wonder if it was the same one?
This heat spell has given me an excuse to keep my bird observations primarily to my own back yard for a couple of weeks. That's just another way that a birder suffering from a minor case of burnout can change things up a bit.
Friday, June 16, 2023
One is the Indigo bunting which I have a hard time getting pictures of for some reason. They don't actually show much color until the sun shines on them.
The other bird I often see at power lines this time of the year is a species that reminds me of a show I used to watch in the 70's. The name seems to have slipped my mind. Little House on the something?
Anyway, the Prairie Warbler is one of my favorite warblers for 3 reasons. 1) because they are kind enough to hang around at a height where you don't have to bend your neck up to the sky to find them. 2)They have a distinct ascending call that reminds me of the sound of water being poured into a tall glass. 3) The third reason is that they are nicely marked and colorful!
Monday, June 12, 2023
I did have a little look around though and besides a couple of phoebes I did find this young bluebird siting silently on a branch nearby. probably waiting for some food to come its way.
Saturday, June 10, 2023
While I was looking up into the treetops something was scolding me from down below like a little Chihuahua nipping at my feet. It was the ever curious Carolina Wren checking me out and probably trying to tell me to back off away from a nest.
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
The male Yellow Warblers stand out more and are very plentiful in some places during spring and summer. If the sun hits them right they are mostly yellow with a nice reddish-brown streaking on their chest and their beady little black eyes also stand out.
This is a Red-shouldered Hawk that likes to sit itself on the top of an 80 foot tree near my backyard and screech KEYEAR! KEYEAR! KEYEAR! They are noisy but are also interesting to observe as they move from tree to tree and sometimes take to the air circling higher and higher. I like to think they help keep the local rodent population under control too!
Thursday, May 25, 2023
I don't know the name of the pond so I just call it pea soup pond .I wouldn't drink the water or swim here (although there is an urban legend that Linda Blair used to swim here). I came here to find my first of year Green heron, which I did.
I also had a nice view of this female Red-winged Blackbird which is I think is kind of underappreciated. It looks nothing at all like the male and many mistake it for a large sparrow when they first see one. They aren't very colorful but they are nicely marked!
Sunday, May 21, 2023
I suppose I could look this fungus up in a book. I don't really need to know but it's nice to familiarize yourself with things in the woods. I'll just call it a rare roast beef tree mushroom for now.
Thursday, May 18, 2023
Sunday, April 23, 2023
Riding a bike can be a nice way to change up your birding pace. You can cover a lot of ground quickly and as soon as you see bird activity you can just stop and get off the bike for a while. I think birds are less spooked by a bicyclist than they are by a pedestrian too. You kind of sneak up on them silently and quickly.
I'm old school when it comes to biking. You're not going to convince me that riding in traffic is safer than riding on a sidewalk. Bicycle versus car-the bike loses every time. I don't mind slowing down to a walking pace where there are potential obstacles. If I see a pedestrian I am more than happy to hop off the bike and walk it until the pedestrian passes. Still, a path specifically designed for biking is better than a sidewalk.This time of year you can come across migrant birds even on a well-manicured city path. The House Wren has a bubbly song that it repeats constantly. Another noisy bird that is here throughout the year is the Northern Mockingbird. They're always busy singing multiple songs or staring you down as they go about conspicuously gathering food.
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
I'm starting to notice that some of the winter species of ducks have departed and there is more activity in the surrounding woods. The early warblers, like this Palm Warbler are slowly starting to trickle in. Soon the trees will be dripping with them.
The Palm Warblers often hop around trees and bushes that are near ground level making it easier to follow them around than some of the other warbler species.
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
There are many different types of ducks but the Northern Shoveler with its long shovel-like bill is one of the most sought after ones.
A variety of shorebirds are likely such as the Wilson's Snipe and birds like Killdeer and yellowlegs seen here (except for the one yellowlegs taking a bath in the background).
This is generally the last big local birding excitement that takes place until the warblers start arriving some time in April. Then it becomes an all you can bird buffet frenzy!