Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Searching High And Low To finish January

I finished the month of January searching high up in the Connecticut River valley for river ducks and birds of prey.
The Chester area of the Connecticut River was one of my stops along the way. This is Sherlock Holmes old castle home, or I should say  actor William Gillete's castle. He portrayed Sherlock Holmes on stage in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Sure enough, there were Bald Eagles around as well as some winter ducks. I finished off January with 65 species seen in Middlesex County. Not bad, but things will slow down considerably until spring migration.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Pileated Woodpeckers In My Backyard!

I live in a suburban neighborhood but I do have a nice patch of trees in the backyard. We've had a few nice surprise birds like bluebirds, owls, and now Pileated Woodpeckers. It would be nice if they nested here. This male was digging out a good-sized hole, so maybe. You can tell a male because they have a red moustache and the red feathers extend to the entire top of the head. The female has a grayish-black forecrown with no moustache.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Ring-necks and Otter At Preserve

Middlesex Land Trust has preserved about 50 different pieces of land in my area. One of them is the Highland Pond preserve in Middletown which has turned out to be a nice little honeyhole of a pond. It is a small pond that is surrounded by a small residential neighborhood but has yielded a lot of nice finds for me over the years. it is good for a nice variety of ducks in particular.
The last time I visited there it was a gloomy, raw day but it was still worth a visit. I saw Green-winged Teal and a few Ring-necked Ducks. There is a ring on the necks of these ducks but it is subtle and you don't always see the ring. If you look closely at the neck you can see how it has a slight change of color near the base of the neck. Something else caught my attention. At first, I couldn't make heads or tails of what I was seeing. I saw the head and thought that doesn't look like a beaver?Then I saw the tail and knew that definitely isn't a beaver tail! There were actually 2 river otters in the pond! They were rolling around flipping up their tails and having a grand old time. One even caught a fish but with the poor lighting I had a tough time getting clear pictures with my point and shoot. River Otters aren't that rare in Connecticut but you don't get to see them often. They travel up and down streams and rivers moving from one pond to another. They are tough, agile predators that eat all sorts of things including ducks,  beavers and raccoons!