Friday, October 27, 2023

Mockingbird, Starling & Merlin App

I'm always looking for new places around town to check out. You just never know if a spot is going to be any good for birding unless you try it. There was quite a bit of sparrow habitat in the land near these solar panels, so I gave it a try. if you look closely, there is a bird set on top of the solar panel. 
A lot of birders dislike European Starling because they're not native. I actually think they are visually appealing when the sun is shining on them. They can imitate certain birds and make a whole slew of sounds that are interesting and hard to figure out. Some have been known to imitate the human voice as well.
The Northern Mockingbird has to be when it comes to imitating other birds though. When they are on a roll, they can imitate multitudes of birds in rapid-fire fashion! Although starlings and mockingbirds are in different families of bird species, they both imitate birds. 

A lot of people have been using the Merlin identification app. It picks up sounds of birds and shows you what birds are around. It works pretty well, if you stand still quietly but sometimes it displays a rare bird that you have to wonder about. I believe it can make mistakes, so it shouldn't be used as the sole source of bird identification. It can be a nice tool, however, in helping to let you know what potential species might be in the area. 

When I was out on this particular day, the Merlin App showed that there was a Gray-cheeked Thrush nearby which would be a rare bird sighting in this area. Unlikely, but it's always worth looking. Anyway, I didn't find one. 

This led me to a question. Did the mockingbird or starling imitate the Gray-cheeked Thrush and set off the merlin Alert? I guess I'll never know but it is an interesting possibility.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Putting The Chore List Before The Birding List

There are a lot of house chores I put off in the spring so I could enjoy chasing warblers but when fall arrives you start to realize you are running out of time. I needed to paint these wood rails that border a flat roof but it requires the right conditions. It seems like it was raining every other day and I couldn't make up my mind if I should use a ladder or take a chance that the roof would hold my weight. I finally deduced that if it can hold snow then it can hold me. I finally finished that project along with a couple of others on my list so I can get back to some birding again.
Besides the rain, morning fog has been another challenge in the mornings. It was so foggy that it was blurring the lenses on my camera and binoculars.
There won't be many catbirds around for much longer so it was nice to get an eye to eye look at this one.
There have been a good number of Palm Warblers bouncing around the bushes and on the ground.

Sometimes you have to put your chore list before you work on your birding list. If you're like me, you can enjoy your time in nature more if you don't have visions of unfinished work haunting you!

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Searching For Foliage, Ducks, And Sparrows

I went for a morning walk at Highland Pond in Middletown. The foliage season has been lagging this year, probably due to the excessive amount of rain we've had this season. I was able to enjoy a glimpse of fall color as I walked around the pond.
Sparrow migration seems to be running behind schedule too this year for whatever reason. There's been a few new ducks showing up in the area although that usually doesn't get going until November. Wood Ducks can be found in Connecticut most of the year if you know where to look. They may be common but they're not common looking!
There was a dozen or so making their way around the pond. The pictures were zoomed in from quite a distance.

So, not many sparrows seen other than a few White-throated but a little foliage and some handsome Wood Ducks. As Meatloaf used to say- "2 out of 3 ain't bad"!