Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Windsor "Kumlien's" Iceland Gulls

It's that time of year again! I made my first landfill visit of the season yesterday, and despite low numbers overall (~250 large gulls present at any given time) there was a nice flurry of at least 4 first-winter Iceland Gulls. One darkish bird, one very white bird (not around long enough to photograph), and at least two in between.

#1, the darkest

#1

#2

#2

#3

#3

There appears to be an above-average number of first-cycle Iceland Gulls around so far this year, so perhaps this will bode well for a fun gull season.

 - NB

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fox Sparrows

Yesterday morning I escaped from work for a bit to check out Crook Horn Road in Southbury, CT. Back in the day, before the expansion of athletic fields, this location was one of the best places in the state to find sparrows during autumn. That's going way back, before my birding time, so I was never able to experience that. However the place can still be somewhat productive around the edges of those playing fields.

I was only able to spend about 30 minutes before being called back into work, but in that time turned up a few FOX SPARROWS in the thickets among the many White-throats.

"Red" Fox Sparrow

Maybe I'll be able to get back there before the season is completely over.

 - NB

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Willets

This is a long-overdue post (I have a LOT of catching-up to do...maybe a winter project).

Back on August 17th I was birding Griswold Point in Old Lyme, CT and was lucky enough to have a juvenile "Eastern" Willet associating with a juvenile "Western" Willet - a side-by-side that isn't often seen so well in Connecticut.

On Western (at rear), note paler upperpart coloration, less contrast between scapulars and wing coverts (less-heavily marked upperparts overall), and subtly more elongated rear-end.

On Western (left), note larger size and longer, thinner bill.

"Western" Willet is a lankier bird overall, while "Eastern" is more compact.

another bill and size comparison



Later on the "Western" Willet broke off to feed a bit closer to where I was standing:

juv "Western" Willet

juv "Western" Willet (Semipalmated Plovers in foreground)
 - NB

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD - first CT record

On Sunday, Nov 3rd, friend Frank Mantlik emailed a set of photos to a few folks for ID help. The bird in question was a late Archilochus hummingbird visiting a private residence in Fairfield, CT.

Upon viewing the photos I almost fell off my couch. A quick email reply was followed by texts and calls to Frank and others to tell them that I felt this was probably a Black-chinned Hummingbird pending further study, a species not yet (until now) recorded in Connecticut. They all had the same feeling, and before we knew it, we were headed straight to Fairfield.

By the time we arrived we were all expecting to see a BCHU, especially since the bird in question was still there per the extremely gracious homeowner. We were all happy and relieved when the bird flew in, confirming its identity as we studied it while it fed and perched in front of us.

Awesome bird, awesome weather, awesome people, and some fine celebratory drinks afterwards! A very good day - one I was needing after going most of the fall season without being in the field much at all.


nice look at outer primary shape including p10



note that one metallic purplish feather near the low border of the gorget

 - Nick

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Break time almost over?

It's been a long time since I've posted anything and that's mainly because I haven't been out. Taking some time off from the blog thing too, obviously, but soon enough I'll get back into it. Hoping to get out tomorrow, at least for some hawkwatching at Lighthouse. Thanks for reading and being patient.

 - NB