Warblers in Flight: A Photographic Collection

While active migration has always been my favorite bird behavior to observe, my interest in the phenomenon called “morning flight” of nocturnal migrants had been minimal due to the unfortunate reality that I lived well over an hour’s drive from the nearest known reliable observation site, Bluff Point State Park in Groton, CT. In autumn 2020, thanks to improved public access to Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, CT, I began to explore the northern tip of Willard’s Island as a morning flight viewpoint and was pleased to find that under the right conditions a reliable flight could be observed there. The volume of birds passing through is not large (a small fraction of what passes through Bluff Point), but the flight line is consistent and can be observed under good lighting conditions. Between autumns 2020-22 I visited the site 20 times in total and recorded 27 warbler species in morning flight. All but a few of these have been photographed, often poorly! I immediately found mysel

Iceland in April

April is an exciting time for the nature enthusiast to visit Iceland. While the weather can still be quite cold and snowy, winter's grip is loosening and signs of spring abound. Several minutes of daylight are gained each day, but there is still enough nighttime darkness to observe the aurora borealis through at least mid-month. It turns out that early spring is also an excellent time for whale watching, particularly if you are keen to find Orcas. Spring migrants are beginning to arrive, including flocks of European Golden Plovers and the first Atlantic Puffins of the year. Given all that, it made sense to consider a long weekend visit to Iceland in mid-April, especially since it is a direct 5-6 hour flight from the northeast USA. Known appropriately as an expensive destination to visit, costs can be considerably reduced by hiring a campervan. Being a super popular mode of transport + lodging in Iceland, there are plenty of companies to choose from. During this shoulder season, I r

May 16, 2023 Big Day - Last one for a while??

When this team of Connecticut birders first assembled back in May 2009, our lofty goal was to someday beat the long-standing state Big Day record of 186 species. That first year we tallied 177 ...a solid effort, but not quite in the ballpark. The following year we came oh-so-close with a total of 185 ...tantalizing! In 2011 we kept the improvements rolling and crushed the old record with 192 species . We have run dedicated Big Days nearly annually since in hopes of reaching the mythical number of 200, but we have done no better than 193 (2018). It's been quite a ride! Over the years we have improved our route and efficiency to the point where on a normal migration day we know we are likely to hit somewhere in the 188-192 range. Reaching 200 will take a hefty migration event and some luck (luck always plays a part, no matter how prepared you might be). Heading into this year, I felt like I soon needed a break from the all-out week-long effort we put into this annually. This might ha

"Naturally Adventurous" podcast interview

Hi folks, I was recently interviewed by Charley Hesse of the "Naturally Adventurous" podcast on which we discussed shenanigans from a hectic 2013 trip to the Dominican Republic. The show & episode can be found wherever you get your podcasts, such as Apple , Spotify , or right here!      Enjoy!  - Nick

Colombia - Western Andes (Cordillera Central & Tatama) - February 4-12, 2023

Colombia, the most bird diverse country on earth, is in the midst of a major ecotourism growth phase. This northern South American country was on my short list of new places to visit, so I was thrilled to join four friends for a full week birding Colombia's western Andes. A full TRIP REPORT by organizer Julian Hough has all the details you'd need to put together one of your own. Here I'll keep it simple and share a few images from our time there! Per usual, click an image for full resolution. As a group we tallied 324 species including 42 hummingbirds and 8 antpittas (6 seen, though only one was seen without a feeding station). Ten out of 10 would recommend :) Collared Inca Buff-tailed Coronet Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer Collared Inca Greenish Puffleg Velvet-purple Coronet Velvet-purple Coronet Velvet-purple Coronet Velvet-purple Coronet Violet-tailed Sylph Gold-ringed Tanager Gold-ringed Tanager Ornate Hawk-Eagle Chestnut-crowned Antpitta looking down on Manizales Buff