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Showing posts from 2008

Dec 27 - Greater and Lesser Snow Geese?

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A small flock of 6 Snow Geese were present at Seaside Pk on the 27th while I was doing a bit of scouting for the Stratford-Milford CBC. The group consisted of two adults (one blue, one white) and four immatures (all white). The blue goose was clearly the smallest of the bunch. Reportedly "Blue" Geese are much more common among Lesser Snows than Greaters. I think this blue goose is likely a Lesser Snow Goose, but I haven't really done much research yet on separating the two forms. It also crossed my mind that this could be a family group, given that two adults and four young birds are present. Any comments would be welcome. - Nick

Dec 28 - Stratford-Milford CBC, etc

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I covered the Bridgeport shoreline on Sunday's Stratford-Milford CBC, with the main territory being Seaside Park. I always enjoy birding Seaside because of its potential for gulls, waterfowl, and lingering passerines on the back side of the capped landfill. My highlights for the day included a Northern Gannet, continuing Eurasian Wigeon, Lapland Longspur, Bonaparte's Gull, a Gray Catbird (very scarce this winter) and finally my first Fox Sparrow of 2008! Bonaparte's Gull Fox Sparrow - NB

first-winter THAYER'S GULL @ Windsor Landfill

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Julian Hough, James P. Smith and I spent a few hours this afternoon at the Windsor-Bloomfield Landfill. It turned out to be another successful trip. At noon I picked out this bird as a candidate for a first-winter Thayer's, and Julian and I worked on it for a little while before losing sight of it. James arrived and we refound the bird around 2pm and continued to watch it until sometime around 3:15, when Julian and I left. James planned on staying a little while longer. The identification of Thayer's Gull in the east is a controversial one, but I believe this to be a nice example of a first-winter Thayer's. For example, compare this bird to the "typical midwinter individuals" photographed in Howell & Dunn, page 265, images 36.10 and 36.11. As usual I would love to hear comments, either positive or negative. I did not capture any flight shots, but in flight the bird showed a dark secondary bar, a solid dark tail band with mottling at the bases of the outermo

Rough-legged Hawk flight

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Before last night's Dovekie report, I had zero intention of birding today given the brutally windy and cold forecast. Instead, I found myself outdoors from dawn to dusk. No Dovekies to be seen today unfortunately, but it was an incredibly rewarding day in the field. Despite the weather I had an outstanding time freezing my ass off. Today's highlight was an afternoon full of Rough-legged Hawks. I had not yet seen any Roughies in 2008, but that changed today with a total of 5 birds, certainly my highest single-day total in CT! The Great Meadows Marsh (Stratford) held 3 birds in the early afternoon, two light morphs and a dark morph, hunting between the airport and Long Beach. dark morph Roughie in Stratford one of two light RLHA in Stratford On my way home I stopped at Grassy Hill in Orange with hopes of picking up one for my town list. During last year's local CBC, I had to leave an hour or two early to do stuff around the house...and Lee Schlesinger turned up a dar

12/19 - Cackling Goose in Orange

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Before the snow started this morning I was able to pin down the Cackling Goose that flew out of Lake Wepawaug yesterday afternoon. It was located in a flock of ~100 Canadas in the field opposite Wright's Pond, which is at the intersection of Old Grassy Hill Road and Ridge Road in Orange. Tomorrow is the local CBC...hope it sticks around one more day! It has a growth (tumor?) on its forehead which distorts the true shape of the bird's head profile, slightly complicating its subspecific identity. Otherwise, this is a pretty good example of a Richardson's Cackling Goose, though a bit on the darker-breasted side. If anyone has any comments on the bird's subspecific identity, please feel free to comment. Note the frosty gray-brown feather bases on the upperparts, which set off the darker subterminal lines. Seeminglingly blocky head despite the growth. Short, stubby bill. Wide white cheek patch. Note the partial white neck collar, set off by darker breast. Just as ea

12/18 - Common Eider, Cackling Goose, gulls

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On my way home from eastern Mass early this morning, I stopped at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford. The front gates were closed so I had to walk in, which turned into a good thing when I pished up two Eastern Towhees across the street from the park entrance. The only bird of note on the water was a female COMMON EIDER, pictured below. female Common Eider @ Harkness SP While male eiders are easily told apart, female eiders are a bit more tricky. Compare this Common to the female King Eider from Milford Pt on Thanksgiving . From the coast I headed inland to the Windsor-Bloomfield Landfill, where Brian Klienman was already gulling when I arrived at 10am. James P. Smith soon joined us. Brian left later in the morning but James and I continued working the gull flocks until 2pm. Highlights here were 3 Glaucous Gulls, 2 "Kumlien's" Iceland Gulls, and 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull (Brian saw a second LBBG). The 3 first-winter Glaucous Gulls stole the show her

THAYER'S GULL, Windsor Landfill - Dec 12

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12/12: I'll be out of town for much of the next 5 days (with only intermittent laptop access) but wanted to post these images of this interesting Thayer's-type bird from the Windsor Landfill today. Found the bird at noon, had it in view for ~2 mins before it flew down towards the Farmington River, ran back to the car to jot down notes and a flight sketch (wingtip looked good for Thayer's from both above and below), then searched for two more hours without success. Images in no particular order: Rear bird Left-center. Mantle color was a tad darker than surrounding HEGUs, but by a very slight amount. Decent general comparison to nearby HEGUs. Dark iris, but when the light hit it just right I could see that it was a touch paler than the jet-black pupil. Close-ups of wingtip. Primary tips were black (very HEGU-like). Nice example of the bird's expression. Note the dark eye, forehead sloping into bill with yellow-green base, and soft/blurry st