Showing posts from 2009

Stratford-Milford CBC

Just a quick report from today's uneventful CBC; my territory was part of coastal Bridgeport. Highlights included 14 Lesser Scaup, 163 Long-tailed Duck (several flocks moving west towards Penfield Reef once the fog cleared), 17 Killdeer, 4 Purple Sandpipers, 1 Iceland Gull (adult), 1 American Pipit, 1 Lapland Longspur. fogged in for the first couple hours of the day adult "Kumlien's" Iceland Gull on the flats at Seaside Pk as always, we ended the day with the compilation at Milford Pt with Clapper Rails calling - NB

Merry Christmas!

Northern Saw-whet Owl Merry Christmas!! - Nick

Windsor Landfill, Northwest Park

Made a visit to the frigid Windsor Landfill today with EJ Raynor and Brian Webster. Temps were stuck in the 20s but we managed to keep from freezing. Gull numbers were lower than usual - in the vicinity of 2000 birds. Highlights were 3 "Kumlien's" Iceland Gulls (first cycle, second cycle, adult). We also had 3 White-crowned Sparrows in the brush piles, 4 Bald Eagles (kept the gulls from settling down), and an immature Peregrine Falcon chasing gulls, crows, and starlings around the dump. 2c Iceland Gull adult Iceland, paler primaries and eyes than the adult on our last visit We had this pale-headed first cycle Herring Gull a couple times today, which stood out pretty strongly among the flocks. Possibly a bird from a more western population, as birds that winter on the west coast tend to be paler-headed (per the literature). Before the landfill we checked Northwest Park for the immature Red-headed Woodpecker, which continues where previously reported along the second leg of

Review: BirdsEye for the iPhone

UPDATE March 2011: BirdsEye has undergone a few important upgrades (i.e. use of personal locations) and will certainly be updated in the future (with the ability to enter eBird sightings from the field). I will also say that, while I haven't used this app all that much locally, it has proven extremely useful in finding birds when I've been traveling. And as eBird becomes more popular, there are more and more reports to help you find your birds. Check out the official web site for a description of the current version and latest updates. Original post: A new App called Birdseye (AppStore, $19.99) hit the iPhone/iTouch in early December, and it is sure to pique the interest of any birder who owns Apple’s extremely popular smartphone. The premise is simple: to help you find whatever bird species you’re looking for. Birdseye uses up-to-the-second eBird data to show you on a map where and when a particular species has been reported, then gives you directions to th

Eastern CT coast (Common Eiders)

Today's trip along the eastern CT coast was dominated by Common Eider at every stop. Normally, Common Eider are scarce to absent in Connecticut waters, but this autumn has been different. Following a couple rounds of east winds several weeks ago, Common Eider have been remarkably...well, common, in eastern CT. By the end of the day I had seen over 100 eider in CT waters and many many more distant birds that were possibly in RI or NY waters. The most exciting part of the day actually came around noon when two commercial fishing boats entered Fisher's Island Sound from the east with clouds of birds around them. Last Sunday Phil Rusch lucked out with a Northern Fulmar following a fishing boat into CT waters at this location...for just the third state record. So I watched the boats with excitement as they approached Stonington Harbor, in hopes of a repeat fulmar or something else like a shearwater, jaeger, or kittiwake. Unfortunately I could muster nothing more than a few dozen Nor

Larophiles, rejoice!

In late January there will be a gull conference near Daytona, Florida. A similar event took place in 2000 at Niagara Falls & vicinity. This sounds pretty darn cool to me. I'm seriously considering heading down for this. For details, click HERE . - NB

Odd wigeon in Norwalk

Brian Webster and Larry Flynn found and photographed this interesting drake wigeon in Norwalk, CT on Monday, Dec 7. They noticed the oddly-plumaged head and wondered if it could be a hybrid Eurasian x American, or just an aberrant American. They saw a cream-colored forehead, lower cheek, and throat. The bird also lacks much of the dark stippling that should be present on the lower cheek and throat of an American Wigeon. Also, the rear back appears to be rather pale gray in color, though this may be within range of American. Otherwise it appears fine for American. Are these interesting features indicative of Eurasian genes? I'm not sure myself, but with a gun to my head I would probably opt for hybrid over aberrant, simply because the odd features all tend toward Eurasian. I'm really not sure though; maybe it is simply a coincidence. A check of many hybrid wigeon images online does not reveal a bird that looks quite like this one, so if this is a hybrid it is not a classic F1 bi

Hammo's best kept secrets

Every birder in Connecticut knows of Hammonasset State Park in Madison, CT. The combination of geography and habitat has produced an impressive list of rarities over the years. The list includes Thick-billed Murre, several White-faced Ibis, several Ruff, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Great Gray Owl, Boreal Chickadee, Northern Wheatear, BT Gray Warbler, Lark Bunting, and Lazuli Bunting. While the typical hotspots such as Willard's Island, Meig's Point, and the Nature Center lot are birded quite often, there are a couple locations in the park that perhaps do not get the coverage they deserve. Two such spots come to mind, and they both are best in the fall and winter. First, the campground. Specifically, the part of the campground outlined by the white path in the image below. Some of you know this area for the Western Tanager of two winters ago and the hybrid Baltimore x Bullock's Oriole from last month. In the fall and winter this part of the park is as good as any for passerines.

12/7 - Windsor Landfill (Iceland Gull)

I spent a couple hours midday at the Windsor-Bloomfield Landfill; several other birders were there. Nothing much to report. About 1500-2000 large gulls, highlights being 2 Iceland Gulls (adult with one leg, and a first-winter not seen by me). adult "Kumlien's" Iceland Gull gulls feeding on an active trash pile - NB

12/6 - American White Pelicans

Sometimes things just work out the way they're supposed to. I went to Hammonasset State Park in Madison, CT in hopes of intercepting the flock of 8 American White Pelicans that was seen yesterday in Providence, Rhode Island. As a birder all you can really do is put yourself in the best position and hope that you get lucky, but it usually doesn't work out. I arrived at Hammo for opening at 8am and decided I would bird within sight of the beach in case the pelicans did fly by, figuring that being right on the coast would put me in the best position. Not much was moving early this morning on the heels of yesterday's storm...just some blackbirds, Horned Larks, a Pipit, a few Goldfinches and that's about it. As the morning went on things remained quiet, although a modest gull migration was underway in the form of small flocks moving east to west along the coast. A look off Meigs Point revealed 2 Surf Scoter, 81 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling, and 5 Ruddy Turnstones. At this point the

12/4 - East Shore Pk; Orange-crowned Warbler

Unfortunately this was all I could muster of a cooperative Orange-crowned Warbler at East Shore Park in New Haven yesterday. Either my digibinning skills are fading or my camera's auto-focus is beginning to fail...probably the former. Also seen at this location were a "Western" Palm Warbler and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Now that the weather is finally getting colder, the hedgerows adjacent to the sewage treatment plant should be monitored regularly for late passerines. When few insects are still out, the warm pools seem to keep alive enough insects to attract lingering insectivores. - NB