Showing posts from January, 2009

1/30 - adult Glaucous Gull (and ZERO Icelands)...

Took advantage of a rare free weekday afternoon and made a run to the Windsor-Bloomfield Landfill on Friday, from about 12:45 to 3:30. Gull numbers were decent in the 2,000+ range. The best bird was an adult Glaucous Gull, clearly a different individual than this one from December at the same site. Yesterday's Glauc was clearly a larger, bulkier, and larger-billed bird with a blockier head. This is a rare age in CT, where nearly all birds are 1w. This has been a particularly good winter for this species around here...I've personally seen at least 9 of them (2 ad, 7+ first-winter). I left the landfill shaking my head at the fact that I did not see a single Iceland Gull during my visit. Last January 16th I had 9 Icelands at the dump. This was actually my first-ever visit to the place without recording at least one! Also present were a first-winter Glaucous and an adult Lesser Black-backed. - NB

Thayer's Gull in Gloucester - Jan 19

While watching and waiting for the Ivory Gull early on Monday morning with a few other early risers, I spotted a Thayer's-like Gull roosting on the dogbar jetty at Eastern Pt in Gloucester, MA. It was quite distant and very content with sleeping, so it was impossible to ID with any certainty, but everything visible looked good for Thayer's, including an entirely juvenal set of scapulars. The bird briefly lifted its head a couple times, showing a rounded head and a dark bill with a pale base. The paleness of the bill made me feel a bit uneasy because most Thayer's seem to show a rather dark bill. Digiscoping in such low early-morning light resulted in poor images, but this one gives an idea of what we were looking at. Later in the morning Jeremiah Trimble relocated what looked to be the same bird right in the cove next to the parking lot where we had some great looks including a short flight. Jeremiah captured some nice images of the open wing . Several classic Thayer's

IVORY GULL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

adult Ivory Gull, found by Jeremiah Trimble on 1/17 and still present on 1/19 One of (if not the most) stunning birds I have ever seen, period. It was worth every second of the wait. I was lucky enough to find myself in Boston visiting my girlfriend for the long weekend when Andy Griswold left a message on Saturday about the gull. After composing myself (and waiting for Kim to 'get ready') we rushed up to Gloucester. Upon arrival at the small parking lot, the gull was flying (more like floating) around the small cove right next to us. Simply unbelievable. Despite the cold weather we spent the entire afternoon with the bird as it put on a show for us. One day wasn't enough though. I spent all of today in Gloucester, though a good portion of that time was spent waiting for the Ivory Gull to reappear. Over the past two days it has begun spreading out around the harbor, spending less and less time near the lighthouse parking lot. No big deal...there were plenty of gulls coming

Watch out for Ivory Gulls

A bit of wishful thinking here, but I am getting downright desperate for an Ivory Gull. A few birding friends and I had plans to drive to Prince Edward Island for this stunning ADULT Ivory Gull that was coming within 5 feet of people! Everything was in place for a successful trip, but the bird disappeared mid-week. Danny Williams, a great young birder from East Lyme, was one of the people set to come on the trip. We had previously dipped on two nearby Ivory Gulls, an adult on the Hudson River two years ago and an immature in Rhode Island last winter. This essentially makes us 0-for-3 on chasable Ivory Gulls. Needless to say we were both crushed when the latest bird took off. But there is hope for an Ivory Gull yet...maybe even sooner than later. Over the past two days, an incursion of the species has taken place in Labrador and Newfoundland. At least some of the birds were observed to be flying south. There is much worldwide concern for this species because their habitat, arctic sea i

Black-headed Gull, Razorbills - Jan 10

I met Glenn Williams and Phil Rusch at 6:30 this morning to take the 7am ferry to Fisher's Island in hopes of a rare alcid or seabird. While we did not luck out with any true rarities, we had 4 Razorbills (1 in CT waters, 2 in NY waters, 1 in both) and a Northern Gannet. One of the razorbills in particular flew right along the boat in great light after sunrise, providing all 3 of us with our best views of the species in the state. From there I worked my way home, stopping at Hammo first. The only notables here were a Fox Sparrow and a 1w Iceland Gull. I checked the pines for crossbills a few times but struck out. I also checked out East Shore Park for the first time in a while, again hoping for crossbills in the pines...and again missing. But I did have the bird of the day here, a first-winter Black-headed Gull, which I believe was first reported by Turk Duddy on 12/28/08. Given that it's still there today, this bird could be wintering in the harbor. first-winter Black-headed G

2008 In Review

Going into 2008 I knew that my birding time would be reduced from prior years, but I was able to make the most of my time in the field. The intensity of school varied greatly from month to month; some months were completely devoid of birding while others allowed for several days in the field. 2008 began with great excitement as we were in the midst of a fantastic winter for irruptive passerines. Flocks of Pine Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls were already in place in northern CT when the year began. On January 3rd, Don Morgan allowed me to check out his backyard redpoll flock in Coventry where he had previously reported a few pale redpolls. Close examination of the flock on a brutally cold day revealed the presence of a Hoary Redpoll...the first documented in the state since the year I was born (1983.....yes, you're old)! Hoary Redpoll at Don Morgan's house Later that month, Greg Hanisek & co turned up a fine Western Tanager in the campground at Hammonasset State Park, which w