Showing posts from May, 2011

The Pantanal (Brazil) in Sept-Oct!

One last plug for my trip to Brazil's Pantanal with Connecticut Audubon Society later this year! This is a repeat of last year's incredibly successful trip . As of right now we still have several spaces left! The birding is just incredible but the mammals are equally impressive. Last year's trip recorded FIVE Jaguars. Here's part of the brochure (click each image to enlarge): - Nick

Summer stuff

Now that the Big Day madness is over, it's time to look ahead to the summer. I have a few bird-related plans to get my mind off what promises to be a hectic summer at work (being short-staffed in the orthopedic department during the trauma season should be interesting). Over the next few weeks I'll be participating in two bird surveys. One is the USGS Breeding Bird Survey, for which I'll be tackling the "Westbrook" route. The other is the Tyler Mills (private property) section of Wallingford for the Greater New Haven Breeding Bird Atlas. This will be the first time I've participated in either a BBS or BBA, so I'm really looking forward to contributing. I'll post my results here. On June 16-19th I'll be leading a CAS trip to Baxter State Park in Maine. It promises to be spectacular for breeding birds. I'm pretty sure there's still room left, and the more the merrier, so check it out if you're interested. You can also click on the Maine

CT Big Day - May 20, 2011 - 192 SPECIES

Our team of Patrick Dugan, Frank Gallo, Dave Tripp, Fran Zygmont and myself (collectively the "Raven Luna-ticks") ran our 2011 CT Big Day on Friday, May 20. Our total of 192 species broke the long-standing Connecticut record (186) and, as a nice little bonus, the record among New England states (Massachusetts, 191). So how did we get to 192? History : This was our third year as a Big Day team, previously recording 177 species on 5/24/09 and 185 species on 5/23/10 . Read those brief summaries for details on our prior two efforts. Each of us had a fair amount of big day experience before we came together as a team. I had done some variation of a CT big day or birdathon for the five or so years before we formed our team. The other four guys had actually been teammates for some very successful World Series of Birding efforts. Scheduling and Weather : We blocked-off a predetermined window of 5 days so that we could choose the exact date last-minute based on the weathe

Big Bummer

As the window for our statewide CT Big Day approaches, a stubborn low pressure system has set itself up to our west and will park itself there for the next week. Potentially unbelievable bad luck for our Big Day. It will certainly hamper our scouting, which was supposed to happen this week. I had done some inland scouting earlier this month but just for early breeders as many birds had not yet arrived on territory. What remains to be seen is whether we can find a day without rain. While inclement weather, in the right situation, can be beneficial for birding, just a couple hours of steady rain on a Big Day can spell disaster. Picking a day will be a difficult decision for us. But we're staying positive. There's still a chance that we hit a day with South winds and just enough showery weather to knock down migrants. Or, when (if??) this weather breaks, perhaps the state will be inundated with delayed migrants. However, the current forecast of seven days of rain and east winds is

Colorado: Day 8 (Apr 9) - Boulder to Denver

Our final day in Colorado was going to be split into two halves: morning try for Dusky Grouse with Christian Nunes and afternoon for Northern Pygmy-Owl with Scott Rashid. We met Christian in Boulder and headed up in elevation to some open space inhabited by Dusky Grouse. The four of us hiked, often off-trail, for several hours in search of the bird. We found plenty of scat but no grouse were seen. We did hear the sound of a grouse taking flight at one point, but none of us ever got a visual. This would be our one real miss of the trip, being placed in the 'heard only' category. Despite dipping on the grouse we were treated to many singing TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRES, all three nuthatches, Golden Eagles, and another male Williamson's Sapsucker. It was a very enjoyable morning spent hiking in the crisp mountain air with great company. We had a superb time with Christian, a Rhode Island native. Christian came with us to Estes Park to meet Scott Rashid. Scott first took us to his

Colorado: Day 7 (Apr 8) - Denver to Boulder

We started the day with a stop at Red Rocks Park just outside Denver in hopes of catching up with the Harris's Sparrow that spent the winter at the feeders. Unfortunately we arrived to empty feeders, and we did not have any seed ourselves to throw down. We hung out for a while but the feeding station was predictably quiet. We did see four forms of Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored, Oregon, Pink-sided, and Gray-headed). Canyon Wrens sang from the cliffs and White-throated Swifts zipped overhead. Spotted Towhee at Red Rocks Park Our next target bird of the day was American Three-toed Woodpecker, which had been reliable at a conifer die-off west of Sedalia. After some searching Phil spotted a female 3-TOED feeding quietly just a foot off the ground. We enjoyed fantastic scope views (were able to count the bird's toes!) for quite some time until she slowly crept around the back side of the trunk. This was a life subspecies for me ( P. t. fasciatus ), which is noticably whiter-backed t