Showing posts from April, 2012

Interesting weather now through Monday/Tuesday

Not sure what to make of it. Go birding if you can. Should spice things up a bit. How's that for analysis?  - NB

The next 10 days in weather

Just took a glance at the 10-day forecast and felt like commenting on it. No, nothing really unusual is forecast  to happen (highs of 70 degrees have become ho-hum this month). But we're approaching the heart of migration and watching the weather is just so important if you want to maximize your birding at this time of year. Thursday through Saturday we'll see winds of a southerly flavor with mostly sunny skies and above average temperatures. This is prime weather for early arrivals and overshoots from the south. Think Swallow-tailed Kite (one of the classic April overshoots) and an assortment of warblers including Yellow-throated and Prothonotary. Clouds build in on Saturday and rain will break out Sat nite or early Sunday and continue for a couple of days, quite possibly into early Tuesday. This one might not be the soaker we were hoping for, as we are in a legit drought with high fire concern, but we'll take what we can get! Despite the weather, don't necessarily

Early spring birds

This past weekend I was able to get out a bit to enjoy a few species typical of mid-April in southern New England. On Saturday we put the family boat in the water for the summer - always a notable event. The first ride of the year went about as well as one could hope - she ran beautifully. A ride around the Norwalk Islands produced a handful of fishing NORTHERN GANNETS and some lingering/migrant waterfowl including LONG-TAILED DUCKS and SURF & WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS. Northern Gannet A rather tame AMERICAN COOT was waiting for us back at the dock. American Coot  Sunday was notable for its warmer temps reaching well into the 70s inland. I was able to sneak out for just an hour to nearby Brooksvale Park in Hamden to look for a Little Blue Heron that was seen the day before. No heron, but I was pleased to find a WHITE-EYED VIREO among a mixed flock along the pond edge. It's my personal earliest WEVI but about in-line with their typical arrival date. A few PALM and YELLOW-

A large Thayer's-like Gull in Connecticut?

Back on March 13th I photographed a large first-cycle Thayer's-like Gull in Stratford, CT. I wasn't sure what to call it at the time, and I still can't put a name to it. Over the past few weeks I've contemplated the bird a bit and sent photos to just a couple folks for input, but otherwise I've hidden the photos away for future headache-inducing analysis. On ID-Frontiers, the current lengthy discussion on vagrant Thayer's Gull ID has shifted a bit to include questions about large Thayer's-like birds seen in eastern North America. Hence the bird below. Thayer's Gull? Hybrid (if so, what)? Something else? I don't know. (Thoughts from the few experienced folks who commented included unknown hybrid, Thayer's, Herring, 'I don't know' and even Slaty-back. No two people gave the same answer. Love it.) What exactly we do with birds like this in the east? Other than curse aloud? I think we just try to document them as best we can with

Apr 1 - Little Gull @ Southport Beach

On this past Sunday Jake Musser and I hit the coast mainly in search of gulls, particularly Bonaparte's Gulls. This year's barnacle larvae phenomenon has resulted in some impressive gull numbers, with Ring-billed and Herring Gulls dominating up to this point. But over the past week Bonaparte's Gulls have arrived in very good numbers - flocks that used to be typical of March-April in past decades. In recent years, the numbers of spring migrant Bonaparte's Gulls in CT have significantly waned, and so have the frequency of Little and Black-headed Gull sightings. Jake and I arrived mid-morning at Southport Beach in Fairfield, CT, where a flock of 3000+ BOGU and one Black-headed Gull had been seen earlier in the week. We joined Mark Szantyr and Hayden Hall who were busy photographing the gulls. The BOGU numbers were climbing towards 1,000 as more and more flew in from Long Island Sound to bathe, preen, and roost. After a bit of searching an adult LITTLE GULL flew into the fr