Showing posts from December, 2012

State of the winter finch invasion in southern New England

As winter weather really sets in and the calendar is about to turn, let's talk a bit about this year's mega finch invasion. Looking back to late July, Red-breasted Nuthatches began a large and prolonged flight which was a sign of things to come from other irruptive boreal songbirds. Purple Finches and Pine Siskins followed suit, along with a very early and moderate push of Red Crossbills that ended as quickly as it began. Siskins in particular moved through the region in spectacular numbers, especially in October. Also making an appearance in October were a smattering of Evening Grosbeaks, which had many folks hoping that this formerly common irruptive would again reach southern New England in good numbers. However grosbeak reports really dropped off in November and and been nearly non-existent in December. White-winged Crossbills began to appear in the waning days of October, especially along the MA coast, which continued throughout the region through November. Numbers rea

Stratford-Milford CBC

This past Saturday, Dec 22, Carolyn and I teamed up to cover Area B on the Stratford-Milford CBC. This area includes hotspot Milford Point and some area to the north and east. Conditions were cold and very windy, tough for birding. Our first bird getting out of the car at Milford Pt in the morning was a COMMON REDPOLL, a life bird for Carolyn, and the only ones recorded on the count. Common Redpolls We had 55 species in all. Here were our highlights: 101 American Wigeon (most of these on the small pond behind Jonathan Law HS) 139 American Black Duck (easily counted on the LIS side of Milford Point thanks to constant hunter activity in the marsh all day) 1 Black Scoter (female at Milford Pt) 53 Horned Grebe (a fantastic count, especially given the VERY windy conditions during which they can be difficult to count on choppy water) 3 Northern Gannet (adults working offshore) 5 Great Cormorant (one in our area, the other 4 roosting on channel marker on Stratford side of

"Kumlien's" Iceland Gull

Last year at this time Carolyn and I stumbled upon an adult ICELAND GULL at Circle Beach in Madison, CT. A few adult "Kumlien's" Iceland Gulls winter in CT each year, the second most common age class (next to first cycle). Adults, like this bird, sometimes winter in the same exact location year after year. This bird has returned to the same small beach for another winter. On Dec 20, 2012 Carolyn and I revisited Circle Beach and found Keith Mueller already on the bird. We watched for a few minutes in raw conditions before heading for warmth. adult "Kumlien's" Iceland Gull, with rather pale eye and lightly-marked primaries  - NB

Nov 18 - Lighthouse Point crossbills

A few weeks ago friends Doug Gochfeld, Tom Johnson and Melissa Roach stopped by the New Haven area for a morning's birding. We had some nice birds including continuing "Audubon's" Yellow-rumped Warbler, Oregon-type Junco, and several lingering eastern warblers at East Shore Park. But earlier in the day we observed a nice crossbill flight at Lighthouse Point, with a few dozen of both Red and White-winged seen. Melissa enjoyed some killer looks at her life White-wings. Of those recorded by me and Tom, all Reds were Type 3.  - NB


Took a day trip east to Massachusetts today with Jake Musser, Phil Rusch, and Glenn Williams purely for some rarity chasing. Our #1 target was the hatch-year LITTLE EGRET in Hyannis. juvenile LITTLE EGRET On our way home we detoured slightly north to view the long-staying NORTHERN LAPWING. this one digiscoped, the rest with SLR NORTHERN LAPWING Since we had some time to spare we last checked for the nearby ROSS'S GOOSE, only the second I've seen on the east coast. distant Ross's Goose Easy birds, almost too easy.  - NB