Showing posts from April, 2013

Local migration

The spring passerine migration is moving at a snail's pace here in Connecticut. As a co-worker of mine likes to say, "Aaaaand we're off like a herd of turtles!" As it should be in April in New England! We've had a refreshingly cool spring with many nights of unfavorable migration conditions. So, for once, arrival dates are "normal" or perhaps even a bit behind in some cases. After last spring's record temps and insanely early foliage and birds (with foliage coming well before the birds), I am especially pleased by this year's developments. I know better than to think that this is an indication that climate change isn't occurring at a drastic pace, but it does make me rest a bit easier to see things much closer to normal as compared to this time last year, if only for a little while. The most tangible silver lining here is that we're actually able to see warblers right now. Barring a prolonged major warmup, we won't have to fight

Glaucous x Glaucous-winged Gull hybrids

I know it's mid-April but I wanted to get one last winter gull post up before I turn my attention to more recent happenings. Here are photos of two presumed hybrid GLAUCOUS x GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS at La Push, WA on Jan 28, 2013. These birds were part of a killer concentration of large gulls enjoyed by Frank Gallo, Ryan Merrill and myself for several hours on this morning. I'm not sure I've had this much fun standing in pouring rain for so long! We had 8 species plus 3 hybrid combinations. I'll say it again: the next gull ID conference must be held here. If nearby Aberdeen, WA native Kurt Cobain was into gull identification he would still be alive today...although we wouldn't have had the same great 90's grunge to listen to, so maybe things turned out for the best after all... Then again, perhaps hours of head-scratching while staring at soaking wet hybrid gulls would have resulted in the same sort of depression, angst and drug addiction that produced albums li

App Review: BirdSounds Costa Rica

While prepping for my recent trip to Costa Rica I was attempting to figure out the best way to put vocalizations onto my iPhone for use in the field. I started with a search in the App Store, not thinking I’d find anything useful at all, but was pleasantly surprised to find “BirdSounds Costa Rica” as a recent release. Jackpot! Available for $19.99, BSCR boasts over 2,000 clips of 764 species (15+ hours worth!). It is produced and distributed by As far as I can tell, BSCR is only available for iOS (not for Droid, at least as of yet). My trip to CR was not a "birding" trip, so the amount of time spent using the app wasn't as lengthy as I would have hoped for, but by the end of the vacation I had a good feel for what BSCR was capable of.  First, some important background information. Not all clips were recorded in Costa Rica. This is significant because vocalizations within the same species can vary, sometimes dramatically, from population to popu

Back in CT

I've been pretty quiet for the past few weeks, but that's not for lack of getting out. I've actually been too busy, in a good way. I spent 9 days in Costa Rica with family, then was back in town for one day before heading back out of town for the holiday weekend. It's been an odd year for me birding-wise. My CT year list stands somewhere around 70 species (!), revealing just how little local birding I've been doing. My schedule should settle down for a bit, allowing me to get out more locally as the spring progresses. I hope to get to the coast while some gulls are still around early this month. While Apil in New England is often viewed as the calm before the migration storm that is May, there are plenty of rarities possible as our common arrivals trickle into the region. You can just check the nationwide RBA to see that Old World shorebirds are hot right now, with sightings of Spotted Redshank (IN), Black-tailed Godwit (VA), northbound/wintering Northern Lapwings