Showing posts from August, 2014

Giant Swallowtail

This morning I went to my parents' house in Orange, CT to help my father with yardwork. I must have scored some karma points with the nature gods because this GIANT SWALLOWTAIL was nectaring heavily in their garden, particularly on the Buddleia. Giant Swallowtail  - NB

Groton to Guilford, CT (Baird's Sandpipers +)

After seeing quite a bit of migration on the radar when I went to sleep last night, I got up early with expectations that Bluff Point in Groton, CT would produce a quality morning flight today. Boy was I wrong! Winds were essentially calm at Bluff at dawn, which resulted in a nearly non-existent flight. A flyby calling DICKCISSEL was the only highlight. After bailing from Bluff I headed to Old Lyme for some low tide shorebirding. The mudflats at Watch Rock held a juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER and my first three WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS in CT for the season. Two GREEN-WINGED TEAL were also my first southbound of the fall, right about on time. Down to Griswold Point, which upon arrival had some shorebirds working the flats, most notably a juvenile RED KNOT, a flyby calling WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, and an impressive flock (for the time of year) of 21 juvenile "Eastern" WILLETS. An immature PEREGRINE FALCON strafed the flats a few times, causing most of the birds to leave and

Aug 27 - Fishing Block Canyon

Yesterday I was lucky enough to fish the tip of Block Canyon on a new friend's boat. It was beautifully calm in advance of Hurricane Cristobal passing well to the southeast with only very gentle 2-4 ft swells and no wind. We left the dock in Montauk by 2am and were at the canyon before sunrise. There was a fair amount of life to be seen, though not much bird-wise. The highlight of the day were the numbers of Audubon's Shearwaters, perhaps not surprising given that last weekend's BBC overnight pelagic to larger canyons further east produced Massachusetts state record high counts on consecutive days! Numbers: Cory's Shearwater  2 Cory's Shearwater (borealis)  1 Sooty Shearwater  1 Audubon's Shearwater  20 Wilson's Storm-Petrel  71 Oceanodroma sp.  1 Common Dolphin 10 Risso's Dolphin 95 Pilot Whale sp. 15 shark sp. 1 Manta Ray 1 Portuguese Man o' War 6 sunrise Audubon's Shearwater Audubon's Shearwater Risso'

Just Announced! Sept 27 & 28 Overnight Pelagic out of Cape Cod!

This trip was just announced by the Brookline Bird Club, right on the heels of another fantastic overnight August pelagic: The same overnight trip that has become so reliable for White-faced Storm-Petrel and has produced so many rarities including Barolo Shearwater is being offered for a second time this year...on the weekend of Sept 27 & 28. See the below message from organizer Ida Giriunas. Note that the date to reach our minimum signup number is Sept 6th. Usually the annual August overnighter sells out faster than a Britney Spears concert circa 2001, with a long waiting list, but this might be a different story since it is being announced relatively last-minute as far as these things go. "Greetings: We have an opportunity to rerun the recent very successful Extreme August Pelagic trip at the end of September. The birds seen in August were the White-faced Storm-petrel, Black-capped Petrel, Red-billed Tropicbird, dozens of Audubon's shearwaters, a few Band-rum

Aug 23 & 24 - BBC Extreme Pelagic (WFSP, RBTR, BCPEs, SPSK, Whale Shark)

A borderline weather forecast almost kept us from leaving the dock this weekend, but the end result was another spectacularly successful Brookline Bird Club overnight pelagic. We've been waiting two years for another overnight trip. Our most recent overnighter (in 2012) was amazing , and last year's trip was canceled due to high seas. So we were really itching to get back out there! Here are some highlights from the weekend with a few pics. I know that several folks got some killer photos, so keep an eye out for those. Marshall Iliff and Jeremiah Trimble are preparing the full trip report and eBird checklists. In short, we had (among other things!) three BLACK-CAPPED PETRELS (the two seen well enough were white-faced types), five shearwater species, four storm-petrel species including WHITE-FACED and BAND-RUMPED, an immature RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD, Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, SOUTH POLAR SKUA, all three jaegers...and a WHALE SHARK right next to the boat. Our route, wi

Milford Point (Golden-Plover, Western Willet, Red Knots)

Shorebird diversity is beginning to pick up at Milford Point (CT) as the season rolls on. Among the regulars today we had an adult AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, a juvenile "WESTERN" WILLET, and three adult RED KNOTS. Among the flocks today were my first juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers (a handful) and Semipalmated Plovers (two) of the fall among the throngs of adults. After going a while without a point-and-shoot camera for digiscoping (after my Canon A590 finally crapped out), I picked up a cheap used one from eBay (same model). There are just too many situations in which digiscoping still yields better results than my 400mm dSLR lens when I'm dealing with distant birds. So lucky you, blog reader, as you'll again be seeing more crummy digiscoped photos here, just like the old days! American Golden-Plover (adult, center of image). From a distance with Black-bellied Plovers, note the smaller size especially head/bill, white supercilium set off by a dark cap, and rich b

July road trip

One of the reasons why I can't help but love my current job is the schedule attached to it. Without getting into too much detail, every five weeks or so I work for a long stretch that is followed by extended time off. After working a lot in early-mid July I had quite a bit of time off towards the end of the month. I participated in pelagic trips on consecutive weekends, off Massachusetts on July 19th and off North Carolina on July 25th & 26th , with no work commitments in between. Also on both sets of pelagic trips were friends (and killer birders!) Tom Johnson and Doug Gochfeld. The three of us decided to take a road trip from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras (and back north to our homes) to pass the time between pelagics. Along the way we hit lots of good habitat and saw many, many birds. Yep, we had a blast. Here are some highlights from the week on the road... As we were still aboard the "Helen H," approaching Hyannis after a super successful pelagic on July 19th, our