Showing posts from 2015

CBCs and rarities

With the first big Christmas Bird Count weekend approaching, I thought it might be worth mentioning that this late autumn's warm weather could make for a very interesting count period, at least early on. It is likely that the warm weather has allowed the survival of many species that would otherwise perish or be forced to move on. Note the continuing Westport Ash-throated Flycatcher, Paul's report of inland Redstart and Black-and-white Warbler the other day, a late movement of Cave Swallows, a Swainson's Hawk on Staten Island, NY...there are more examples. Insectivores obviously benefit most from this situation. Indeed, October-November weather has persisted well into December this year, and there may be several birds typical of that Oct-Nov rarity season still out there waiting to be found. Keep an open mind. There will be a brief blast of cool/cold weather for a day or two this weekend, but perhaps not cold or prolonged enough to have much effect, as temps wi

Canada Geese? Cackling Geese? Or Hybrids?

Before you read any further, I recommend that you have your favorite headache remedy handy, because you might need it. For some background reading on this problem, check out David Sibley's blog post about a confusing flock of white-cheeked geese he encountered in Massachusetts around this time last year . Also, there was recently a "problem goose" found by Frank Mantlik in Stratford. View my post and Frank's really nice photos . I suggested the bird might represent a "Lesser" Canada Goose or hybrid rather than a Cackling Goose. After getting a few more opinions on it, there actually seems to be a bit of a consensus...that it is not really identifiable and may represent a hybrid Canada x Cackling Goose, as it does not fit neatly into any one particular Canada or Cackling form (as far as we know now, anyway) and shows features of both species. And more are some examples from past years of "Richardson's" Cackling Geese ( B

Ash-throated Flycatcher

A few days ago I stopped briefly into Sherwood Island State Park (Westport, CT) to see the ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER that AJ Hand had found a couple days prior. When I arrived the bird was being watched by Tina Green (who had ultimately identified the bird, she knowing that any Myiarchus in November was more likely an ATFL than anything else) and others, making it easy for me! The bird mostly stayed in the canopy but made occasional drops as it actively fed, at one point even visiting the seed feeder. atop its favorite tree, "the" cork tree not your typical feeder bird...  - NB

Weekend CT birds

Nov 16: Following Friday's Franklin's Gull madness, my focus shifted a bit for the weekend. Saturday, with brisk NW winds, was primed for a migration watch. Julian Hough and I began at Ecology Park in Branford, a capped landfill with fantastic views just a half mile from the coast. We enjoyed a nice morning flight with decent diversity and a few surprises including being buzzed by a migrating SANDHILL CRANE plus several CAVE SWALLOWS. Sandhill Crane Cave Swallow Bald Eagle White-tailed Deer From there we joined the gang at Lighthouse Point where the flight was less impressive than we thought it would be. Still, we had nice looks at a subadult GOLDEN EAGLE and a couple more flyby CAVE SWALLOWS. Northern Harriers were the story of the day, with over 60 tallied. Golden Eagle Nov 17: Sunday was beat-the-bushes day in search of vagrant passerines, but I came up empty on that front. I actually ran quickly into Lighthouse Point early to search f