Showing posts from 2016

Weather to watch for this weekend

UPDATE: This was a total dud. Nothing happened... ORIGINAL POST: The past couple weeks of weather have been quiet around here. Not surprisingly, no major rarity fallouts, though there has been a slow trickle of 'megas' during the first half of November AKA 'rarity month.' Looks like there will be a potent low that will track through the upper midwest and then northeast into Ontario. The track is similar to last November's storm that brought the unprecedented Franklin's Gull fallout and large numbers of Cave Swallows to the northeast, but a week later. Not sure how strong the storm will be, or if it will impact New England with strong winds (as of right now, winds are not supposed to be very strong here, but the storm is several days out). It's definitely worth keeping an eye on for this coming weekend. If everything comes together, it could mean an uptick in rarities in these parts. Here are the current forecast maps for Thu-Sun:  - NB

Greenland Canada Goose band info

Back on Oct 10th I observed a neck-banded Canada Goose in Wallingford, 'G73,' that I figured originated in Greenland. I just received the following info from Tony Fox: "This was another Greenland banded Canada Goose, first banded as a female gosling on 18 July 2009 on Lake I in Isunngua, west Greenland, when it was too small to take a collar, so it was simply banded with a yellow plastic leg band(as well as metal band) with the black engraved code GTX.  It was caught again on lake R on 18 July 2014 a couple of kilometres away from its original catch site, when it was decided to add the collar and the leg band was changed to coincide with the code on the collar.  As you will see, since then it is has been a well-travelled bird, with records from Canada as well as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Mass and NY, so it is simply wonderful to find it staging in Connecticut with you this year!"  - NB

Today's diurnal migration - excellent!

With today's forecast showing a NNW wind at a steady 15mph, we were expecting a solid hawk flight along the coast of Connecticut. When the wind is that strong migrant raptors are pinned against the coast as they work their way southward, so a place like Lighthouse Point in Connecticut is a fine place to spend a few hours on a day like today. Julian Hough and I started at nearby Ecology Park for a while, then moved to Lighthouse for the bulk of the day's flight. In all, the observers at Lighthouse tallied over 850 migrating hawks, falcons and vultures. It's been a long day of looking at bright blue skies followed by this computer screen, so I only have just about enough energy to post a series of photos from today. The last bird of the afternoon came in the form of a tired and hungry BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO that actually landed on the lawn upon flying into the park. A couple of late CLIFF SWALLOWS were another welcome non-raptor highlight. Black-billed Cuckoo

October has arrived

Here in southern New England you don't need a calendar to tell you when October has arrived. No, I'm not talking about the disappearance of summer-like weather or the rapidly shortening days. If you're a birder you can tell the calendar page has turned just by the arrival (and departure) of certain species. This has been apparent as I've spent a good amount of time in the field over the first week of the month. Along the coast, Forster's Terns now outnumber Common Terns. Forster's Terns The first "Northern" Horned Larks of the subspecies alpestris can be found in coastal dunes and open spaces. Horned Lark Sparrow numbers and diversity skyrocket. Lincoln's Sparrow Savannah Sparrows are everywhere Nelson's Sparrow is a common October migrant in coastal saltmarsh, though this may actually be a hybrid... Raptor diversity peaks. At one location earlier this week I had 13 species of raptor/vulture in just a couple

Hybrid Barnacle x Canada Goose

Migrant Canada Geese have really hit hard here in Wallingford this week. It seems a week or two early, but they are already here in force. What was meant to be a quick check of Mackenzie Reservoir late this morning turned into a 90-minute scan. There were 2-300 Canadas on the res when I arrived along with one continuing "Richardson's" CACKLING GOOSE that I first saw a few days ago. In this flock were Canada Geese of all body and bill sizes, including a few that in some ways seemed intermediate between Canada and Cackling Goose. This was reminiscent of last year's flock at this same location . As I was about to move on I noticed a group of Canadas fly into the reservoir, followed by another and another...and so on. Before I knew it, there were 900 birds on the water. I did not notice anything different fly in, but obviously I missed something because a follow-up scan of the geese on the water revealed a hybrid BARNACLE x CANADA GOOSE. It was obvious at first that thi

Return of [the?] CALIFORNIA GULL

While starting my walk out Sandy Point in West Haven, CT this morning, I came across a lone gull and noticed naked eye that it appeared to be a very small Herring Gull with a long, narrow two-toned bill. Lifted up the bins, legs?! It took flight. Long, narrow wings. Hardly obvious pale inner primary window. Hmmm. That looks more like a second cycle CALIFORNIA GULL than anything. I watched the bird sail west down the beach and out of sight. I had snapped off a few photos as the bird was flying away, and upon checking the LCD they only reinforced my field ID of the bird. I was oh so relieved to see that it had landed not far away, right in front of Chick's Restaurant, with a small mixed flock of gulls. The bird was between Herring and Ring-billed in size, and now that I was able to study the bird in the scope to double-check my initial mental notes, the ID was straightforward. It soon took flight again, heading back towards Sandy Point. I was unable to relocate it o

"Type 2" and "Type 10" Red Crossbills in Connecticut

The Red Crossbill is a bird species that is often referred to as enigmatic; this is accurate in more ways than one. This is a rather nomadic species that sometimes wanders long distances in search of food. Unlike your typical boreal irruptive species that typically move more-or-less south during fall/winter when their local supply crashes, both Red and White-winged Crossbills may move in any direction at any time of year in response to changes in abundance of their preferred conifer seeds. Red Crossbills may even breed in any season of the year if they deem their current food supply and habitat to be sufficient. Thanks to that complex situation, the species' movements can be difficult to predict even with an intimate knowledge of their biology. If you think that's interesting, there's more. They are just as enigmatic with regard to taxonomy as they are with their movements. Red Crossbill is a widespread Northern Hemisphere species that occurs in North America, Central Ame

Orange-crowned Warbler, Wallingford

I spent a productive couple hours at the Wallingford Community Gardens this morning. Highlights included an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and a few LINCOLN'S SPARROWS. Orange-crowned Warbler Lincoln's Sparrow Monarch Nearby Mackenzie Reservoir had 240 Canada Geese (no idea how many of these are early migrants versus local breeders) plus my first RUDDY and RING-NECKED DUCKS of the season.  - NB