Showing posts from October, 2016

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