Showing posts from March, 2019

Ring-necked Duck x Scaup hybrid

Another New Haven Harbor hybrid Aythya , amongst a wintering mixed scaup flock. I have seen this bird three times, initially on January 19th. Trying to figure out the scaup species involved is a bit of a headache. In the field I certainly found the bird to give more of a Greater Scaup-like vibe, based on body, head, and bill shape & size, for what it's worth. However it has been hypothesized that the mediocre open-wing photo is pro-Lesser, as the obvious white is restricted to the secondaries, but I'm not convinced that is anything more than suggestive. All criteria seem shaky. Click for larger images: Hybrid's head shot pasted between GRSC and LESC for comparison (identical lighting conditions). Not to scale (hybrid's head is magnified). Vibrance kicked up a few notches to accentuate head color. Older pics, with Greaters, from back in January:  - Nick

Tufted Duck x Scaup hybrid

On March 20th, while scanning the scaup flock from the West Haven Boat Ramp, I noticed a hybrid Tufted Duck. Luckily there were no tense moments here - with the sun at my back, though the bird was distant, the dark gray (not black) back and short, blunt-ended tuft immediately declared this bird as a scaup hybrid and not a bona fide Tufted. While a pure TUDU would have been preferred, this is a life hybrid, and a cool one at that. The bird was too far to document by handheld phone-scoping. I tried. As luck would have it, I put my boat in the water early this year, and it happened to be located in this very same harbor. I hopped on the boat and tried to approach the scaup flocks, a process that turned out more difficult than I had hoped. The flocks were flighty. I've gotten close to ducks in this boat before, but it usually takes finesse. These flocks, though, were especially spooky. I eventually refound the bird among the scattered Greater Scaup flocks and got as close as I coul

Australia - Nov-Dec 2017

I'm nearly finished with photo catch-up from a few big trips over the past couple years. I think it's a tad late for a trip summary, but I did want to share a few favorite images from the three-week journey that included Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney, Alice Springs, and Darwin. I was with Ian Davies for the first three cities, and on my own in the Northern Territory. Splendid Fairywren Hooded Parrot Wedge-tailed Eagle (immature) Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo White-cheeked Honeyeater Red-tailed Black Cockatoo Red-capped Robin Plainswanderer Rufous Whistler Short-tailed Shearwaters White-capped Albatross Spinifex Pigeon Australian Owlet-nightjar  - NB

CT's Next 15 Birds - Twelve Years Later!

Back in the summer of 2007 I began to piece together an article, later published in The Connecticut Warbler , that attempted to predict (I mean ‘guess') the next 15 bird species to be added to the CT state list. How time flies. We’re nearly twelve years from that voting period. Periodically it’s fun to look back on this to see how we fared! The "research" included assembling a 13-member panel to submit their own personal Top Ten Lists, ranked from most (10 pts) to least likely (1 pt). A total of 47 species received votes (Top 15 were featured in the article). Here they are. Species since added to the state list are in bold print. Rank Votes Points 1 Townsend's Warbler 13 117 2 Swainson's Warbler 11 68 3 Black-chinned Hummingbird 10 70 4 Little Egret 6 39 5 California Gull 6 28 6 White-winged Tern 6 19