Sunday, November 7, 2010

Irruptions continue

Each day fall birding continues to excite while the prospects for winter continue to improve. I wrote about how I noticed Red-breasted Nuthatch everywhere what seems like ages ago - it was before the winter finch forecast was even out. They continued to push through the state in October, and November has continued to bring them to more bird feeders. What became evident shortly after that blog entry was that Pine Siskins were going to be here in decent numbers as well. Just today, I had five more visit my yard for sunflower seeds and thistle. Many people have seen them at their homes or birding hotspots. Both Stratford and Milford Point have hosted them in the past week.

It does not come close to ending there. An incredibly strong push of Purple Finch has made them sometimes more common than the usual finches, House and American Goldfinch (though these two are making some movements of their own as well). They have appeared at feeders across the state while being tallied daily at hawk watches. I was able to count up to 128 in a single day flying by at Boothe Park last month. That is a ridiculous total considering it can often be hard to get a single one in a given town for an entire year. Case in point, I did not see one Purple Finch in all of 2009 despite recording 254 species. Black-capped Chickadees have been heading south providing some of us with a glimmer of hope for a Boreal Chickadee.

However, the biggest news to me is the continued slow but steady reports of Evening Grosbeak. They have been seen a few times a week in Connecticut for the past month or so, with other states also seeing reports trickling in. As someone who was once treated to a Red Crossbill at my feeder mere feet in front of my face when I was a child, the Evening Grosbeak would be a huge prize to have chowing down on seeds in my own yard. It is hard not to imagine it when you look outside and see new winter finches there every day.

We have plenty of fall and all of winter to go. Redpolls and some of those crossbills may be on the way as well. No matter what species we do or do not end up getting we are all going to be going through a lot of bird seed. Moreover, all of Connecticut has a chance at seeing the first snowflakes of the season early tomorrow...stock up now!

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