Tuesday, November 30, 2010

White-tailed Kite in New Jersey

Sometimes you lose track of who you tell what when it comes to birds. I talk to friends, family, colleagues, visitors, interested non-birders, even reporters at times, and it becomes a jumble in my head. Somehow, I did not realize that I had not posted about what was very likely "our" White-tailed Kite that showed up in New Jersey on October 21. The last date it was seen here in Connecticut was October 10. This was some fantastic news, and I apologize for not mentioning it here sooner. The two photos here are mine from its stay at Stratford Point.

Classic White-tailed Kite leg-dangling hover hunting over Stratford Point in September

Initial reports were a bit confusing, but it eventually became obvious there was definitely a White-tailed Kite there. McDuffy Barrow first reported it in the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge impoundment along Bayshore Drive. This is in Barnegat Township in Ocean County. It seems to have been seen at a far distance but identifiable as it is such a unique species. Subsequent visits allowed McDuffy to relocate it and birders from all across the state were soon to follow. It was not nearly as accessible as when it was at Stratford Point. Often enough birders have had to use very big lenses and scopes to get any decent photos. A few have been able to get some closer shots, and the photos I have seen suggest it is the same bird apart from the obvious logic behind it. Google Earth and maps depicts the area as very good habitat for a White-tailed Kite. You can see it by clicking here.

Last photo I ever took of the White-tailed Kite on October 5 as it looked quite miserable in the cold rain. It did not even bother to look at me and it was obviously contemplating a departure.

It appears the last confirmed sighting of the raptor was on November 11. I have not read any negative or positive reports after that date, but do not take that as anything more than what I have gleaned from public information. Perhaps it traveled once again to warmer regions, or finally headed back "home" wherever that may be.

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

Monday, November 29, 2010

CAS on Twitter

If you enjoy following us on the blog you should definitely follow us on Twitter! The Connecticut Audubon Society can be found at: twitter.com/CTAudubon

Twitter is a perfect place for us to provide you with quick updates on bird sightings in Connecticut, migration conditions, how the weather will affect birding, upcoming event dates, and more of what goes on at our centers and properties. Speaking of that, you should also check out the Birdcraft Sanctuary and Museum's Twitter account here: twitter.com/ctaudbirdcraft

You will of course still find much more in-depth coverage of all these topics along with photos, video, and detailed conservation information here in the CAS blog, and everything you need to know about us on our main website, ctaudubon.org. This is only one more way to follow everything that is going on at the always active Connecticut Audubon Society as we work on conserving Connecticut's environment.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Looking for a Christmas tree?

If you're looking for a Christmas tree why not combine that trip with some birding while helping out the Connecticut Audubon Society? Our H. Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve and Christmas Tree Farm allows you to do just that. The information that follows is from the sanctuaries page of our website. You can see the days and hours of operation for the Christmas Tree Farm in the photo below.

H. Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve and Christmas Tree Farm, 74 acres, Sasco Creek Road, Westport

Three distinct parcels make up this preserve: a 24-acre Christmas Tree plantation, a 14-acre field habitat and a 36-acre evergreen plantation that has remained virtually undisturbed for the last 30 years. For a self-guided visit to each parcel, an interpretative brochure is available at the entrance.

FROM I-95 Eastbound: Take Exit 19 - Southport. Go left off exit and proceed to traffic light at Rt. 1. Turn left onto Rt. 1 (Post Rd.) and go to second traffic light. Take a left and follow from * below.
FROM I-95 Westbound: Take Exit 19 - Southport. Stay straight off exit to traffic light at Route 1 - Post Road intersection. Take a right onto Rt. 1 and at third traffic light, take a left. Follow directions from * below.
* At fork, take right and proceed straight on Green Farms Rd. Take a left onto Sasco Creek Rd. Preserve and Tree Farm are 0.1 mile on left.

Maybe you will run into me as I survey the property. Perhaps one of the trees you buy will be from this June photo!

It really is a beautiful sanctuary, and it is a good spot for some late fall rarities...

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Stratford Point Thanksgiving birds

I stopped by Stratford Point today to do a standard survey and found a few notable birds. As I drove up, I saw a small group of Canada Geese fly by. This in itself is a bit odd for the site. A few more followed during the hour I was there, and one of them contained an obvious Cackling Goose. This was a new species for us at Stratford Point. It was the second I have seen this year out of several thousand Canada Geese. On the water, I saw three more Northern Gannet, a rare but relatively easily seen species at the right time of year there. Finally, I found five Snow Buntings feeding on the grasses in the driveway. They were cooperative and let me snap off a couple hundred photos.

We see you!

I know they can be a tough to find species in Connecticut, and especially tough to get nice views of. We often have them sitting on rocks or feeding on various grasses here in the late fall and winter. They are especially cool to see in the snow. I hope we get more of both soon.

The rare birds seem to love the rocks

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

Happy Thanksgiving

All of us at the Connecticut Audubon Society wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beat the heat?

This past July I wrote about the extreme heat that had been felt on a global level during the first half of 2010. We (the planet Earth) were still on pace for the hottest year ever recorded through October. It seems very likely 2010 will end up as #1. July featured a few days of extreme heat that rivaled anything I had ever felt in Connecticut. I took the photo below with my cell phone at 1:07PM on July 6.

Yes, that says 101.1 degrees. The heat index was a horrendous number. Yuck. The next time I complain about being cold this winter please remind me of that photo. The question on my mind right now is whether or not KBDR, the weather station at Bridgeport’s airport in Stratford, will finally post a month with lower than average temperatures. January 2010 ended up as 0.2 degrees below average. Since then every month has been warmer (and in most cases
much warmer) than usual. Here are the measured 2010 averages, in Fahrenheit, for each month with the departure from normal in parentheses:

January: 29.7 (-0.2)
February: 32.5 (+0.6)
March: 45.0 (+5.5)
April: 53.9 (+5.0)
May: 62.1 (+3.1)
June: 71.8 (+3.8)
July: 78.3 (+4.0)
August: 75.1 (+2.0)
September: 69.3 (+3.6)
October: 56.5 (+1.8)
November (through the 22nd): 46.8 (+0.4)

This one is going to come down to the wire. I know many of the birds are enjoying the warmth of the past few days. The Fork-tailed Flycatcher must have certainly felt more at home. I stopped by Cove Island Park to see it yesterday and it was still eating plenty of insects. This latest round of warmth will end as a cold front passes through in mere hours. There is a slight chance of seeing some frozen precipitation on Thanksgiving - can you imagine watching a Fork-tailed Flycatcher in the snow? I hope it moves on sooner rather than later.

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ipswich comparison

Stratford Point always hosts the "Ipswich" Savannah Sparrow in the fall and winter. This subspecies is a bit larger, heavier, and much paler than other more common Savannah Sparrows. The differences are noticeable enough that it used to be its own species. I know it is a frequent target of experienced birders. I snapped a quick comparison photo when I had the chance to yesterday morning.

You should be able to see that the bird on the right is larger, despite being further away from me than the one on the left. It is also much lighter in color. At Stratford Point, the Ipswich sparrows can most often be found near the beach. They are also sometimes around the seawall, as this one was, with other Savannah Sparrows. I am very glad we can now specifically enter the Ipswich as a subspecies in eBird rather than lumping it with the rest of the Savannah Sparrows.

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Report your sightings

This is just a quick appeal to please report your sightings at Connecticut Audubon Society centers and properties. The Director of the Coastal Center, Frank Gallo, has been asking for sightings when you visit Milford Point to see the many rarities it has been hosting lately. I wanted to extend this even further. Whether you enter it in eBird, tell a CAS employee, write it in a log book at a center, whatever - we want to hear about it! This is especially true for uncommon and rare birds. If you find something unexpected or have a nice photo you would like to show us, please email Twan or myself. If you click on either one of our names under the “Authors” area to the right you can always find our email addresses. Apart from being a valuable record, we may share it with everyone in this blog or on the CAS website.

You may remember Twan and I spent what time we could over the summer completing Breeding Bird Surveys on all of the Connecticut Audubon Society properties. You can find a PDF map of all those locations here. That was only one part of trying to accumulate data. We want to know what birds winter here, and what species utilize the lands during spring and fall migration. Eventually, we will also get a complete list of the mammals, trees, butterflies, etc. as well - every living thing. Therefore, while we may be more concerned with getting a complete record of birds now, letting us know about any rare living species would be appreciated. All of this is essential information to use in applying our best management practices. Thank you in advance!
We really appreciate your assistance.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fork-tailed Flycatcher

Yesterday our friend Tina Green discovered Connecticut’s third Fork-tailed Flycatcher at Cove Island Park in Stamford. It is the first of the species that birders have been able to chase. Suffice it to say, this caused as much of a scene as the White-tailed Kite. Birders from all over Connecticut and neighboring states flocked to the spot as soon as they could. I was able to go see it for about 75 minutes this morning.

I was lucky on this one, as the flycatcher was close and in the open when I arrived. At least 30 birders were watching and photographing it while it perched near the park’s bird feeders. It appears to be a first-year bird based on the tail length and bit of brown on the wing coverts. While I admired it and chatted with others, it flew to several different trees. Watching it fly is certainly a fantastic sight. We were lucky enough to have it go mere feet over our heads a few times. I also saw it hawking and subsequently eating a few large insects. Thankfully, food does not seem to be a problem for it now, and the weather should not be too harsh until perhaps after Thanksgiving.

One of the oddest observations I had involved a Song Sparrow. It hopped onto some branches near the Fork-tailed Flycatcher when it returned to the feeder area. For some reason the Song stared at it like the birders were. It seemed to be perplexed as to what it was looking at. I do not want to call the behavior “mobbing” but it approached the flycatcher in a similar way. It came close to whacking into it, curious and almost perturbed with what it saw. Who knows what the Song Sparrow thought it was – a shrike, maybe? I do not think I have ever seen a bird look at another and have no clue what it was. It was a unique experience for all parties. Thanks and congratulations to Tina, and I definitely recommend the trip if you can find the time.

Photo and video © Scott Kruitbosch

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monk Parakeet problem

Monk Parakeets have a different meaning to different people. The gregarious, squawk-y, vibrant species is widespread on the Connecticut coastline, especially in western areas. This is particularly true in Bridgeport, Stratford, and Milford. There is no better way to exemplify that fact than to say that during the 2009 Christmas Bird Count, the circle with the highest total of Monk Parakeet in the United States was Stratford-Milford. For residents of those communities, that is not the honor it may seem to be. I spoke with untold numbers of visitors looking for other birds while coming to see the White-tailed Kite during its stay at Stratford Point. Some people took several hours, or even more, to get here. They turned it into a mini vacation. One of the most sought after species was the Monk Parakeet.

These visitors were confused when I made a funny face at requests for their location. In turn, they often made a funny face when I told them they could be found essentially anywhere in town, and that nests were mere minutes away. You can sometimes see Monk Parakeets even at Stratford Point itself. I completely understand the desire to tick off the species. Monk Parakeets are quite beautiful birds, too. They are obviously unique and, to me anyways, a strange echo back in time to the Carolina Parakeet. However, when it comes to our area, they are equivalent to the House Sparrow or European Starling.

No, they are actually not my pets, but you might think that if you stopped by

The Monk Parakeet has been classified as self-sustaining. They feed, breed, and live on their own, even in the winter. Sometimes this accepted notion comes in to question for me. Already by early November, they have begun once again to stop by my feeders. When I say “stop by” I mean eat everything they see in whatever amounts they desire. They devour sunflower seed and suet to an even greater degree than the House Sparrow or European Starling. They swoop in and chase out every other native species, forcing them to wait for a meal during some of the harshest days of the winter. They are definitely not restricted to these times, and will appear in any weather. Their choice to live close to humans on the coast portrays the fact they do have a tough time getting through a New England winter. I often wonder how the group in my neighborhood would fare if all the human-supplied food were removed for one season.
I hope they decide to fend for themselves a bit more this year and allow native species their place.

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stratford Point waterfowl are in

While they seem to be avoiding me personally, the waterfowl have definitely returned across Connecticut. Brant have once again become common at Stratford and Milford Point, with loons flying by quite frequently. Greater and Lesser Scaup have been seen occasionally. Red-breasted Merganser are seen often enough. The three scoter species are being picked up readily in Long Island Sound, with what seems like higher than usual reports of the least common, Black. I have had some nice looks at Bufflehead, North America's smallest diving duck species.

Breeding male Bufflehead

Even on this relatively tough weather day, Twan tallied Brant, American Black Duck, scaup, White-winged Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, and Northern Gannet at Stratford Point. If you stop by with your scope, you should be able to find some of these more rare species with relative ease. Just remember to stay away from me. I have been repelling the ducks, and scoter especially, on a nonstop basis. Sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're not. Experience with birds may bring a better ability to find some, certainly, but especially during lean months like November, you have to remember you will have slow stretches.

Stratford Point has plenty to offer on land as American Pipits Snow Bunting, Horned Lark, Lapland Longspur, "Ipswich" Savannah Sparrow, and more can be found now. We nearly always have at least one Northern Harrier around, too. Once we get some substantial snowfall, you can expect even more. It looks like a very tough year for a Snowy Owl, but this is one of the best spots in the state to see them. Fingers crossed.

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

Saturday, November 13, 2010

House vs. Purple

Identifying House Finch from Purple Finch seems to be an important task this year since so many of the latter species are showing up in Connecticut backyards. I set my HD camera up at my bird feeders earlier today to film a female of each species side by side. In this first video on feeder birds, you can also see I edited in some Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch stopping by the tray to grab a sunflower seed. The female Purple Finch appears around the 30-second mark. It stays in the right part of the tray in the sunlight while female and male House Finch appear more on the left and in the rear.

Note the slightly larger size body and head of the Purple Finch, the larger conical bill, as well as the obvious white eyebrow and bold facial pattern compared to the duller, lighter, relatively uniform brown female House Finch. Cornell's Project FeederWatch site has a good finch comparison page with illustrations and photos. Once you get the hang of identifying them at your feeders, you can try picking them out in the air as they zoom by you at a hawk watch. This is especially "fun" if they pass by silently not long after sunrise. I will be doing more videos of this kind this fall and winter season continues. Now if only I can get some Evening Grosbeaks in that tray while I have my camera set up...

Video © Scott Kruitbosch

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rusty Blackbird watch

As fall migration winds down and winter knocks on the door we turn our attention to the species that have decided to stick it out here in Connecticut. One of these winter-only residents is the Rusty Blackbird that breeds in the boreal forests of Canada, as well as Alaska and extreme northern parts of the continental U.S. While not a part of the Connecticut Endangered Species Act, or on the Connecticut Audubon Society Top 20 Conservation Priority Species, the Rusty Blackbird has become more of a national concern in recent years as the population continues to plummet for unknown reasons. Therefore, it is of vital importance to log all sightings of not only the CT-ESA and CAS Top 20 species, but the Rusty Blackbird as well. You should do this in eBird (and preferably for all of your bird sightings). The male in the video below was present in my yard during the first week of January earlier this year.

As climate change continues it is likely more and more Rusty Blackbirds will attempt to overwinter in our state. We know of some hotspots, but many more of their preferred Connecticut locations are unknown. I find some of the species in my yard nearly every winter after a snowfall of three to four inches or more, but I do not know where they spend the rest of their time. Figuring out where large numbers occur in these months is crucial to help decipher the puzzle of why they are declining so quickly. You can read more about the species and what information is needed at the National Zoo's Migratory Bird Center where they are working on these very problems. Connecticut may not be a critically important area for the Rusty Blackbird, but anything we can do to help their relatively unnoticed yet precipitous fall will help.

Video © Scott Kruitbosch

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Very early snowfall

In Sunday's entry, I casually ended the piece with a line about Connecticut seeing its first snowfall on Monday, knowing there was a chance for some parts of the state to see some flakes overnight and early Monday morning. Full disclosure here: I love snow! Always have, always will. However, I can be objective about it, and I knew the chances were good for some very early winter weather despite the fact very few forecasters or media outlets had even mentioned the word. I do not have to worry about my reputation since I am not a meteorologist or professional forecaster. I can glance over the weather models and interpret things as best I can then pass it along (though the interpretation is sometimes not so great).

Parts of eastern Connecticut ended up with 1-2 inches of snow. Nearly all of the state had some form of frozen precipitation. Even here in Stratford, we had a deluge of sleet that last for several hours, at least 5-9AM. The wind hammered it into the windows hard enough to wake me up repeatedly before sunrise. Combined with a bit of snow we had an accumulation of 1/2 to 3/4 inches. This is very rare for coastal Connecticut in early November. Various municipalities and much of the general public was caught totally off guard, with major traffic delays, accidents, school delays and closures - it was a mess. I still do not know how some of the professionals missed the ball on this one.

A strange early November sight

I nearly made an entry yesterday about the bird behavior I was observing on Sunday. Another disclaimer: this sort of discussion can get arbitrary, unscientific, and silly. Nevertheless, I paused a couple of times Sunday afternoon to note how the birds were devouring food at an incredible rate. They seemed to know we had poor weather brewing. Now, for example, our backyard birds cannot detect something like a hurricane coming in a week that is currently 2,000 miles away. However, picking up the signs that a storm was backing in was obvious even to me, with the winds picking up, skies darkening a bit more, and pressure dropping rapidly.

I had filled the feeders earlier in the day, and they were all nearly emptied entirely. That happens very rarely. It is an easy way to measure consumption, though the sheer number of birds fighting over it was obvious as well. Finally, I noted a few visitors who had
not previously stopped by this fall season. A Northern Flicker came to eat suet and check over things. A Chipping Sparrow stopped over to eat some mixed seed. My local Carolina Wren dropped by for suet as well. Curiously, despite good migration weather the previous two nights, I still had that Fox Sparrow scratching away.

The Fox Sparrow scratching in the sleet and snow Monday morning

I am not postulating that they have an absolute understanding of what is about to occur; rather, they know what weather is conducive to migrate in, when to remain where they are, when conditions will be tough for them, etc. It seemed like they had an idea that it would be a difficult morning the next day. I had warned people to look for oddities at their feeders, especially if we had actual snow accumulation at this early date. Unexpected birds show up when the ground is suddenly frozen and they are not ready for it. Here is what I saw only at the feeders when I was home today:

  • 19 Wild Turkey
  • 32 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Hairy Woodpecker
  • 2 Northern Flicker
  • 7 Blue Jay
  • 5 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 6 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Carolina Wren
  • 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
  • 1 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Fox Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 26 White-throated Sparrow
  • 78 Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)
  • 3 Northern Cardinal
  • 6 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 3 Common Grackle
  • 3 Purple Finch
  • 22 American Goldfinch
  • 8 House Sparrow

Apart from all my returning visitors and residents, I added a Song Sparrow, an Eastern Towhee, and even a Yellow-rumped Warbler who came by to eat some suet. Two White-tailed Deer stopped to inspect things just before sunset, too. It looked and felt like a mid-December day in every regard. Always remember to have your feeders full before a big snowstorm. Apart from helping the birds immensely, it will pay off with a nice rarity sometime. I am already excitedly awaiting the annual visit of Rusty Blackbirds to my feeders after a sizable snowfall.

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

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!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Harlequin Duck at Milford Point

Late this morning Dennis Varza found a female Harlequin Duck in Long Island Sound waters very close to Milford Point. You may remember Dennis from him finding the White-tailed Kite. Last week he also found a Western Grebe at Milford Point, which I had been waiting for photos of before making a post about. Dennis and the mouth of the Housatonic seem to be a nonstop source of rare birds in 2010, so our thanks and congratulations to him.

During the short time I spent with it, the female Harlequin fed constantly. It dove into the water and popped up to allow us short views repeatedly. It was very close to the end of the plover nesting bar. There were hundreds of shorebirds on the bars. Some gulls and cormorants were in the area, and Brant flew by, swam, and fed as well. I took a few poor photos, one of which you can see below, as I wanted to keep my distance and let it feed.

Harlequin Duck in the center of the photo

Closer view of the female Harlequin

I was happy to see the position it was in as it would be fantastic for many visitors to get great looks with scopes or binoculars. I also tried unsuccessfully to spot the duck from Stratford. I was hoping to be able to tick it off for the Stratford Point list as well as my own town list. The odd location the Harlequin was feeding in helped lead to its demise as mere hours after it was found it was attacked and killed by two Great Black-backed Gulls. Steve Spector was present for the attack and took a short video of it that you can see on his blog if you click here.

It is likely the duck was weak or sick to begin with. It was in an extremely vulnerable position and alone, easy prey for the opportunistic and aggressive species. One evening while the White-tailed Kite was on the beach eating a vole for dinner at Stratford Point I watched a Great Black-backed Gull circling it, looking to snatch the prey away from the raptor. The kite even looked a bit uneasy. While it was a truly sad ending to another beautiful rarity, but this is how nature works. It can often be quite brutal.

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fox Sparrow

As fall sparrow migration begins to wind down we are left to await some of the winter resident species. I have not seen my first American Tree Sparrow of the season yet, but I was able to spot a Fox Sparrow last weekend in the Stratford Great Meadows IBA. While at home today I saw another Fox Sparrow under my bird feeders. It was scratching with the White-throats and picking at things with the Dark-eyed Juncos. The short video below shows it doing just that...

Fox Sparrow from Connecticut Audubon Society.

The last time I had a Fox Sparrow visit the yard was a one-day present on Christmas day in 2008. Be on the lookout for these big (in relative terms) sparrows at your house. It is a good time to spot one, especially during days with poor weather. They can be found quite readily in Connecticut if there is a late winter snowstorm in March as they are forced out into the open to forage. This occurred in 2007. It yielded seemingly nonstop reports from across the state of often multiple individuals that appeared along roadsides and at bird feeders.

This is also a fantastic time to spot some more of the irruptive species, from more Red-breasted Nuthatch to Purple Finch to Pine Siskin. It seems to be a better than usual winter for those species in Connecticut, and more may be coming. I will cover that in detail in another post very soon. Keep a close eye on your feeders!

Video © Scott Kruitbosch

Monday, November 1, 2010

More unusual birds....

The recent weather pattern has dropped a couple of very nice birds in our state. Although these may not be quite of the caliber of Milford Point's LeConte's Sparrow, the birds currently visiting the paddle pool at Cabellas in Hartford (right by Rentschler Field) are still unusual in Connecticut. Unlike the LeConte's Sparrow, these birds are actually easy to observe - which I did for a little bit after work today...
American Golden Plover

And a pair of American Avocets!

Go see these birds if you have a chance - they are about as approachable as it gets. And keep your eyes out for whatever other surprises may be lurking out there still. 'tis the season!
All photos copyright Twan Leenders