Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Bird Sanctuary In Killingworth, CT Pt. I

The creation of a sanctuary for birds with a few feeders offering a variety of food to sustain them in the winter months was actually an afterthought.


The Brown Creeper above (image 1) was photographed at Casa Almeida in January 2017.

This was when flowering plants and shrubs were planted in the late Fall at the Almeida residence among native Mountain Laurel in Killingworth, Connecticut, a town named in 1667. A few bird feeders were hung among the plants and trees, and dozens of birds responded.


The Dark-eyed Junco above (image 2) was photographed at Casa Almeida in January 2017.


The Eastern Bluebird above (image 3) was photographed at Casa Almeida in January 2017.


The Dark-eyed Junco above (image 4) was photographed at Casa Almeida in January 2017.


The Tufted Titmouse above (image 5) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.

In fact, hundreds of birds hung around through the Winter with their numbers increasing as more feeders were added. Upwards of 90 American Goldfinch were observed at one time at their peak presence primarily feeding on Nyjer seed made available to them.


The Downy Woodpecker above (image 6) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.


The American Goldfinch above (image 7) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.


The White-breasted Nuthatch above (image 8) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.


The Tufted Titmouse above (image 9) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.

Predation was an eventuality and it was observed a few times. There was one occasion when a bird was seen actually taken down. A Sharp-shinned Hawk engaged a Dark-eyed Junco in a spruce tree in the area of the feeders. An extraordinary sight it was to see the hawk in action.


The Brown Creeper above (image 10) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.


The House Finch above (image 11) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.


The Black-capped Chickadee above (image 11) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.


The American Goldfinch above (image 12) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.

A variety of sustenance provided in the feeders included the Nyjer seed, suet, an all purpose mix and dried mealworms with the Brown Creeper the only species seen with regularity not attracted to any of them. 400 pounds of Nyjer seed was consumed in a few months. For a bird attracted to it that weighs less than an ounce, the goldfinch (for the most part) went through it amazingly quickly.


The Mourning Dove above (image 13) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.


The White-breasted Nuthatch above (image 14) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.


The Downy Woodpecker above (image 15) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.


The Red-bellied Woodpecker above (image 16) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.

Problems began to arise shortly after Black Oil sunflower seed feeders were added with extremely effective countermeasures to be mentioned in the next post.


The Northern Flicker above (image 17) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.

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The Eastern Bluebird above (image 18) was photographed at Casa Almeida in February 2017.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Lost Opportunity At Hammonasset

For a handful of days after mid April 2017 Hammonasset Beach State Park was host to a rare species of bird for its time and place.

The Killdeer above (image 1) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.

A conscientious effort on my part to avoid bad weather led to a late attempt to observe a Lapland Longspur that was reported by a handful of Connecticut birders.


The Tree Swallow with prey above (image 2) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.


The Willet above (image 3) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.


The Little Blue Heron above (image 4) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.


The Northern Mockingbird above (image 5) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.


The Glossy Ibis above (image 6) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.


The Osprey above (image 7) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.


The Ring-billed Gull above (image 8) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.


The Double-crested Cormorant above (image 9) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.


The European Starling above (image 10) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.


The Red-winged Blackbird above (image 11) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.

In the brief time I devoted to observe the longspur at Hammonasset Beach State Park it was regrettably absent while other familiar species made brief appearances.


The Greater Yellowlegs above (image 12) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.

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The American Robin above (image 13) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in April 2017.

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Productive Frozen Boat Launch

Rare eBird lists for Connecticut remain a little shorter than those for Florida in my experience.


The 1st Winter Great Black-backed Gull with adult above (image 1) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.

Nonetheless I was intrigued by reports of rare species of goose being reported at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Hartford County Connecticut in mid-winter. A species commonly seen here in New England in the winter months was remarkably seen at Bunche Beach Preserve during December and January in Fort Myers reported as possibly two sub-species of Brant.


The American Crow above (image 2) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.


The immature Herring Gull above (image 3) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.


The Bald Eagle above (image 4) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.

My arrival at the boat launch was around sunrise on a very chilly and windy morning. My target species was Barnacle Goose reported for days earlier than my arrival. The pair of Barnacle Geese apparently making their way around Enfield were hit or miss in the following weeks.


The Ring-billed Gull above (image 5) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.


The Common Goldeneye above (image 6) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.


The hybrid Greylag x Canada Goose with Canada Goose above (image 7) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.

The Connecticut River was partially frozen along its edges which made for an occasional alarm as the ice cracked. I only a few times thought about walking out on it while keeping my senses not to.


The Herring Gull above (image 8) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.


The Canada Goose above (image 9) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.


The Ring-billed Gull above (image 10) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.

A huge number of Canada Goose hid the Barnacle Goose which were remarkably close and unseen from my observation point. With the help of a few expert birders with scopes, a hybrid Graylag x Canada Goose and Pink Footed Goose were eventually photographed as well.


The Ring-billed Gull above (image 11) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.


The Mallard above (image 12) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.


The Mallard above (image 13) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.

It was very rewarding to make the observations. By late morning I was ready to call it a day.


The Barnacle Goose with Canada Goose above (image 14) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.

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The Pink-footed Goose with Canada Goose above (image 15) was photographed at Donald W. Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield, Connecticut in February 2017.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Return To Hammonasset Beach State Park

A second visit to Hammonasset Beach State Park was made a couple of days after my first on New Year's Day when it was warmer with the park surprisingly crowded with visitors.


The Mallard above (image 1) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.

I again made a motor birding tour as the ankle heals. I gravitated to the pond northwest of the traffic circle which I consider a hotspot within the eBird hotspot devoting the two hours before sunset for observations.


The American Black Duck above (image 2) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.


The Northern Harrier above (image 3) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.


The Northern Harrier above (image 4) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.


The Northern Harrier above (image 5) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.

It was an enjoyable afternoon with comparatively balmy conditions. There was apparently not as great a need for the wildlife to take refuge in the pond this day as many flocks of birds flew past.


The Mallard above (image 6) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.


The Great Blue Heron above (image 7) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.


The Northern Harrier above (image 8) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.


The Northern Harrier above (image 9) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.

Hammonasset Beach State Park has shown great potential for interesting wildlife observations even with minimal exploration. The full tour of miles often noted in eBird reports for this venue seems prudent for the ultimate experience.


The Northern Harrier above (image 10) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.


The Mallard above (image 11) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.


The Green-winged Teal above (image 12) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.


The Mallard above (image 13) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.

eBirders Tina Green and Frank Mantlick reported Hammonasset Beach State Park's 305th bird species (Barrow's Goldeneye) 15 February 2017.


The immature Sharp-shinned Hawk above (image 14) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.

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The Mallard above (image 15) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in January 2017.