Saturday, December 7, 2019

Leucistic Wild Turkey

A relatively white Wild Turkey is considered leucistic with an albino Wild Turkey with pink or red eyes believed to be only about one in 100,000 as currently noted by Audubon.


The Wild Turkey above (image 1) was photographed in Killingworth, CT USA in October 2019.

This autumn has brought an unusual birding experience for me with the arrival of four leucistic Wild Turkeys within a flock as large as 31 that has been observed several times. These odd turkeys are apparently hens and are not considered in any way related to domesticated turkeys which are white.

This variation of Wild Turkey which might also be called a smoke phase has been noted to be rare though I would suggest is becoming more common with the proliferation of the species.


The Wild Turkey above (image 2) was photographed in Killingworth, CT USA in December 2019.

The variation of the genes of the turkey results in morphs or phases including those described as black (melanistic), red (erythritic), smoke or white. These variations of the turkey and every other species of wild bird is a good example of why they all should be looked at very closely.

There is the occasion in which you may encounter a banded bird as well which, of course, should be reported to the relevant agency.

The range of Wild Turkey has been expanding. Most so into southern Canada provinces from the United States. Losses of the turkey's range shouldn't be considered significant.


The Wild Turkey above (image 3) was photographed in Killingworth, CT USA in December 2019.

The leucistic Wild Turkeys observed here have been continuing with calls of predators heard occasionally.

Wild Turkeys have unfortunately been considered a major nuisance with aggression to people and communities in recent years.

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Saturday, November 30, 2019

New England Hammonasset Mega Rarity

It's not often you get to see a rare bird that arrives in a state and is documented for the first time.

The Brewer's Sparrow above (image 1) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in November 2019.

Such was the case with the arrival of a Brewer's Sparrow in Connecticut at Hammonasset Beach State Park, originally believed to be a Clay-colored Sparrow by Jack Faller on 23 NOV 2019. The bird was correctly identified apparently through a photograph taken by Jack with the photography and birder skills of Jory Teltser as Brewer's Sparrow.

Brewer's Sparrow which is considered a common bird in its normal range of the western United States into Canada and Mexico (declining in numbers) should absolutely not be expected to be seen in the eastern United States.

The Brewer's Sparrow above (image 2) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in November 2019.

After a rainy day (the 2nd known day of the sparrows' presence), I had the good fortune to chase and find this species at Hammonasset Beach State Park with many on hand for the event. This was the third and last day the bird would be seen at the park.

In my relatively brief hours long observation of the Brewer's Sparrow, I believe that it had some sort of affliction with its left eye. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed this.

The Brewer's Sparrow above (image 3) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in November 2019.

Motor birding on my part at the park this day had my total number of species observed restricted.

It was very rewarding to observe the Brewer's Sparrow with its call heard clearly. The BRSP associated with a Song Sparrow and American Tree Sparrow during my observation. The size difference between the other sparrows was striking with the Brewer's much noticeably smaller.

The Brewer's Sparrow above (image 4) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in November 2019. The image above was photographed using an ISO of 1600 which clearly has degraded the value of the image while using a Canon professional camera and lens.

The Brewer's Sparrow is described in David Allen Sibley's 1st edition Guide to Birds as our smallest sparrow. This attribution is not made in Sibley's 2nd edition.

The presence of a Sharp-shined Hawk appearing to make a meal of one of many hundreds, if not thousands, of European Starling did not too directly influence the activity of the sparrows.

The Brewer's Sparrow above (image 5) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in November 2019.

It was with great fortune that I was I able to observe and photograph the Brewer's Sparrow which is believed to be only the third record sighting of the species in New England with previous documented sightings in 1873 and 1914. Frank Mantlik has noted at eBird that a BRSP has also been seen in the state of New York.

I was very frustrated with a continuing image stabilization problem with my Canon EF 600mm lens which has otherwise served me well. Having gone places you would be astounded by not to mention an extremely close encounter with a gator.

The Song Sparrow above (image 6) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in November 2019.

Additional observations at Hammonasset were very rewarding as always.

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Saturday, June 30, 2018

eBird Global Big Day 2018

The eBird Global Big Day has been an early May annual event starting in 2015 sponsored by Cornell Lab offering the opportunity for birders and wildlife enthusiasts around the world to submit their observations.


The Red Fox above (image 1) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.

5 May was the date of this year's eBird Global Big Day while the Cornell Lab has announced another first annual Global Big Day for the Fall season to occur on 6 October this year.


The Red-bellied Woodpecker above (image 2) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Eastern Bluebird above (image 3) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The American Goldfinch above (image 4) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The White-breasted Nuthatch above (image 5) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Northern Cardinal above (image 6) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Tufted Titmouse above (image 7) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Chipping Sparrow above (image 8) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Eastern Bluebird above (image 9) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The European Starling above (image 10) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.

I was compelled to participate in the Spring event this year with three reports submitted. Included were two from a private residence in Killingworth, Connecticut and one from Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Connecticut.


The Baltimore Oriole above (image 11) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The House Finch above (image 12) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Brown-headed Cowbird above (image 13) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Blue Jay above (image 14) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The White-breasted Nuthatch above (image 15) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Red-winged Blackbird above (image 16) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Baltimore Oriole above (image 17) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Black-capped Chickadee above (image 18) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Downy Woodpecker above (image 19) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Blue Jay above (image 20) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.

My goal for the day was to photograph all of the birds I observed. There were a handful of species observed that are not in this post for a variety of reasons. Otherwise, there is a good representation of aves seen during the day.


The American Robin above (image 21) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Canada Goose above (image 22) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Purple Martin above (image 23) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Purple Martin with prey above (image 24) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Purple Martin above (image 25) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Fish Crow above (image 26) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Rock Pigeon above (image 27) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Mallard above (image 28) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Glossy Ibis above (image 29) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Brant above (image 30) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.

Bonus images are included here including #1 of the Red Fox that was present at Casa Almeida in the first week of May reducing the numbers of Eastern Gray Squirrels in the feeder area.


The Red-breasted Merganser above (image 31) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Red-breasted Merganser above (image 32) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Willet above (image 33) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Double-crested Cormorant above (image 34) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Herring Gull above (image 35) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Double-crested Cormorant above (image 36) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Least Tern above (image 37) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Dunlin above (image 38) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Herring Gull with prey above (image 39) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Herring Gull with prey above (image 40) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.

Images #59-#63 were added to represent species of interest that were not photographed and/or observed on the Global Big Day. The Eastern Bluebird, House Wren, and Black-capped Chickadee have made use of one or more of nest boxes available to them at Casa Almeida.

The Ring-billed Gull above (image 41) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Greater Yellowlegs above (image 42) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Common Grackle above (image 43) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Snowy Egret above (image 44) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Little Blue Heron above (image 45) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Great Egret above (image 46) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Rock Pigeon above (image 47) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Osprey above (image 48) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Yellow Warbler above (image 49) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The banded American Black Duck above (image 50) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.

If you have not participated in the eBird Global Big Day events, be sure to do that in the future to ensure continued record breaking accounts for Cornell Lab and eBird.


The Greater Yellowlegs above (image 51) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Least Tern above (image 52) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Mallard above (image 53) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Killdeer above (image 54) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Fish Crow above (image 55) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in May 2018.


The Wild Turkey above (image 56) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Wild Turkey above (image 57) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Ruby-throated Hummingbird above (image 58) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Yellow-billed Cuckoo above (image 59) was photographed at Casa Almeida in May 2018.


The Chimney Swift above (image 60) was photographed at Casa Almeida in June 2018.

Be sure to investigate the reporting of the annual events for 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 which include interesting eBird summaries of reports from around the world.


The Chipping Sparrow above (image 61) was photographed at Casa Almeida in June 2018.


The Baltimore Oriole above (image 62) was photographed at Casa Almeida in June 2018.

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The House Wren above (image 63) was photographed at Casa Almeida in June 2018.