Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quick Long Beach Stop

I stopped at Long Beach in Stratford on my way home last night. I must admit it was pretty quiet but nice! The water was pretty calm and only a few people were parked by the time I got there. One Ring-billed Gull was feeding by a jetty, with a Double-crested Cormorant not too far away taking a few dives. On the marsh side was about 20 Brant in two groups swimming 'upstream'. Dusk fell pretty hard and so I decided to head out and a woman was feeding another group of gulls on the way out, all ring-billed.

Luckily I had a chance to drive out to the West Haven shore at lunch with a co-worker and we got a great little group of birds. The standouts were the Peregrine Falcon that flew over and a group on 3 American Oystercatchers out on the mud flats.

I'm glad I got to do a little extra time outside because with the continued rain today and volleyball planned the next few nights, it will be Saturday before I have a chance to get out again!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A mish mash

Originally I had plans to take a little walk around on Saturday but a volleyball tournament and some rain got in the way. So I saved my birding for Sunday. I headed down to Long Beach in Stratford to see who was around. There were several species of gull but I realized that gull identification is something I need a lot of practice at. There were several Herring Gulls and a couple of Ring-billed Gulls. One gull seemed to have a very distinct margin to the mottling on the "hood" that seemed different to me and I've heard rumors of Thayers Gulls being around.... Also, there was one gull that to me had a very distinctive red spot with a black band on the bill in a mature bird. I might need to head back and see if I can see it again because I didn't look to see the skin color of the legs. Anyway, at least one gull was willing to cooperate with being identified.

Other birds of interest were a group of 15 Brant, a Great Egret, Double-crested Cormorants, and some Monk Parakeets. Pretty quiet over all and I didn't really see or hear any sparrow but maybe there isn't enough vegetation for them to hide in.

After that I had a pupkin carving party to go to on a small portion of a resevoir. I didn't have time to really look at things but heard were a TON of birds and I really hope I can go back and spend some more time looking around. A nuthatch was calling from an evergreen tree and sounded a little nasallier than the normal White-breasted... maybe a red-breasted. Three Mallard Ducks were swimming around. White-throated sparrows were chipping and singing from along the brush on the shore and sounded like they may have roosted in some evergreens across the way. Kinglets, Black-capped Chickadees, and Tufted Titmice were also heard. And even on the way out after the party in the dark there were 2 Great-horned Owls calling to each other, one was very near. All together it was great just being outside and having a chance to see some nature.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Practice and a Lifer

Anytime you have an afternoon off is a great time to get some things done that you've been putting on the back burner. For me that's almost how birding has been. It's something I have always had an interest in, I just have put spending time doing it for other activities. Now as I begin to relearn and expand my bird identification skills, I'm taking every opportunity to do it. So, with the afternoon off what better thing to do than go find some birds.

Well starting with a quick walk around lunchtime at work, Sue and I came up with about 10 species, (I'll have to check her blog). Then I headed over to Hammonasset to see the Hudsonian Godwit that has been around for a couple of days. After that I had stumbled across some people watching a Redtailed Hawk feasting on a Herring Gull. While trying to verify that I was looking at a Merlin in the distance, a different one flew right over my car at only around 20 feet up.

Then I made a quick stop at Boothe Park in Stratford and made a quick walk around: Bluejay, Tufted Titmouse, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, House Sparrow, and American Robin. Maybe not an exceptional list but still some good practicing!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sundays additions

Sunday was cold and rainy and I admit that I didn't go outside. I was planning on spending the morning looking for sparrows at a workshop but the rain cancelled those plans. But Sunday's weather couldn't keep the birds quiet and the yard species list grew.

American Robins, European Starlings and Northern Flickers finally decided the fruits on the dogwood in the front yard were ready to eat.

At the feeder were the usual suspects, House Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Rufous-sided Towhee, and Bluejays.

Flyovers included Ring-billed gulls and American Crow.

Since the feeders have gone up I haven't seen any Monk Parakeets. Hopefully they will stay scarce this winter.

I wasn't here during the daylight today so, no birds at home, only at work.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

First Birds on the Feeder, Stratford, CT

So, I filled up the bird feeders for the first time at the new house a couple of days ago. Up until yesterday evening, the only bird to visit them had then been a single female house sparrow (BOOOORRRING!) Since then the action has picked up. Here is the first few species to visit.

House Sparrow
Field Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-breasted Nuthatch
Song Sparrow

American Crow
Rock Pigeon
Downy Woodpecker
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Kinglet sp.
Gimpy (Field Sparrow) at the feeder

I just put some suet out this morning so I guess we will see if that encourages any more new visitors.