While running some errands today around town I stopped at Booth Park and also the community gardens. I quickly walked to some of the prime sparrow habitat at clearings along the perimeter of the open areas. While diversity wasn't outstanding, the Northern Juncos were flying everywhere making some of the amazing noises only they can. To me these 'cute' little birds have calls that sounds like they were made by a synthesizer. Two immature hawks were looking for meals, a Red-tailed Hawk and beautiful Coopers Hawk. Many more birds were present that one would expect to see, although the one standout species was Yellow-bellied Sapsucker working in a cherry tree.
The community gardens have been the source of a few good species in the past couple of months. Today was nothing too unusual but it afforded me the chance to take a couple of nice photos. More practice for when I get a better lens.
Savannah Sparrow can be superficially misidentified as Song Sparrows but you can quickly learn the differences. The best way is to get out there and look! Savannah Sparrow lack the spot in the chest, reddish colors are restricted to the wing, and heads and face are whiter vs. gray in Song Sparrows and that's only needed when you can't see the yellow lores.
This bird took me a few extra minutes to identify because of its strange appearance. It appears to have swollen eyes and possibly some missing feathers around the eye. This female house finch is probably infected with an eye disease they are commonly known to contract. Although, fewer and fewer birds are being found infected, it obviously still around. Hopefully, this bird will be able to make it through the winter with this problem. For more information on this disease and recognizing it, check out this link. http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/science-stories/past-stories/house-finch-disease/
Any time you can find a warbler at this time of the year is a pleasure. At the gardens this afternoon were two Palm Warblers working around the small plots. Altogether it was a nice little stop and I was lucky enough to find a gardener who could answer some questions about renting space for next year!
When I think back on memories from childhood, there is a strong theme of being outdoors, collecting insects for pets, and picking every leaf I could find. Although my interests expanded, in college I somehow came back to my roots and chose biology as a major. My love of natural history grew in conjunction with my knowledge, leading to career path of the same. After a brief stint with the US Forest Service, I now work at a natural history museum. Although, I have been participating in Christmas Bird Counts for over 10 years, I started birding in earnest in September of 2009. Since then the obsession has grown, equipment has been purchased, and lists have expanded. While, I love exploring my native state of Connecticut for birds, I enjoy travelling and hope to gear my trips more for birds in the future.