Friday, September 21, 2012

Birdy Corner = Great Bird

On Wednesday while driving onto campus I was running a little later than usual and was planning on just heading straight up to my building without taking my usual diversion around grounds.  One corner of one of the parking lots is an edge habitat and lawn, we refer to it as the "Sparrow Nook".  I noticed some decent activity, a migrating flock of American Robins, congregating Brown-headed Cowbirds with European Starlings mixed in, and a few Blue Jays poking around as well.  The activity was too much to just drive by.

I noticed something sparrowy and once I had binoculars out was fairly perplexed...  yes it was a sparrow but one that I hadn't seen before.  With no camera and no field guide, I tried to pick out all the features I could and headed up to my building to do some quick internet research.  I couldn't quite pin down the species before my coworker came in and I tried giving her details that maybe she could ID.  Finally, I just dragged us both out there with a point and shoot camera with a 20x optical zoom. 

We had come up with a tentative ID of Lark Sparrow and with some more internet research it was confirmed.  Sue (my coworker) will probably blog some info about the species on our work blog HERE.  The quick story is that Lark Sparrows are vagrants in Connecticut and only a couple show up in CT every year if that.  Oh and it was a LIFE BIRD for me.  Enjoy the grainy photos!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Little Off Course

Emails came over the listservs all day of an American Avocet in Stratford, CT near the Birdseye Boat Ramp.  In need of some species for my state challenge and in need of some gym time, I did a quick workout after work and with plenty of light left, I made my way to the boat ramp.  The last email came in at 5:50pm that the bird was still sitting on a jetty near the boat ramp. 

Tough looking into the sun but the Avocet is way in the back.


I managed to find the bird right away, sitting on the jetty just as stated.  An Avocet had been first sighted on Monday, I'm guessing this is the same bird.  No surprise it was far out, easy to quickly pick up with binoculars, not so great to photograph with a cell phone.  American Avocets breed throughout much of the west and can be found year round on the West Coast.  They winter in Florida and according to The Sibley guide can be found up through North Carolina during migration.  This one got a little off track. 

'record shot'- zoom from the cell phone.