Sunrise Bird Walk and lingering birds

30 11 2008

Cedar waxwings

Cedar Waxwings

Saturday morning I struggled with my general antipathy towards twitching and carried on with the scheduled bird walk instead of hot-footing it up to Windsor to see the gull.  We hit Cove Island in Stamford and then had a quick wander around Greenwich Point. Things were a little quiet as they were last week and we had to work for the birds.

Apart from a couple of near misses (I picked up a probable WW Crossbill flyover but it only called once and couldn’t see the bird fly over so am not 100% on the ID – needed a second call to confirm it in my mind and a chunky yellowy-orange bird that I flushed from some multiflora rose that was almost certainly a chat that I couldn’t relocate despite pishing and a good deal of searching) probably the highlight of the day were a group of a dozen or so American Pipits that I picked up calling in flight and then came in and contemplated landing at Cove Island only to decide it looked a little too busy with the group milling around, so they simply flirted around us almost like leaves swirling around our heads before heading on to places west. Over in Greenwich we picked up 3 Snow Buntings in the Clam Bake area. I’d hoped to maybe find an owl in the Holly Grove down at the point but although there was whitewash it looked old and no sign of pellets or owls. The only other real bird of note was a Chipping Sparrow lingering at the park.

This year has been simply amazing for late birds. It’s almost like you can throw the late date information out of the window this year. It was apparent things were generally moving late when we had an amazing walk on October 4 with Sunrise that yielded 12! Warbler species on this late date (see post here). Since then late birds have been turning up in quantities with amazing variety.  This week a Tennessee Warbler showed up in New Haven and was accompanied by a Black & White Warbler (ID clinching pics here). The Tennessee’s I had at Allen’s in late September and early October were already uncommon at that time of year, late November is bordering on the ridiculous (although not totally unprecedented we have at least one previous report from late November in the state).

Even in my own recent travels I have picked up a good number of late-ish birds. Over the last 3 days I have had 5 Chipping Sparrows (not unprecedented again at this date but 5 seems like a lot of lingering birds). I also had a Palm Warbler hanging out in Wilton 2 weeks later in date than I have had them in previous years and yesterday I found a Blue-headed Vireo which is almost 3 weeks later than I have previously recorded them in Wilton. Not sure what the exact November tally of warblers is in Connecticut this year but I’m pretty certain it is over a dozen species by now – pretty amazing. Can I hear you say global warming? Personally I’m not totally sure what the answer is but it certainly feels like there are some strange birds out there in the wilds of Connecticut right now.

Trip List – Saturday Nov. 29

Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, A. Black Duck, Gadwall, Mallard, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, Hooded Merganser, Coopers Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Osprey, Killdeer, Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, MODO, Rock Pigeon, Monk Parakeet, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, American Pipit, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carloina Wren, American Robin, Hermit Thrush, Northern Mockingbird, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Eastern Towhee, American Goldfinch, House Finch, White-throated Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, DE Junco, Common Grackle, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, European Starling, House Sparrow.

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