Ghostbird – The Ivory-billed Movie

15 12 2008

Why are there so few movies about birds? It certainly feels like there is a market out there for them, as evidenced by Winged Migration and March of the Penguins. Anyway this movie takes a closer look at the possible rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (more on the movie here).

Christmas Bird Count 1 – New Canaan

15 12 2008
New Canaan Reservoir

New Canaan Reservoir

I arrived bight and early pre-dawn to hit the New Canaan portion of the Stamford/Greenwich Xmas Bird Count. The day got off to a flying start. As I scanned through a group of gulls sitting on the ice, they suddenly all flushed drawing my attention to a beautiful adult Bald Eagle that was flying the length of the reservoir towards me. It perched on a nearby island and would have provided the opportunity for a great digiscoped shot had it not been for my camera deciding it was way too cold to operate!

The reservoir is a beautiful spot and I soon tallied a good number (but surprisingly small variety) of waterfowl. I then met up with my co-CBC’ers for the day. Elsbeth has been doing this count for many years and recalls the time when Ruffed Grouse and Evening Grosbeak were not just a CT Xmas bird counters dream (conversely of course there were no eagles at that time thanks to the killer influence of DDT) and Melody a enthusiastic beginner birder. We hit a good number of spots on the day and worked hard for our birds, grabbing just a quick sandwich lunch at New Canaan Nature Center.

It was a fun but exhausting day in the field which culminated with 44 species of bird. It’s always amazing what birds can be missed during these kind of count situations but even I was shocked to realize that I didn’t have an American Robin on the day until one chattered up a warning as I crept out of the reservoir in the near dark.

Birds and Numbers on the day:

Canada Goose (83), Mallard (103), American Black Duck (87), Ring-neck Duck (12), Bufflehead (3), Common Merganser (287), Hooded Merganser (16), Ruddy Duck (48), Turkey Vulture (7), Bald Eagle (1), Sharp-shinned Hawk (1), Red-tailed Hawk (7), Wild Turkey (4), Ring-billed Gull (15), Herring Gull (2), Great Black-backed Gull (2), Mourning Dove (5), Belted Kingfisher (1), Red-bellied Woodpecker (5), Northern Flicker (2), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1), Downy Woodpecker (7), Hairy Woodpecker (1), Blue Jay (7), American Crow (191), Tufted Titmouse (31), Black-capped Chickadee (28), Brown Creeper (1), White-breasted Nuthatch (9), Winter Wren (1), Carolina Wren (7), Golden-crowned Kinglet (1), Eastern Bluebird (4), Hermit Thrush (2), American Robin (1), Northern Mockingbird (2), Cedar Waxwing (3), Song Sparrow (13), White-throated Sparrow (39), Dark-eyed Junco (47), Northern Cardinal (16), American Goldfinch (21) House Sparrow (10)

Sunrise Bird Walk – December 13

15 12 2008

Another chilly but beautifully sunny day in the field that didn’t go totally unrewarded. Unfortunately the highlight birds midweek didn’t get relocated (WW Crossbill, Glaucous Gull) but we did manage to track down a decent assortment of birds including another IPSWICH SAVANNAH SPARROW (that’s three of the estimated 3-6000 seen over the last two weeks) and  a feisty MERLIN that zoomed right past us as it took a typical ground hugging attack trajectory towards the Snow Bunting flock that we were about to go look through (can’t hold it against it too much though as it did perch for perfect views a little later).

Other uncommon species on the day were one immature SNOW GOOSE, one probable LESSER CANADA GOOSE, three fairly mobile AMERICAN PIPITS, 1 or 2 fairly uncooperative PINE SISKINS and one equally uncooperative PURPLE FINCH. We also had a nice flyover of Horned Larks which nicely highlighted the difference in their flight calls from the American Pipits.

All in all a nice day in the field and one on which I got to meet a fellow WordPress Blogmeister, Susan.

Trip Species List

Great Blue Heron,  Mute Swan, Snow Goose, Canada Goose (+ probable lesser Canada), American Black Duck, Mallard, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Hooded Merganser, Turkey Vulture,  Red-tailed hawk, Merlin, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Mourning Dove, Monk Parakeet, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Horned Lark,  American Pipit, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Carolina Wren, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Blue Jay, American Crow, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, House Finch, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow,  ‘Ipswich’ Savannah Sparrow, DE Junco, European Starling, House Sparrow.