Weekend Bird Walk – New Canaan and Saugatuck

11 05 2009
Black & White Warbler - Luke Tiller

Black & White Warbler - Luke Tiller

Due to a clash of commitments this weekend I had to move my weekend walk to the Saturday. Things looked a little dreary weather wise, and in the lack of birds at first with just a few migrant warbler putting on an appearance at New Canaan. Probably the highlight of the walk there was a group of four Bobolinks (2 males and 2 females) that appeared to be checking out the fields at New Canaan. It was cool to get such great looks at these great birds and to listen to the males wonderful ‘bobolink’ song (here).

Next we were on to Saugatuck Falls. Being just 10 minutes or so in the car from my house this is really one of my favorite spring and fall warbler spots. The mix of cedar fields, hemlocks, river edge, marsh, scrubby fields etc makes for a nice range of habitats in which to pick up warblers. Over the years good finds have included: Purple Martin, Yellow-breasted Chat and a wealth of migrants particularly northern specialties that seem to be attracted in, such as Philadelphia Vireo, Blackburnian, Bay-breasted and Cape May. In my humble opinion it is also probably one of the more reliable spots to find Olive-sided Flycatcher locally and perhaps in the state. I seem to get one a season there most years. The site is also fairly small (well the most birdy bits are) so it can be birded fairly quickly if you just have a spare hour or so.

Although numbers were again a little sparse the quality quickly made up for the quantity. On arrival at the school parking lot for John Read Middle School Joe ‘golden ears’ Bear, who had decided to join us for the day, picked up the song of what he believed to be a Yellow-throated Warbler (song here). Of course Yellow-throated is probably the rarest of the more regularly occurring species in the state so he didn’t want to jump on the call and we decided to go check it out imagining that maybe there was a more prosaic answer (a bird singing an off call or something?). Anyway as we got closer it seemed fairly obvious that this was going to be something exciting and within a few minutes the Yellow-throated Warbler had revealed itself to us as it sang from the tippy-tops of an oak woodland behind the school (all good birders should know that in spring especially, where there are oaks there are almost certainly migrant warblers – they love the things). An unbelievable find! The bird eventually revealed itself to us and although it was staying near the canopy of the trees we all managed to get fine looks at this cracking bird, a lifer or state bird for many involved.

With that kind of start it was going to be a tough act to follow. In general there wasn’t too much to be found although we did add a few year birds to a few lists, in the shape of an accommodating Veery, a Yellow-throated Vireo and a cheeky little Ruby-throated Hummingbird. The lesson bird of the day was a nice Northern Waterthrush, which gave us nice obliging views, a good comparison for those that had such good looks at Louisiana the previous week. It’s hard to have a bad day out in Mid-May but a great day like this one are few and far between. Funnily enough at the start of the morning Wendy (one of the Sunrise regulars) had asked me what i’d like to find today. I had jokingly replied Yellow-throated Warbler – next time I am wishing for Eskimo Curlew!

Trip List:

Canada Goose, Mallard, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Great-crested Flycatcher,Eastern Kingbird, American Robin, Wood Thrush, Veery, Eastern Bluebid, Gray Catbird, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, House Wren,  Yellow-throated Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Warblers: YELLOW-THROATED, Pine, Yellow, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue, Yellow-rumped, Black-and-white, Magnolia, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat and American Redstart.  Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, Baltimore Oriole, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Northern Cardinal, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Hose Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow, European Starling.



One response

12 04 2010
Sunrise Birding Walk – April 11th 2010 « Under Clear Skies

[…] enough one of them was found by myself and Joe Bear on a Sunrise Birding Walk which Katie was on (blast from the past report here). This was a  fantastic find for Connecticut and for Sherwood Island State Park in particular, as […]

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