Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp outing – July 11th – Milford Pt CT

30 06 2009

Clapper Rail Chicks - AJ Hand

Clapper Rail Chicks - AJ Hand

Just thought I’d throw up some details for the BWBTAC outing on July 11th.With a little of Dawn’s prompting I am putting together a date for anyone who has a birding blog and wants to spend a day on the wonderful wild coasts of Connecticut (and at an airport and an industrial park or two!!!!) with other blogmeister generals.

Excited to see some old friends and meet some local bloggers as well as the ever-wandering Dawn and Jeff. Anyway details as follows: I suggest that we meet at Milford Point and start our days activities there at 10am (directions below) – which will let everyone who’s traveling get a reasonable start in the morning (and arrive a  little after low tide). Plenty to look out for at arguably CT’s  finest shorebird hotspot – hopefully Nick from ‘shorebirder’ will be available to find us another Red-necked Stint or something (was it really 3 years ago now?) amongst the likely throngs of peeps. After that I’d suggest a look at a few spots in Stratford for coastal sparrows, herons, clapper rail, shorebirds, terns, and the US’s most northerly breeding Boat-tailed Grackle population, a stop at Marnick’s for Lobster Rolls for lunch and then on to my local shorebird hotspot Grace Salmon Park post high tide and perhaps an early evening stroll on the rather spectacular Penfield Reef.

For directions to Milford Point by car check the CAS website here. If anyone wants to try make the trip up via public transport you can get a train from Grand Central NYC to Milford (New Haven Line). Drop me an email and I’m more than happy to pick people up at the station.

Bring yourself, some serious DEET infused insect repellent, beach shoes, water, bins, scope and sense of humor. Look forward to seeing people then.


My birding map updated!

19 06 2009
Pastries at SoNo Bakery!!!!

Pastries at SoNo Bakery!!!!

Just added a few notes to the Fairfield County Birding Map although I note that there are probably a good number of sites to add to it when I have a litle more time. I did however take a few minutes to add a couple of important sites – a few of my favorite post walk eateries. The above photo is from the amazing SoNo Bakery. I think it’s half the reason I get so many birders coming for walks in Norwalk each winter!

Sunrise Birding Walk – June 13 – Trout Brook

18 06 2009

Ovenbird - Luke Tiller

Spent a nice morning out with some of the usual gang at Trout Brook Valley in Weston/Easton. A little bit of a birding by ear experience as although there were plenty of interesting birds around singing up a storm there weren’t many all that keen on making themselves seen on the day. At this time of year I think birding can be a little frustrating if you don’t start to learn a few songs as the dense foliage rarely makes for excellent viewing opportunities.

Anyway it’s always nice to walk around TBV as it has plenty of nice breeding bird species and one or two such as Acadian Flycatcher that are as readily seen there as probably anywhere else in the state. After a couple of hours listening hard we had come up with quite a fine little list for the day and hopefully a few new songs had cemented themselves in everyone’s brains. We also had fun working out the Worm -eating Warbler song and trying to get everyone straight on that identification. Not easy as my previous post notes.

Species List

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, American Robin, Wood Thrush, Gray Catbird, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, House Wren, Carolina Wren, Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Black-and-white, Black-throated Green, Ovenbird, Louisisana Waterthrush, Worm-eating Warbler, Common Yellowthroat , Scarlet Tanager, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Northern Cardinal.

Birds and Baseball

12 06 2009

Once loved, now disgraced, Manny gives cricket a go!

Once loved, now disgraced, Manny gives cricket a go!

With no Cricket to be had out here I have rapidly become a big fan of Baseball and personally there is nothing I love more than watching my beloved Sox beat up on the NY Yankees – so this season has been so much fun thus far- especially as it allows me to give my father-in-law a good ribbing about the game afterward. It seems however that most gulls are Indians fans. Notice how this one dinks the ball past ex-Red Sox Center Fielder Coco Crisp on the way to giving the Indians a walk off hit last night (video here). Looks like the gull flew off ok so no harm done to the bird either.

Death Defying Hummingbirds

10 06 2009

Collared Inca (Ecuador) - Luke Tiller

Collared Inca (Ecuador) - Luke Tiller

A cool article about the aerial acrobatics of humminbirds. Seeing as the paper has illustrated the article with  completely inappropriate photo (of a Broad-billed Hummingbird). I thought I’d do the same. OK I just don’t have any picture of Anna’s Humminbird truth be told. Anyway pretty amazing stuff and goes nicely with the other recent hummingbird post (see below).  Article here. I have decided to make no comment about males doing ridiculous things to impress the female of the species!

Latest Trips – a couple of pictures

8 06 2009
Black Bear Cub - Luke Tiller

Black Bear Cub - Luke Tiller

I am busy finishing up trip reports from Colorado, New York and Montana. Just as a teaser here is one of the pictures. This one is a digiscoped snap of one of the Black Bear cubs that we found frolicking by the side of the road. OK, not a likely inclusion for any copies of National Geographic but it’s all my own work and is a memory that will live with me a long time.

I also note that Gary Howard has started to post a few of his shots from our tour of Colorado in April. Check out the Rosy Finches and other stuff here, Some absolutely cracking photo’s!

Hummingbird Tags and more

7 06 2009

A really cool article here about attaching electronic tags to hummingbirds for the first time in order to try and figure out some of the issues behind what is being considered a global pollination crisis. It seems that forest fragmentation is causing much of the problems from initial research. As birders we are already aware of how fragmentation of habitat affects the breeding success of our woodland birds. It also seems to be an issue for the plant life in the tropics that rely on these little gems for pollination. More from the article here.

If you just want to find out more about Hummingbirds or get involved in some hummingbird projects check out these cool sites. NE Hummers has loads of ways to get involved in recording data about your own New England Hummingbird experiences. They are currently looking for birders to carry out yard counts on July 25-31 (more here) and you can report or just reminisce about out of season rarities (such as last years first Connecticut record of Broad-billed Hummingbird) as well. The Hummingbird Society has loads of info on attracting hummingbirds, video links, galleries and other great stuff including details about endangered hummingbirds around the world check out their website here. You might also want to check out Operation Rubythroat a project aimed at getting students involved in an international project to study the only hummingbird that regularly calls the local vicinity home (more here).