Sherwood Island State Park – Photography Exhibition and Talk

29 07 2009
Wall OF Prints - Sherwood Island Nature Center

Wall OF Prints - Sherwood Island Nature Center

Many of you who live locally (or came on my last walk) will know that the new Nature Center at Sherwood Island State Park is now open. If you didn’t, and or haven’t been yet, it is well worth a perusal if only to get to see some of the stunning photos donated by local photographer (and amigo of yours truly) AJ Hand. There is more about the Nature Center here and the kind of exhibits and activities that they have there (last Saturday they were about to dissect a shark on our arrival – having just eaten I declined the opportunity to view the spectacle). AJ will be giving a presentation at 6:30pm on August 6th on the basics of bird photography at the center which is bound to be a popular event amongst local birders. I hope to see you there!

I have a couple of AJ’s pictures on my blog. If you click the AJ Hand categories tag below you can see a few of his great pictures on my posts. Also check the link to his photos from Sherwood in the links section.





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 luke.tiller@gmail.com 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.

Luke





Poetry in Motion

30 04 2009
Osprey - AJ Hand

Osprey - AJ Hand

Finally getting my brain back into gear after an amazing tour of Colorado. So many highlight moments to enjoy including standing knee deep in snow looking for Williamson’s Sapsucker, rounding up all three Rosy Finches and even getting to hold a few in my hand, Boreal Owl tooting from a mountain pass at midnight, lekking Greater Prairie-chickens surrounding our car on a ranch in Wray and maybe best of all a sunset encounter with my first Moose and a Golden Eagle perched above it as we swept across the plains of Northern Colorado. This week I’ll be putting together the numerous stories from the trip and posting a report here. Details on next years tour can be found here.

Whilst I work on the report I thought I’d share this little poem that my mother sent me from the RSPB site. We have covered bird art, photography and music so lets throw a little prose into the mix. In his final month as poet laureate Andrew Motion (clever post title huh!) has contributed the linked piece to the RSPB ‘Moments’ campaign (poem here). Whilst on the subject of Ospreys, here is a little piece I put together for Windcheck Magazine The artwork for the piece (and above) is provided by my good friend AJ Hand – if you haven’t done so already check out his photography on the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park site in the links.





Northern Saw-whet Owl – Another look!

19 03 2009
Northern Saw-whet Owl - AJ Hand

Northern Saw-whet Owl - AJ Hand

The latest bird reports are pretty depressing so I thought I’d cheer everyone up (including myself) with a picture that AJ Hand snapped of the Saw-whet Owl that I found on my Sunrise Bird Walk in Westport over the last weekend (it had left by the next day). I wonder how many of you eagle-eyed birders noticed the little mouse/vole clutched in it’s talons before I mentioned it (you can spot the paw) . I’m guessing the mouse was the only one not thrilled to see this bird at the weekend! Thanks to AJ Hand for the loan of the picture – another really stunning capture.





More Owl!

28 01 2009

Northern Hawk Owl and Vole - AJ Hand

Northern Hawk Owl and Vole - AJ Hand

AJ Hand, who last weeks owl prowl participants got to meet in the flesh, sent me this stunning picture of the Northern Hawk Owl from New Hampshire. Brilliantly atmospheric and fantastic timing from the photography aspect. Here is the great story that surrounds the shot in AJ’s own words:

“We were shooting this Hawk Owl on Monday, as he sat perched high in a tree,  alertly scanning the countryside. Not long after we got set up, he started cocking his head left and right, and bobbing up and down. Suddenly he swooped down–right at us–and crashed into the snow not 6 feet away. After a brief struggle he popped up with this vole and flew to this perch where he ripped off the head and ate that, then quickly swallowed the rest, neck first . After we got shots of him chowing down,we checked out the murder scene.

It turns out, the vole had been crawling through his subnivean tunnel and came to a spot where it cut across a deep snowmobile track. To continue his journey,  he had to pop out of the tunnel, get across 16 inches of packed snow and reenter the tunnel on the other side of the track. It looked like the owl got him before he even started across, just as he was just peeking out and evaluating the situation. Never had a chance!”