South Windsor Phalarope

6 10 2009

Red Phalarope - Bob Simon

Red Phalarope - Bob Simon

Hi All, I called Sara Zagorski after getting a message that she and Denise Jernigan were looking at a phalarope out on the river in South Windsor on Sunday post the Sunrise Birding Walk. Phalarope ID certainly isn’t easy at the best of times in fall, but at distance it can be very tough. This is a Red Phalarope and I am assuming its a juvenile bird molting into winter plumage hence the orange wash on the throat, and mainly gray upperpart feathering. It also shows a pale bill base which is a feature of Red Phalarope adults but can also be seen in younger birds. Red-necked Phalaropes molt later in the year and you’d expect to still see some/a number of dark juvenile feathers on a young Red-necked at this time of the year. There is a decent article (here), being a British article just substitute Red for Grey. Congrats to Sara and Denise for a great inland fall record and for having the gumption to flag down Bob for the record shots, which he sportingly took from his passing kayak.





Dickcissels at Sherwood

4 10 2009
Dickcissel - Mike Ferrari

Dickcissel - Mike Ferrari

OK, so here are the Dickcissels from Sherwood Island today. From looking at my field guides here is my best guess on age and sex. The brighter bird is an adult female (weak brown malar, brownish nape etc) the immature i’m not sold on either way. My guess would be immature female but would be interested in other thoughts on either bird.





What’s new in Connecticut?

22 02 2009

Annette Cunniffe - LE Owl

Annette Cunniffe - LE Owl

With spring migration noticeably underway for blackbirds (a half million plus of them being noted in the center of the state this week in one giant flock) I thought I might start to make some weekly notes on what might be showing up locally in the form of either migrants or rarities during spring migration. The last week of February and leading into March spring migration is only just underway so the only real signs of northbound movement tends to be blackbirds in the shape of Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles and Brown-headed Cowbirds. As the month draws to a close we might even get to see the first few Tree Swallows winging their way north but it’s still very slow on the migration front although of course there is still the chance of something being found heading in the other direction with Bohemian Waxwings seemingly often arriving in the state in February (on the odd occassion that they do arrive!)

On the topic of rarities here are some possibilities of rarities that have a history of showing late in February in Connecticut: Tufted Duck, American White Pelican, Thayers Gull (as evidenced this year up in Windsor), Tundra Swan and Western Tanager. Extralimital sightings over the last couple of years locally have included such goodies as Ivory Gull (Piermont Pier NY), Scott’s Oriole (PA) and Smith’s Longspur (Jones Beach NY). So like the owl in the above picture my friend Annette sent me keep your eyes peeled for interesting late February birds.