Saturday, September 29, 2012


This week I took a Tree Swallow Cruise along the CT River.  In the late summer, tree swallows start to gather in epic numbers along the river and at dusk.  They descend en masse into reed covered islands along the Connecticut River.  My lovely wife surprised with the announcement that some extra cruises had been added to schedule and so off we went.  Peterson has describe the sight as one of the most spectacular within the avian world and boy was he right.  Swallows engulf the sky and almost darken it.  Then the descend in a most grand fashion into the islands.  They do this in the form of a tornado!  They crash land into the reed islands at over 60 mph looking for a place to sleep.  It is an incredible site to behold and I've attached our photos!

2012 Life List:
217 (Broad-Winged Hawk)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall Birds and Birding!

I finally broke the cycle of sleeping in and did some early morning birding.  It was fantastic!  Woodpeckers, Phoebes, Warblers galore.  I loved walking around the park and I even managed to find some black bear scat.  No worries though, I did not run into the bear, its a good sign that the park is supporting a diverse array of life!  Back to birds, I saw a Brown Thrasher which was my second in CT and first in this park!  Cardinals and Black-Capped Chickadees were also bouncing around the park and the air.  No hawks that I could see from the air, but I did see both Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers and a noisy Red-Bellied that was chasing away all the birds it could.  A few Blue Jays and White Breasted Nuthatches were also around.  While I missed out on the American Redstarts, I did manage to find a couple of Chipping Sparrows and some very active Common Yellow Throats.  The Highlight of Park was finding a bunch of Bay-Breasted Warblers that were eating away and getting ready for the migration.  At my second site, I got a Blackpoll Warbler, a first for my Connecticut List and a Saltmarsh Sparrow.  2 Life birds in one day.  I also managed to find some Black-Bellied Plovers, Juvenile Yellow-Crown Night-Herons and a Laughing Gull.  All and all, a good day of birding!

Life list Total:

Links to the Birds:

(Copyright is not Mine, Photo from Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Break too Long

So I've taken a long, long, LONG break.  Well the good news is that I've done some awesome birding in the meantime.  All summer I was making trips and saw some stellar birds throughout my trip.  I'll run through some of the highlights and then the list with some pictures!

Summer 2012 Highlights:
Georgia in June 2012
While I was hunting down a Summer Tanager, I saw my first Ruby-Throated Hummingbird of the Year!  I also found a Dickcissel in a farm in Rutledge, GA.  I never found the Summer Tanager but I did find a Prothontary Warbler!  I was a great time!  I also got married and found a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher at the reception, a life bird for my new wife!

Shenandoah National Park, Early July
The only new bird we got here was a Chestnut-sided Warbler.   However, the birding here was incredible!  Indigo Buntings and Eastern Towhees were ubiquitous!  Ravens and Vultures as well.  While I missed out on finding a Canada Warbler, we did manage to find a flock of Cedar Waxwings, rare for the area, another Dickcissel!  The Find of the Trip though was a Barn Owl, right outside the dining restaurant!  We also found deer, black bears and founda  timber rattlesnake.  A great trip and a great park!

British Columbia and Western Washington, Late July to Early August
A quick list of the birds we saw: Anna's Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Chestnut-Backed Chickadee, Bewick's Wren, Black-Throated-Gray Warbler, Bushtits, California Gull, California Quail, Common Murre, Oregon-Backed Junco, Glaucous-Winged Gull, Heermann's Gull, Marbled Murrelet, Northwestern Crow, Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, Pigeon Guillemot, Rhinoceros Auklet, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Spotted Towhee, Western Gull, Western Tanager, Western Wood-Pewee and a Wilson's Warbler!  A lot of birds but I am still thinking about the birds we chased but couldn't find!  I was really hoping to find a Varied Thrush and Black Oyster Catcher, but alas, I missed out on both of them.  I did enjoy this amazing environment.  We didn't see any bears, but we did see a Salmon fish Ladder, Harbor Seals (pic below) and a wild Mink1  I definitely want to go back to the Pacific Northwest and bird some more!

Great Blue Heron

 Harbor Seals

Life List Total:
214!  (14 past my goal!)