Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Good Pictures of Warblers? Prove it

In putting together this collection of pictures, I noticed a similarity to the last collection of warbler photos I  posted.  However, I will say that while trees feature prominently in both sets of photos.  But that is just a good indicator of the habitat of warblers.  Many of our Warblers are denizens of the thick arboreal forests of the Canadian north.  This means that they enjoy leaf canopies and the insects that inhabit that kind of environment.  We only get to share a few weeks out of the year with many of these guys as they head through so make sure to enjoy it!

The photos presented are the work of a lot of patience, knowledge of habitat, and did I mention patience.  Warbler photos are priceless and magical because of that.  They really capture moments in time and moments in life as they display the abilities and wonders of every bird.  So take a look and enjoy my photos!  Let me know which is favorite and which warbler you would love to snap a picture of!   Until next time, get outside and go birding!

Blackpoll Warbler

Cape May Warbler

Blue-Winged Warbler

Chestnut-Sided Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Wild Bird Wednesday - Link here

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Education of Mr. Sibley and his Guide

I am finally getting around to posting a review of the new edition of the Sibley Guide.  I was lucky enough that a local Audubon Chapter and Bird Shop hosted David himself to present his new book and all the work he's done recently.  The talk began with Mr Sibley beginning to talk about how he became interested in making a bird guide. From a young age, Sibley enjoyed drawing birds and was encouraged by several people.  In College, he found the education lacking and decided to pursue the observation of birds as a full-time pursuit.  Once again, Sibley found himself, albeit with some time, supported and encouraged.  His passions and dedication to art continued to become more apparent.  I wondered how different the world would be if more and more people received the same encouragement/patience/opportunity as Sibley had.  Quite different indeed...

But to the guide.  The first thing that hits when you look at the new guide are the colors.  The colors are much more vivid and the contrasts are more stark in comparison to the first edition.  While I could go on and complain about specific colors, I think that I will focus on how much better and clear writings and descriptions paired with better and clearer field markers.  While the pictures are great, the writings are what really stood out to be in this guide.  Check out the first few pages on gulls and flycatchers if you want to see the guide at its best!  Sibley's Guide to Birds is a great part of anyone's library.  Until the next time, get outside and go birding!

Hearing the Author speak

Sibley Guides - Link here

Menunkatuck Audubon Society - Link here

The Audubon Shop, Madison -  Link here

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

An Ode to Photos of Warblers

This is an ode to the thousands of photos I have to Warblers.  While I do have some that allow you to see the field marks, see the contrast of colors, and even enjoy the true beauty of the bird.  But sadly, those views can be rare and grabbing those pictures can be even rarer.  This is an ode to the difficult photos of warblers out there.  The Silouettes, the half shots, the partials wings, and tail views of birds fill my computer and external hard drive.

Why do most photos of warblers end up as partials or fragments of the birds they represent?  Well, warblers are tiny, fast, and often live at the tops of trees.  That means that good warbler pictures have to overcome those challenges.  Sometimes you can (and I will give you all some good pictures next time) but today is all about those pictures that drive us crazy.  So take a look, sympathize and let's move on and just enjoy the fact that we get to share some more time with warblers as they move on to their breeding grounds.  Until the next time warblers, go birding!

American Redstart

Backlight Bay-Breasted Warbler

Can you find the Cape May Warbler?

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday - Link here

2014 Year Birds: 241 (9 to go!)
CT Year Birds: 225 (GOAL!)
Life List: 342 (58 to go!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Accidental Big Day

So this past Weekend, I found myself doing something I had never done before.  After a productive stop at Bent of the River Audubon Center (link here) where I had over 50+ species of birds, I thought to myself after a friend mentioned it, if I could break 100 in a day.  Well, I tried and I did.  It wasn't a really planned big day and in fact, if i could do it all over again, I would structure my day a little differently.  But all that being said, I had a rather good day.  I've included my list and some photos from the day below.

Until the next time, get outside and go birding!

Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Common Merganser
Wild Turkey
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Bald Eagle
American Oystercatcher
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Piping Plover
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Upland Sandpiper  FOY
Ruddy Turnstone
Least Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Least Tern
Common Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Willow Flycatcher  FOY
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher  FOY
Eastern Kingbird
Blue-headed Vireo  FOY
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow FOY
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow FOY
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Carolina Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Ovenbird FOY
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler FOY
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler FOY
Blackburnian Warbler FOY
Yellow Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler FOY
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler FOY
Black-throated Green Warbler FOY
Canada Warbler FOY
Wilson's Warbler FOY
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow FOY
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow FOT
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting FOY
Bobolink FOY
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Canada Warbler, a first for CT for me

Short-Billed Dowitcher

Lincoln's Sparrow


Bobolink, another CT first for me

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Non-Warbler Special: Shorebirds

While warbler neck begins to strike the Birders of North America, other poor birds are ignored.  This tragedy can be reserved though.  Don't just look up, take some time and look down.  While walking a trail in a Connecticut Warbler Hotspot, I found a Solitary Sandpiper strutting around.  It was a great find for me in a park most noted for its warblers.

Its worth checking out a beach or two over the next few weeks.  Lots of birds will be using beaches to prepare for nesting and as staging grounds for migration.  They are important habitats for any number of species.  They are also hotly contested areas too.  Developers also see them as key habitats.  But that is a bit off topic.  Enjoy the Warblers and enjoy all the birds!

Happy Mothers Day and Go Birding!

Snowy Egret and a Yellowlegs!

Solitary Sandpiper

Silhouette of a Solitary Sandpiper

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Spring-ing into Action

Spring is here, although some of the temps up here in the Northeast may fool you.  Birds are definitely moving through and some real rarities are popping up.  I dipped out on a Yellow-Throated Warbler that appeared at a local park but I am so excited to get all the great birds that are going to start moving through our state and across the continent.  With migration here, you should expect a lot more pictures of warblers on this blog, but I thought I would wrap up this post with a couple of useful tips for this migration season.

Know Your Habitat - Knowing what kind of habitat can help eliminate some species and help you figure out what to look for.

Know Your Trees - Similar to above, some birds like certain trees.  Knowing if you are looking at a cedar instead of a pine or a oak can help you eliminate one or two possibilities.

Listen First - Constantly listen as you walk.  Try to distinguish between the various calls and sounds you hear around you.

Check Flocks - If you know that the group of 6 Yellow-Rumps is just a group of Yellow-Rumps instead of just guessing, you are sure not to miss an odd bird.

Walk Light and Check the Trail Ahead - Don't go stomping like a mad person.  You will miss great views and sounds if you make a lot of noise.  You will even be able to catch some birds on the trail posing if you can be quiet enough.

More pictures coming soon!  In the meantime, get out and go birding!

Pine Warbler

Eastern Cottontail ... Warbler?

Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher

Next Time More Warblers!

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday