Archive for the ‘Connecticut’ Category

‘Tis the season

Since we are now in the peak migration period for Broad-winged Hawks in the northeast, I figured I’d share some videos I took this afternoon at the Quaker Ridge Hawk Watch in Greenwich, CT (over 6000 were seen there today). Broad-wings migrate in large groups, often forming “kettles” of swarming, swirling birds. Quite a sight!

Make sure you watch FULL SCREEN in HD for maximum effect!


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Today was the inaugural field trip of the newly formed Connecticut Young Birders Club. Close followers of this blog probably know that I’m actively involved with the New York YBC, but I couldn’t resist joining the CT crew–especially with some great birding planned for the day.

Our destination: Hammonasset Beach State Park, one of the best (if not the best) birding spots in the state. As one of our leaders, Frank Gallo, put it (and I’m heavily paraphrasing here), a bad day at Hammo is a good day at almost any other place.

Indeed, this proved true. As one might expect in mid-November, there weren’t vast numbers of birds to be seen. But, those that we did see were pretty nice, regardless. One of our first birds was a Lapland Longspur, which did a terrific job of staying hidden in the grass (hence, no photos). However, it was surrounded by good numbers of Horned Larks and Snow Buntings, birds that I never get tired of watching.

Snow Buntings in flight.

Other nice birds at Hammo included eight Common Eiders and a lone Purple Sandpiper.

We then drove to East Shore Park, the home of a sewage treatment plant. That’s terrific for birding, as the warmth produced by the plant attracts insects during the cooler months, which in turn attracts lingering insectivorous birds. We weren’t disappointed, as there was an impressive amount of late migrants, including American Redstart, Pine Warbler and Blackpoll Warbler. But, best of all, were two Cave Swallows–Mexican birds that, for largely unknown reasons, occur in small numbers along the coast in the northeast during November.

Cave Swallow

But why not stop at Mexico? We also went to check up on the local celebrity, a Fork-tailed Flycatcher staying in Stamford, CT. This bird is thought to be a member of the nominate subspecies savana, birds from southern South America that migrate north for the austral winter (our summer). Conceivably, this first-year bird, instead of migrating south after the winter, migrated north, to us. However it got here, it’s an awesome bird. I phonescoped this video:

I think I can safely say that this was a great first trip for CTYBC. Looking forward to many others!

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More migrants

Warbler migration is beginning to wind down for the year in the northeast, but there were still plenty left for a nice morning flight this Saturday at Greenwich! Here are some pictures from that morning.

Swamp Sparrow

Black-throated Green Warbler

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Quick quiz...anyone?

And morning flight:

Yellow-rumped Warblers made up most of the flight.

Redstarts had been very plentiful just a couple weeks ago, but I only picked out a couple on Saturday morning.

Still many Black-throated Greens.

And a decent number of Blackpoll Warblers.

Probable Bay-breasted--strong wingbars and brightly colored face with buff wash below.

The first male Black-throated Blue I've photo'd in flight.

Some Magnolias around as well.

Palm Warblers have become more common in the past week.

So have Purple Finches.

Northern Parulas


Blackpoll. I think.

And still many Monarchs moving through.

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