Sunday, December 09, 2007

December 9 - Hammonasset Park

Early this morning I took the 2-hour drive up to this Connecticut State Park to view the Red Crossbills that have been reported here this week. After about a 15 minute wait I was rewarded with a life-bird in a female Red Crossbill. ABA lifer # 555 !

Soon after the flock of nearly three-dozen came in, showing many male Red Crossbills.

I had tremendous views of these birds first in a bare tree, and then later in their typical pine tree habitat, hanging upside-down cracking open the cones to get at the seeds. Wonderful !

Afterward I met some friends and we birded the other parts of the park. At East Beach we had a large group of Snow Buntings. Next we saw a large flock of Horned Larks, and mixed among these were four of the Lapland Longspur species. All enjoyed very nice views.

Then in a far away tree I saw a small bird. I was only able to get my binoculars on it for a second, and initially I thought it might be the plain old House Finch, before it flew to another nearby tree. This time I got my scope on it to reveal the two-white wings bars and red-capped look of the Common Redpoll ! I have not seen this bird since late December 2001.

Other species seen here today were sparrows of Song, Tree, Fox and White-Throated, along with Dark-Eyed Junco, Black-Capped Chickadee, and Red-Breasted Nuthatches.
Later on while briefly scanning the ocean I saw both the Common & Red-Throated Loons, Horned Grebes, and the Surf & Black Scoters. Overall a great little morning!