Monday, December 20, 2010

December 19 - Connecticut Rarities & a good wrong turn into Rhode Island

I went out this morning with Simon K. and Bill E. for a trip into Connecticut to chase some rarities.

The first stop was in Westport at the Longacre Golf Course. Arriving just after first light we got a brief look at the Barnacle Goose (thanks to Tina Green who pointed out the bird to us while she was performing her Christmas Bird Count!). This is the same goose seen at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, NY and later in Stamford., CT.   The bird's leg band was proven to be one from Scotland, showing that this bird has indeed traveled very far !

We decided to press onto the next stop, which was a residence in the town of Guilford, for the Calliope Hummingbird. The homeowner came out to greet us, and allowed us to setup scopes to view this tiny hummer. As a high-elevation montane species of the American West the bird did not seem put-off by the cold, however it took only a few short flights during our early-morning visit. Interestingly we could see the bird become more active as the few rays of sun hit its feathers. Unfortunately it was mostly overcast today, so the bird was a bit less active.

Having success so early, Simon decided to try for the Rufous Hummingbird that has been in Sterling, CT for an incredible 70 days now. Once again the homeowners very incredibly gracious an spent some time with us while watching the bird. you can see some of Mark Szanytr's photos here of when it first arrived. The bird now appears more colorful and the tiny red gorget flashed a few times in the morning sunlight.
credit: John Schwarz

We then began heading home and made a wrong turn along the CT border so we ended up at Watch Hill Light on Narraganset Bay in Rhode Island. We did a seawatch from here and had nice views of species like Razorbill, Red-Necked Grebe, Horned Grebe, Purple Sandpipers, Common Eiders, all three Scoter species, Great Cormorants and a few Horned Lark.
Credit: Bob Hazell

 On the way back home we again stopped for much better views of the Barnacle Goose.

Monday, December 06, 2010

December 4 - Western New York

A long ride today to western New York with friends Rob and Simon brought some great birds. The target bird was a Lewis' Woodpecker. This is a species I recently missed while in California a few weeks ago. In fact I had searched almost 3 hours on & around Mesa Grande Road without any luck.
So, given another chance to try for it I was fine with the 4.5 hour drive !  Fortunately we were able to see the bird & to see it well from inside the homeowner's kitchen , as well as, outside the house a bit later.  Quite the beauty, and well worth this effort

credit: Ed N.

Afterward we drove to Cayuga Lake and were able to sustain the snow squall and get nice looks at a male King Eider there.