Monday, December 09, 2013

December 7 - Nutmeg State Chases

I went out with friends Andy E. and Jennifer C. today on a trip up to Connecticut to see if the Fork-Tailed Flycatcher was still around.
This bird had been discovered last Saturday November 30th at the ferry launch in Hadlyme, CT and it had been quite cooperative for literally hundreds of birders since then.  While we all had seen great views of the previous Connecticut State Record of Fork-Tailed flycatcher back in November 2010, this South-American bird is such a rarity one is obliged to see it again !

The nearby General Store was helping out any wayward travelers with this clever adaptation of their Daily Specials blackboard !

We arrived just past 8 am and were happy to see about a dozen birders already on site, including one familiar New Jerseyan in the name of Marc C.  The group quickly directed us on where to see the bird.  Fortunately the bird was quite active despite the frosty morning and it afforded fine views for long periods of time while it coughed up the undigested parts of yesterday's insect meals.  We were on a tight schedule today and could only enjoy the Flycatcher for about 45 minutes.

Here are some shots for documentation purposes only.  Many other have fantastic images of this bird.

See Tim Antinaitis's image here and see the Connecticut Audubon site for more

We then began heading back westward and made our first stop at nearby Hammonasset State Park.  "Hammo" was it's typically rewarding stop.  First up at Meigs Point Nature Center we had Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, and among them was a single Lapland Longspur.  While there a local birder Jesus T. informed us of a Snowy Owl being seen just about 150 yards away.  So after a short walk we all go to enjoy seeing this magnificent species.

I had relayed the Lapland Longspur sighting to Marc C. and while on his way to meet me, Marc was briefly distracted by three Clay-Colored Sparrows on the entrance road to the park.  So Marc politely told me about the sparrows and we went off in search of them, while he focused his attention on the Longspur search.  Indeed we all found the birds we were after !

The final stop today was in East Haven along the southern shore 's Brazos Road.  This spot has been productive over the years and today's target was a drake (male) Barrow's Goldeneye.  The raft of Goldeneye was quite distant however in between the waves & troughs we were able to pick him out at various times.

A great day in the Nutmeg State !