Stellwagen Bank Trip report - June 3,
This trip was
originally scheduled for May 19, 2018 but forecasts of high winds, high
seas and rain caused postponement until June 3rd. On that new June 3rd
date we had no rain but the winds kicked up and the seas became rough,
forcing us to abort the trip after just three hours. The Captain kindly
provided rain-checks for future trips on his whale-watching boat this
year for all of the 70 birders and whale watchers on board.
We left the
dock at 7am, with 2-3 foot seas, and a remarkably beautiful clear breezy
day, around 60F. Within several hours, however, growing winds
caused 6-8 foot seas and too much bouncing around for good bird
watching, so we elected to abort the trip and return to dock. We
did see three humpback whales in central Stellwagen Bank along with the
Gulls, 20 Greater Black-backed gulls, 3 Double-crested Cormorants, 2
Common Loons, 3 Northern Gannets, and 2 Wilson's Storm-petrels. We
tried but were unable to find any shearwaters, jaegers or waterfowl.
The weather was also too dynamic to allow our plankton tow or
deploying our Secchi disk.
fewer birds than hoped for, but enjoyed a beautiful windy sunny
morning on the ocean. The full trip report is available at
Respectfully submitted, Tom Robben
Greenstone Hollow Nature Preserve - May 26,
The day was clear and sunny. We could not
ask for a nicer day for our start of nesting season walk. The leaves were
out, so we practiced birding by ear. Five of us gathered for the
Greenstone trip, including two new members. Welcome to Hartford Audubon.
The roadside started us off with a variety of birds. A Green Heron
flew over. We had several Blue-winged Warblers that were the
abundant nester we found. We also had an Eastern Kingbird. This
was a new species for the preserve.
In the shrubby field we found a scattering of Yellow Warblers. We
are trying to improve the habitat for such shrub nesting species. We also
had a number of Great-crested Flycatchers. This was a new species
for the preserve. Several Baltimore Orioles were singing, but the
nests were hidden.
Crawling towards the road was an Eastern Box Turtle. It was just
sitting there closed up in its shell. We moved it across the road in the
direction it was heading and wished it well on its way.
In the marsh we saw a Red-winged
Blackbird nest with the female sitting on it. Then she flew off and
returned with some yummy morsel for the chicks, and repeatedly flew off
and returned to feed the young. The nest was not well hidden, so we got
to see it easily. I reported this to the Bird Atlas project. To end it,
we had a Wood Duck fly over.
We had a total of 34 species, including 4 warblers.
Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden
Tanager Hill - May 9, 2018
Tanager Hill is, without a doubt, the most beautiful birding location in
Simsbury. And it happens to lie directly under the main approach into
Bradley Airport. For the sake of our May 9th fieldtrip we had
to add seven species of “airline” birds in order to bring our total to
forty. Take away the airlines, and our total was a meager thirty-three
species. Fortunately, our dilemma was mitigated by spectacular looks at
several very cooperative Blue-winged Warblers. Sitting boldly in
the sun along the powerline, the Blue-wings dazzled us. Admittedly, their
wings are not JetBlue, but they are blue enough to create a
wonderful contrast with their vibrant yellow heads and undersides. We
suspect that at least several were males, posturing and displaying with
the hopes of being United with a willing female. Also putting-on a
show was a very cooperative Louisiana Waterthrush. Sitting
patiently on a tree limb, it gave us a great opportunity to discuss the
differences between it and its close cousin, the Northern Waterthrush. We
wondered where this one wintered. Did it come north from the Caribbean ?
Or perhaps it arrived from the Southwest, crossing the Gulf of
Mexico and the Mississippi Delta on its way to Connecticut.
Although our target bird, the Hooded Warbler, did make a brief
appearance, it was seen by only a few of us. Fortunately, the Hooded is a
reliable nester at Tanager Hill, and at least one of our participants
returned the next day for an excellent look. Finally, a Barred Owl,
made a spectacular and unexpected appearance, to the delight of all.
Looking regal and All American, he showed lots of Spirit by
giving everyone an extended audience. Incredibly, there was no sighting
of the namesake Scarlet Tanager. Either he missed his flight, or perhaps
he continued non-stop to the Air in Canada.
Respectfully submitted, Doug Beach and Jon Ward
Quarry Park and Connecticut River
Floodplain - May 5, 2018
partly cloudy and warm day greeted us as we started out the walk. There
had been a heat wave the previous three days, and the leaves were coming
out. Eight of us turned out to see what was in the park.
The upper level had a few birds new for the year, Baltimore Oriole,
and Grey Catbird. We heard a Hairy Woodpecker, an unusual
one for this trip. The upper part of the quarry had a wind blowing, so
birds were few and far between.
On the lower levels we found several singing Wood Thrush. We had a
Red-shouldered Hawk fly over, a new species for this trip. We had
a Rose-breasted Grosbeak singing in the woodlands.
We also found several warblers, Black and White, American Redstart,
Black throated Blue, and Pine. We found an Ovenbird
skulking under a log, a new species for this trip. We had a Northern
Parula that was identified by photo. We also found two
Brown-headed Cowbirds chasing a female. The quarry part of the trip
netted 37 species.
The meadows were flooded over from the
recent rain, so we took the second part of the trip on the Wood Parcel on
Middletown Ave. In the Wood parcel we had a Green Heron fly over.
We had two warblers, Black-throated Green and Yellow, both
singing. We had a Baltimore Oriole stripping nesting material off
some small plants. A good sign of a nest to come. And we heard a
Warbling Vireo in the trees.
The Wood parcel part of the trip netted 23 species. Overall we had 46
species, including 8 warblers. The results were shared with the CT Bird
Atlas project as nesting activity was found.
Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden
Lower Greenwood - Barkhamsted walk - May 5, 2018
On the 5th of May 14 of us explored Lower Greenwoods in Barkhamsted. The
property is owned by MDC and our birding was done by walking down the dirt
road. We were
rewarded with great views of 51 species. We had the pleasure of watching
several Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Baltimore Orioles flying and landing
in the trees together. We also observed a sapsucker excavating a hole in
the front and back of a tree. It will be an interesting tree to check on
and figure out if they use either hole as a nest site. As always a great
morning spent with friends.
Respectfully submitted, Mickey Nordell
Audibles and Edibles walk - April 28, 2018
13 of us began to look Down at 17 species of healthful
herbs and UP at 28 species of birds. The morning was cool but sunny.
Highlights were: Double-crested Cormorants(FOx33) , Turkey and Black
Vultures,Eastern Towhee and many Savannah Sparrows. The Longo Farm
Preserve,off Hebron Rd. in Glastonbury is a beautiful open space.
Respectfully submitted, Ernie Harris
Greenstone Hollow Trip Report - April 7,
Six hardy souls met around 8AM. I had
said that the walk would be cancelled in the event of rain, but had
failed to mention what would happen if there was snow. As we walked
through all the trails of the preserve, the temperature hovered around
37ºF and occasional snowflakes drifted down. Despite that, we did
pretty well sighting a total of 23 species - not bad considering how
late Spring seems to be in coming this year. As usual, Larry Lunden
kindly recorded the species and sent them to e-bird. Here is his list.
Wood Duck 4
Wild Turkey 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Mourning Dove 6
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 5
Eastern Phoebe 3
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 3
Tree Swallow 5
Black-capped Chickadee 4
Tufted Titmouse 3
Carolina Wren 2
American Robin 5
Northern Mockingbird 1
Song Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 7
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Common Grackle 3
Our next scheduled bird walk here will be
Saturday, May 26 at 8AM, so mark your calendars. However, feel free to
stop by any time and enjoy the sanctuary - it’s a delightful place to
walk as well as look for birds. It’s on Ridge Blvd, left off of Rt
187N, about 1.8 miles north of Rt. 20 in East Granby center.
Respectfully submitted, Chris Fisher
Satchuest Point RI trip - March 31, 2018
met at Sachuest Point N W R in Rhode Island for my annual trip. We
started out along the trail that overlooks the ocean finding a small
amount of the usual duck species but the best bird was one or two
Northern Gannets. However, once we rounded the curve in the trail things
picked up. We had good numbers of Surf and Black Scoters as well as two
White Winged Scoters along with the usual Harlequin Ducks. In the
distance were a number of Great Cormorants sitting on the rocks. Also
seen here near the road was a cock Ring Necked Pheasant which I was
assured by the refuge staff that it was NOT pen raised!
Our next stop
was to Trustrom Pond N W R where we picked up a number of small birds at
the feeders. We always get more passerine birds at the feeders than we
see in the woods. Probably because they know the feeders are here! Downy
Woodpecker, Black Capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White Breasted
Nuthatch, White Throated Sparrow and Northern Cardinal were new for the
day. Along the trail on the way out to Osprey Point we found a Golden
Crowned Kinglet and Eastern Bluebird. Upon arriving at the pond we
picked up good on the ducks including American Wigeon, Gadwall, Blue
Winged Teal, Green Winged Teal and best of all several Redheads to bring
our duck total to 20. Also found was one more Eastern Bluebird.
visited Moonstone Beach where we added Piping Plover.
Our final stop
was a new stop for this trip called South Shore Wildlife Management
Area. We did not see many birds here but later in the season it should
prove productive. What was here though was a huge Snapping Turtle! At
the beginning of the trip I commented I would like us to see 60 species.
Total species for the trip-60!
Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins, guide
Stratford, Ct Trip - March 31, 2018
With the Hartford Audubon Society walk this morning we had
some nice birds around Stratford.
A drake Blue-winged Teal off Stratford Point was a real
treat, as I had not had one there before. There was also a flock of about
400 Long-tailed Ducks, fairly close to shore. Tree Swallows, a singing
Field Sparrow and two Eastern Phoebes gave us a taste of Spring. A first
or second Glaucous Gull flyby was another treat. We had about a dozen
Great Cormorants flying by and at least one D.C.
Long Beach had thousands of gulls offshore and also both
species of scaup. Mr Long Beach, the now adult Iceland Gull put in an
appearance and an adult Northern Gannet flew by.
Birdseye had a drake Northern Shoveler. We also had a Snowy
Owl at an undisclosed location.
Respectfully submitted, Patrick Comins, Meriden
Hartford County Boat Launch Tour. Feb 2,
highlights of this years boat launch tour included Cackling and Snow
Goose at Donald Barnes boat launch in Enfield, Common Raven, Merlin and
Peregrine Falcon at King's Island boat Launch in Enfield, great looks at
a Bald Eagle nest at the Dexter Coffin Bridge launch in Windsor Locks,
five Bald Eagles at Riverside Park in Hartford, another Bald Eagle nest
at Charter Oak Landing in Hartford. We also visited the Rocky Hill
Ferry, which had a lot of ducks, but nothing unusual. By the time we
were done, we turned Super Bowl Sunday into Super Bird Sunday! Go
Eagles! You know, the ones that wear white helmets!
Cape Ann/Newburyport. Jan 20 & 21, 2018
Nine HAS members
and friends set out in hopes of moderately cold weather and lots of
birds. On Saturday morning we explored the upper reaches of Cape Ann.
The rewards included fabulous looks at
Thick billed Murre,
Red throated Loon,
and the scoter trifecta:
Black, White winged,
A small flock of
were found on Bass Rocks in Gloucester. The best highlight was the
sighting of two
Sunday in Newburyport: The Government shut down, but Plum Island was
open for birding. Sightings of
Red tailed Hawk,
(Gray Ghost), a close-up view of a
Rough legged Hawk,
and distant looks at
were the raptor delights. Salisbury Beach State Park offered closer
looks at 2 more Snowy Owls. The day ended with 12 Sanderlings. Total
Hammonasset Beach State Park -
December 3, 2017
We had 21 birders including: Adrian and Beth Nichols, a member of NH Bird Club
and two young women from Glastonbury ( future members). 42 species,
especially: surf&white-winged scoters, both loons, Bald eagle, N. Harrier,
Coopers, Red tail hawk, purple sandpiper, SNOWY OWL, horned lark, hermit
thrush, yellow-rumped warblers (many), swamp sparrow. Before: 4 of us had
a red-shouldered hawk; After: 8 of us had many hooded mergansers on swan
pond. And some good fish at the Tale.
Respectfully submitted, Ernie Harris
Stellwagen Bank -- October 22, 2017
For the last
five years HAS has been collaborating with Krill Carson's NECWA
organization on pelagic trips going out of Plymouth and Gloucester MA
for eight hours in and around Stellwagen Bank waters, for a 100-mile
round trip offshore. This year we ran it on October 22nd and the
weather was beautiful and calm, around 60F. About 80 people participated
on the ship, half of them birders and half whale watchers.
We saw a wide
variety of seabirds, including 2 Black-legged Kittiwakes, 10 Razorbills
(1 very close to the ship for several minutes), 3 NorthernFulmars, four
species of shearwaters, two species of jaegers (seen well as they chased
Common Terns), but we saw no phalaropes or storm-petrels. We looked for
three specific rarities but none of these were seen (Sabine's Gull,
Scopoli's Shearwater, skuas). We enjoyed good views of about 1,000
Double-crested Cormorants flying in several formations over the ship,
migrating south as we approached Gloucester in the afternoon. We also
had good views of 10 Humpback Whales, 20 Common Dolphins and one
sunfish. We did a 5-minute plankton tow, and we will be taking the
preserved samples to UConn for lab analysis soon, hoping to learn more
about the changing ocean ecosystem in these waters.
We ended up
with 35 species of birds offshore, and a happy group of observers. The
full trip report and some photos are available at trips33.blogspot.com.
Respectfully submitted, Tom Robben
Maine - September 29-30, 2017
Six birders took
the September 29, 2017 ferry at 3pm from Portland ME 212-miles across the
GOM (Gulf Of Maine) to Yarmouth NS, stayed in a local hotel that night,
and returned the next morning at 8am, with passports in-hand. The large
ship (the 300-foot Alakai Cat Ferry) was super stable and nobody got
Our stated goal
was to find at least one SKUA, preferably a unambiguously identifiable
Great Skua, probably as an early arriving winter visitant from Iceland.
We focused especially on that eastern 30% of the route where we had seen
skuas several times in recent years, and we were not disappointed! During
our six hour return trip on September 30th we had five sightings of skuas
in that target zone! At least 3 and maybe 4 of those were different
individuals, including one South Polar Skua and at least 2 different birds
being identifiable as Great Skuas. The Great and South Polar Skuas were
lifers for a few birders.
Although we had pretty good looks
at these skuas, including one that passed in front of the ferry 150-200
feet away, most of our photos (three birders had big telephoto lens
cameras) were out of focus, because their cameras auto-focused on the very
distinct wavetops rather than the skua flying in the middle of the frame.
Bill Asteriades dug through his thousand photos and was able to find some
well-focused shots of our bird #5, a dark Great Skua, in molt, and showing
diagnostic gold streaks on its mantle and scapulars, which was enough
photographic evidence to corroborate our binocular descriptions of the
The eBird regional coordinators for both the ME and NS sides of our route
confirmed all our skua IDs.
In total, we saw 25 species with many birds passing close to the ferry,
and we kept a timed log counting all species seen on our crossings. Other
notable species included Leachs Storm-petrel and Sooty Shearwater, rare
for this time of year, dark morph Pomarine Jaeger, Black-legged Kittiwake
and Northern Fulmar. Marine mammals in deeper GOM waters included
sightings of 8 Finback Whales, 32 Atlantic White-sided Dolphins and 4
Trip details are available at this site:
Note that this was the fourth year of our annual HAS Skua Search two-day
trips across the GOM, looking for skuas, and finding them principally in
Canadian waters. Three of those trips had good enough weather to sail,
and all those 3 trips had skuas:
2017: two Great Skuas, one South Polar Skua, two Skua species.
2016: two Great Skuas.
2015: trip cancelled by extreme weather.
2014: one Great Skua, three Skua species.
Please join us next October on this exciting round-trip across the Gulf Of
Respectfully submitted, Tom Robben & Bill Asteriades
Glastonbury Meadows - October 1, 2017
With poor weather
forecast for September 30, we moved the walk to the following day.
Our expectations for a sunny morning, however, were challenged
with a rather foggy start. Barely able to see across the river,
the 8-person group
made do with the croak of a Great Blue and the distant rattle of a
kingfisher while we walked the south end of Riverfront Park. After
entering Glastonbury Meadows, we started our typical route along
the marsh, picking up a Lincolns Sparrow and a first-of-fall
White-throated Sparrow. In trees bordering a weed-covered tomato
field, a small mixed species flock included several warblers and a
Philadelphia Vireo. A flock of Am. Pipit flew over and disappeared
into the corn stubble. Farther south, where a large pumpkin and
squash field meets the marsh, we found greater sparrow activity
and diversity, including a couple more Lincolns and a singing
White-crowned, but highlighted by a Dickcissel that teed up and
patiently perched for all the photographers in the group. Some of
us spotted a Sora scooting across a dirt road in the marsh, and we
subsequently heard both a Sora and Virginia Rail. Leaving the
marsh and walking over the farm fields, we saw multiple Northern
Harriers, a Bald Eagle, and other raptors.
We ended up with a
respectable 63 species on our list.
Respectfully submitted, Bill Asteriades and
Meadows - September 16, 2017
met on a cool, foggy morning for what everyone hoped
would be a great day of birding. After bidding farewell to a
noisy construction crew that was preparing to pave part of the parking lot
(yes, at 7 a.m. Sunday morning), we first made
a quick pass through Glastonburys Riverfront Park.
Our most notable observations were two Northern Parulas chasing each other
among the tree tops. A Great Egret and a few Great Blue Herons stalked the
banks of the Connecticut River, while a lone Double-crested
Cormorant flew quickly by. Unexpectedly, loudspeakers blared at a
fundraising event farther up the river.
entered Glastonbury Meadows, mostly free of distracting sounds, the fog
began to burn off, followed by sunshine and temperatures in the upper
70s; an ideal day for birding. We focused on the marsh area, which has
expanded further due to a beaver dam on Hubbard Brook. Our patience was
rewarded by vocalizing Soras and Virginia Rails, a few of which we
ultimately glimpsed walking among the marsh vegetation close to the dirt
road. Chattering Marsh Wrens were heard frequently, some of
which perched out in the open to the delight of many birders. We
detected 12 in all (heard or seen), suggesting a very successful breeding
season at this site. The edge of the overgrown horse pasture had some
great birds, including Dickcissel, Grasshopper Sparrow and three Lincolns
Sparrows. A Pied-billed Grebe, quite rare for the Meadows, was spotted
swimming and diving in a flooded swale in the pasture. We will be sure to
check for evidence of nesting next spring, given what seems to be prime
habitat for this species.
On our way
out, an adult Bald Eagle flew over the Connecticut River, a large flock of
Bobolinks passed overhead and a Wilsons Warbler made a momentary
appearance in a dense thicket by the river. In all, we saw 60 species.
Respectfully submitted, Bill Asteriades and
Catskills / Hudson River
Valley NY, Trip - May 16-17, 2017
Our Catskill trip began near Oneonta at the Portlandville
boat launch on the Susquehanna River on NY route 28. The water was high,
covering the usual mudflats, but 2 Mallard Ducks and a single Solitary
Sandpiper were still hanging out. The adjoining swamp had Baltimore
Oriole, Northern Cardinal, warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler,
Common Yellowthroat, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Swamp Sparrow.
Before heading north on county route 35, we went south where we picked up
a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Dark-eyed Junco, and Wood Thrush.
Proceeding north we picked up Savannah Sparrow and nesting Tree and Barn
Swallows. Traveling up Wightman Rd. we found breeding Blackburnian and BT
Green Warblers and Winter Wren. Boy Scout Rd had BT Blue, Yellow-rumped,
Chestnut-sided and Black-and-White Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and
Hermit Thrush on territory.
A brief detour down Walling Camp Rd found Least Flycatchers and a
Ring-necked Duck. Back at the intersection with Boy Scout Rd. a
Hermit Thrush called and a
Yellowlegs (sp) was on the far side of the pond.
Brown Creepers and a porcupine were found on the way to Crumhorn Lake
which was lined with American Restarts. Crumhorn Lake Rd. had Towhee and
Blue-winged and Prairie Warblers.
Proceeding to Cooperstown, Otsego Lake had fly over Osprey, gulls, and a
female Common Merganser with young. Heading back south on County route 33
we had great looks at hunting Kestrel and male Northern Harrier,
beautiful gray ghost. Milford center had
Chimney Swifts and a nesting pair of Wood Duck were on the pond at the
intersection of West Main and Chlorinator Rd.
The nesting Bald Eagle on Schoharie Creek in Prattsville was cooperative,
flying overhead with a number of Turkey Vultures. The creek also had
good numbers of common mergansers off route 23A. The Ashokan Reservoir
stop had a breeding colony of cliff swallows and Double-crested
Cormorants. The day ended in New Paltz where Purple Martins had returned
to their nest box.
Sunday began in the Bashakill WMA main parking lot. We had south winds
overnight and some warblers and flycatchers were on the move. Moorhen
and Willow Flycatchers called from the marsh, a flock of Cedar Waxwing
flew overhead, and Canada, Magnolia, and Blackpoll Warblers called from
the forest. A Swainson’s Thrush took a stroll across the parking lot.
After birding the area we made our way to Bear Mountain State Park where
near the top we had Worm-eating Warblers, Eastern Bluebird, and Indigo
Bunting. After stopping at West Point, we headed home. Our Trip total
was 112 species.
Respectfully submitted, Peter Stephan
Greenstone Hollow Nature Preserve -
May 27, 2017
The day was cloudy and cool. Recent rains
created some muddy and water logged spots. The leaves were out, so we
practiced birding by ear. Only occasionally did we get to see the birds.
Seven of us gathered for the Greenstone trip.The roadside started us off
with a variety of birds. A Green Heron flew over. Several
Yellow Warblers were calling. One Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was
sighted. Fully a third of our count was seen before starting down the
trail.In the shrubby field we found a scattering of Blue-winged
Warblers. This is one of their favored habitats, and one we are
trying to maintain. Single Common Yellowthroats and
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were heard.In the marsh we heard an Adler
or Willow Flycatcher. Not sure which. Back out at the road we
got a pair of Wood Ducks flying over. We got some looks at an
American Redstart in a tree, and a small flock of Cedar Waxwings.
We had a total of 34 species, including 4 warblers.
Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden
Babcock Pond Bird Walk - May
cool, drizzly morning, 9 intrepid (foolish?) birders took a long
(4 hour) walk through woods, fields, ponds, and an old dump. Our
efforts resulted in finding-or hearing-a total of 54 species,
none of which was unusual, but included 5 individual
Black-billed Cuckoos, several Ravens, and N. Rough-winged
Swallows. And, as we drove off for home, the sun came out.
submitted, Rob Mirer
Island Bird Walk - May 18, 2017
A hardy group of folks set out on the hottest day of the
year to see what birds might also not have the sense to stay out of the
sun. Highlights from Mt. Auburn were black- and yellow-billed cuckoos,
Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Tennessee, Black-throated Green, and
Blackpoll Warblers, and a great view of a Cooper's Hawk who was a kind
enough to fly in low over our heads. Because we weren't quite hot enough
yet we then set out for Plum Island where among other things we saw
Chestnut-sided and Magnolia Warblers, Black-bellied Plovers, Glossy Ibis,
and a red and orange Scarlet Tanager.
A total of 71 species were seen, 44 at Mt.
Auburn and 46 at Plum Island. And, in what was a major victory, no one
succumbed to the heat.
Respectfully submitted, Jon Ward
Cromwell Meadows WMA,
Cromwell - May 20, 2017
A beautiful day greeted a quiet group of 2
birders. The leaves were all out, so we had to bird by ear for many of
We heard several Black-throated Green Warblers singing in the trees.
None of them came out to se seen. We did get a quick look at a
Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Yellow, Blue-winged, and Black and White
were the only other warblers to be heard.
The only waterfowl were Mute Swans and Canada
Geese. The only raptor was a lone Turkey
We had a quiet walk and
saw 21 species with 4 warblers.
Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden
Tanager Hill and Goodrich Road, Simsbury - May 10, 2017
Fifty-three species of birds, a howling pack of coyotes, and one garter
snake met at the Simsbury Land Trust’s Tanager Hill and nearby Goodrich
Road properties to observe eighteen birders from HAS. Despite the cool,
early morning temperatures, a spectacular male Scarlet Tanager serenaded
us from high in a tree, just yards from the parking area. This provided a
wonderful start to the proceedings. Our group then ascended the hill and
was greeted by a low-flying Pileated Woodpecker. Soon thereafter our
target bird, a male Hooded Warbler, appeared, but for only an instant
before swooping down and disappearing into a nearby thicket. However,
just slightly farther up the trail, a second Hooded Warbler ventured onto
a wide-open branch and gave each of us a long, thorough and thoroughly
satisfying look. Other warblers included Northern Parula, Black-and-
white, Black-throated Blue, and Ovenbird. After traversing the narrow
boardwalk across a wooded swamp, we were happened-upon by a rather late
Blue-headed Vireo. Emerging from the forest and onto the powerline cut,
some from our group were observed by a single Prairie Warbler, a
Blue-winged Warbler, and an Indigo Bunting. Back into the woods and down
the hill by an old farm pond were a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Common
Yellowthroat, and a very cooperative Green Heron which perched in a tree
for several minutes. Leaving the pond and descending toward the parking
lot, we were bade farewell by a Swainson’s Thrush and a distant Veery.
After departing Tanager Hill, several of us drove three miles to the Land
Trust’s Wegner Property on Goodrich Road. This open field served as a
militia training field back in the days of the Revolution. Here we were
observed by several newly-arrived Bobolinks and a female Bluebird. Also
present were a male and female Turkey, each marching in perfect
Doug Beach, Roger Preston, and Jon Ward
East Rock - May 13,
Saturday May 13 5 birders assembled at
East Rock Park New Haven/Hamden for my annual trip there. Viewing
conditions were horrible with heavy cloud cover but at least it was dry
and not windy. We started off at the lower level where we spotted 3
Great Egrets, a very late (probably sick) sleeping drake Common
Merganser, many Northern Rough Winged Swallows and a Rose Breasted
Grosbeak. However, warblers were very hard to come by and of the 7
species noted some were only heard.
We next drove to the upper level where the best birds were 2 rather
close Common Ravens and a good look at a Swainson’s Thrush. We observed
an American Robin on the nest and had a nice look at a Wood Thrush
feeding on the ground. Although the Wood Thrush is a rather common bird
one does not always get a good look at them since they are shy. With the
sky becoming darker we decided to call it quits at 10:30. We tallied a
total of 48 species. Under better conditions we could have achieved
probably 60 or more species.
Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins
Jug Bay, MD -
May 5 - 7. 2017
In spite of awful weather, eight members of HAS
joined me in Upper Marlboro, MD to go on one of Greg Kearns pontoon boat
trip up the Patuxent River in Jug Bay. The drive down was hard for
people, some arriving just in time for dinner at a local place in Upper
Marlboro, but the dinner was good.
Saturday morning we drove down to Patuxent River
Park and joined Greg Kerns, the naturalist there for the past 30 years,
for our trip up Jug Bay. The boat was covered in Tree Swallows who had
to make room for us. We were joined by several members of the
Montgomery Bird Club who took advantage of the opportunity to check out
the nesting Osprey.
There were many, many juvenile Bald Eagles
flying about in the gray skies. Fortunately the forecasted rain held
off til the last half hour of the trip. We motored up the Bay slowing
at a few of the more than 30 nests Greg had installed. He was full of
stories and information about the bay and its history. An interesting
moment was when two eagles flew over with huge escaped goldfish in their
talons. People have dumped their small fish in the bay, and they've
grown into large carp. The last bit up the narrow neck of the Patuxent
Rive was one of the best moments where we had a Prothonotary Warbler
giving us great views as he flitted among the trees and ferns.
After lunch in a local market which had great
barbeque, we were picked up in the Park van and taken to an area where
there was a Great Blue Heron rookery. It was the first visit Greg had
made this season and he was very disappointed at the fact that there
were so many fewer nests than in the past. The Sycamore trees where
they nest were huge! and the way there was difficult, a steep slope to
reach the bottom to look up at the nests. But we all made it down, and
back up! only one person got baptized with "wash" from the nests. The
murmur of chicks and parents filled the air.
Dinner Saturday night was on the Chesapeake Bay
at a restaurant that served, natch, sea food!
Sunday morning dawned bright and clear and sunny
but cold. After a big breakfast we headed to Merkle Sanctuary which was
founded originally to provide a stopover for Canada Geese, little did he
know what he was doing! The drive around provided a few more warbler
species, Parula, Redstart, Hooded and Eastern Kingbird. The cool wind
was picking up again, and kept down many species, but we ended with a
respectable list of 65.
submitted, Stephanie Lovell
Beginners Bird Walk #4
- Station 43 - April 29, 2017
Twenty-seven people enjoyed a long, hot
and muggy morning at Station 43. Boots were
still needed at the swamp area. Highlights of birds seen were:
Wood Ducks, Common Mergs (on the river), Mallards, Great Blue Heron,
Also - D.C. Cormorants and Common Loon (on the river), Red-tailed
Hawk, Palm Warbler,
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Spotted Sandpiper (on the river).
Also - Bank and Tree Swallows, House Wren, Bluebird, Yellow Warbler,
Northern Waterthrush, White-throated Sparrows.
A total of 51 species was tallied at Dunkin' Donuts.
Thank you to all who attended.
Roger Preston / John Ward
Great Pond Simsbury CT, Saturday, April 15, 2017
A group of twenty-seven people arrived
at 8:00 a.m. It was a very cool morning that warmed up as time went
on. Many of the ducks had moved on but Wood Ducks remained, as well as
Blacks, Mallards and one pair of Green-winged Teal.
The Killdeer are staying - also many Tree Swallows and Belted
Pileated Woodpeckers put on a good show and were seen by all.
Other birds of interest were Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers,
Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Towhee, Brown Creepers, Red-tailed and
Red-shouldered Hawks, Turkey Vulture, Eastern Phoebe, and Great Blue
Thirty-five species were seen. Many thanks for the large and
Respectfully submitted, Roger Preston / Gil Kleiner / Jon Ward
Sachuest Point, RI
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Saturday March 25 enticed only five birders to show up for the annual
Rhode Island trip. We birded all day under overcast skys but at least the
rain held off. We started off at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
where we saw the usual assortment of ducks including Harlequins, Common
Eiders, several White Winged Scoters as well as Black Scoters. Both loon
species were seen including a Common Loon in breeding plumage. Unusual for this early was a
Lesser Yellowlegs and numerous Purple Sandpipers added to the mix.
Next we visited Scarborough Beach State Park which is
located near Point Judith. We were hoping to spot the Black Headed Gull
which is often see here but no luck this time. Almost nothing was seen
here so we headed to Point Judith where we ate our lunch hoping to spot
whatever came by. The only new species for the day were several Surf
Our final Destination was to Trustrom Pond National
The only Northern Gannet of the day was seen here.
It is here that we always add a lot of passerine species.
New for the day here were Downy and Hairy Woodpecker, White Breasted
Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, an audio Golden Crowned Kinglet and a couple of
sparrows. The real treat here are the waterfowl. We observed Gadwall,
American Wigeon, 4 Northern Pintails and several Redheads among others. We
ended with 18 species of ducks thanks to Trustrom. We also had both
cormorant species side by side for comparison and we saw a Great Egret. We
ended the day with 60 species.
submitted, Paul Desjardins
Beginners Birds Walk #3 -
Station 43 - February 25, 2017
On a very warm morning with temperatures in the sixties,
thirty-one birders enjoyed a snow-less walk. A large group from the
Manchester Garden Club attended.
The swamp produced Wood Ducks, Mallards, Green-winged Teal
and Ring-necked Ducks. Many Red-winged Blackbirds were back. Belted
Kingfishers were heard and seen. A flying and perched Cooper's Hawk
showed off and at least three Red-tailed Hawks were seen. One Common
Merganser and a group of Canada Geese were spotted on the CT River.
Other birds of interest were Flicker, Downy and Hairy
Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebirds,
Mockingbird, Tree Sparrow, Song and White-throated Sparrows, Juncos,
Cardinal, and Common Grackles. Two Rusty Blackbirds were a good find!
A total of thirty-nine species were identified and tallied
at Dunkin' Donuts
Roger Preston / Gil Kleiner / John Ward
Hartford County Boat Launch Tour - February 5, 2017
birders gathered at the Donald Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield for the first
of seven visits to local boat launches along the Connecticut River.
Tolerable temperatures, light winds and clear skies made for a near
perfect day of birding.
first task of the morning was sorting through the two-thousand or so
Canada Geese gathered along the far shore of the river. In time, our group
was rewarded with sightings of not one, but two Barnacle Geese, a species
typically found this time of year wintering in northwestern Europe. We
were also fortunate enough to discover a drake Barrows Goldeneye among the
constantly diving Common Goldeneye, three Bufflehead and seven Ring-necked
course, Bald Eagles showed well, at least ten birds were spotted between
the Donald Barnes and nearby Kings Island boat launch. An odd sighting at
the Kings Island boat launch were two Wild Turkey roosting high in the
trees next to the eagles!
State Boat Launch just south of the Dexter Coffin Bridge in Windsor
provided birders with a nice view of an active Bald Eagle nest as well as
a number of Common Merganser hunting for fish in open water.
Bissel Bridge Boat Launch, also in Windsor, allowed a couple more distant
Bald Eagle sightings and a Belted Kingfisher. But the highlight of the
stop, and most surprising, was when a pair of Peregrine Falcon decided to
perch in a dead tree right next to our group! The falcons were so
obliging, people were even taking selfies with them! Both of these birds
are alleged to have previously nested under this exact bridge.
launch stops at Riverside Park and Charter Oak Landing in Hartford
produced two Bald Eagles, Hooded Merganser, a variety of common gulls and
one more Peregrine Falcon. Our last site, the Wethersfield Cove boat
launch in Old Wethersfield, left us with an lasting image of an eagle
soaring over a picturesque winter scene. A fitting way to end a successful
addition to seeing great birds, this trip was designed to expose people to
lesser known Hartford birding sites and an easier way to enjoy bird
watching during harsh winter months.
Respectively submitted, Paul Cianfaglione