Vireos, Vireos, Vireos!
Connecticut has recently been experiencing an influx of vireos as the fall migration for song birds reaches flood stage. With approaching cold fronts, one is never sure of what will show. Below is a nice study in one of the not-so-easy identification puzzles one may run into in the field. The first three images below are by my friend John Schwarz at www.birdspix.com who enjoyed this PHILADELPHIA VIREO at Bluff Point in Groton. The same day, I captured some images of the similar bird at my patch in Ivoryton, in different light that might lead one to believe this to be a WARBLING VIREO. Consensus is that it is a Philadelphia. Lighting in the field as well as in camera images can be a real issue. Just because you got a good image doesn't mean the challenge ends! There is an excellent discussion of fall Warbling Vireo vs. Philadelphia Vireo at this LINK. Scroll down to photo #8. Think image #8 is a Warbling? Enjoy the challenge! AG
Friday, September 14, 2012
Vireos, Vireos, Vireos!
Nova Scotia: An Outstanding Fall Destination
I recently returned from what I think was my sixth trip up to Nova Scotia! This time the theme seemed to be "Eagles Everywhere!" We took advantage of great photo ops of adult eagles at close range as they retrieved fish from the back of a boat. The same day, travelers enjoyed views of over a 1,000 Atlantic Puffin and outstanding landscapes of sea and cliff. Clouds of shorebirds, extreme tides, pristine bog habitats, and grand hotels were the standard! We plan to repeat the trip next year. Each group is limited to five participants, so call soon. AG
Friday, July 20, 2012
Listening to the Night
Just the other night, at about 1045PM, I heard one of the great sounds of summer, a night calling Black-billed Cuckoo! It is not too often that I have heard them at night, but it is always a fun event. It's always one of those "What the..." moments. The bird, in my yard, called for a solid hour. Got to love it! AG
Friday, July 6, 2012
The shorebirding season is just starting and so it's time to get ready to head for one of the Meccas of the discipline, the Bay of Fundy. The extensive mud and sand flats that make-up the Bay at low tide (50 foot tides in some places), are an indispensable fueling ground for hundreds of thousands of sandpipers, turnstones, dowitchers, and other shorebirds, so much so, that one can sometimes literally see "carpets" of birds standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
This year I have a wonderful group of faithful Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel patrons joining the adventure. We will be flying into and meeting in Halifax, make our way to the Bay of Fundy, travel out on the Bay and to the northern end of Minas Bay, and then explore the northern tip of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, a unique and wild place on its own, with lots of Moose, grouse, whales, and grand hotels!
If I have the chance, I will post entries while on the trip. Let me know if you are watching!
Thursday, March 22, 2012
It's been a while since posting! Just been too busy to think of doing it when I have so many people depending on our getting reservations right for the multitude of Eagle Boats and destinations further afield in places like Arkansas, Jamaica, Galapagos, Cuba, and the Platte River of Nebraska. It has been a very busy travel season for EcoTravel which included moving our office across town. Moving has got to be one of the dullest exercises on the planet but it does afford you the chance to toss all that stuff you have not laid hands on for over a year.
We recently ended our Eagle Boat Season and started our Osprey Cruises but not before we enjoyed the highlight of the year with two days of great Golden Eagle viewing. On the second day, the young bird was perched for over and hour alongside an unusually plumaged sub-adult Bald Eagle (since nicknamed "Weird Whitey"). Enjoy the image by Gary Spinner and give us a call to join a trip; lots of birds and fun people! We are already taking reservations for our next Cuba Bird Study and Tanzania Safari. AG
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Happy Holidays and Time to Schedule a Trip!
I hope you all have a happy holiday and will take some time to consider taking a trip with me or one of our talented leaders; either a day trip somewhere not too far or perhaps something a bit more adventurous. Having a trip on the calendar will help you to get through the winter.
I will be leaving in a couple of weeks to enjoy the bottom land cypress and tupelo forests of the White River in Arkansas. I still have a couple of spots left!
Recently, I enjoyed a visit with an American Bittern. Enjoy the image!
Happy Holidays! AG
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Snowy Owl Image by Gary Melnysyn
Trips in the Works
With the holiday season fast approaching, it also brings the arrival of our very busy travel schedule with trips departing in the next few months for alluring places like the bottomlands of Arkansas, the jungles of Jamaica, home of the Bee Hummingbird on the island of Cuba, and "The Number One Natural History Destination," the Galapagos Islands. We have enjoyed such great response for both Cuba and Galapagos, that we have added second departures! There still is space on both so give us a call. Hope you will be able to join us. I will be leading the Arkansas trip in January and the first of the two Cuba departures in March.
The Christmas Bird Count season is here, too! Connecticut in just the last week has been host to some great birds including Northern Shrike and Snowy Owl, so hopefully this is an indication of an interesting season ahead.
I have been working all day on the information packages that will go out to the Jamaica travelers, pouring over great info on birds, island history, rastafarians, and the local language of "patua." I had the fortune to travel to Jamaica a number of times back in the '80s and '90s and see most of its 28 endemic bird species including their national bird, the Red-billed Streamertail. Back then, an ex-pat British woman named Lisa Salmon ("The Bird Lady of Anchovy") lived up above Montego Bay and hosted tourists at her sanctuary to see the birds.
Lisa had trained the local hummingbirds to land on visitors' fingers while being fed sugar water from a bottle. It was really quite exciting with not just the streamertails but also the very large, all purple, Jamaican Mango; another spectacular hummingbird!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Anhinga (Florida) - Andrew Griswold
Interesting Time of Year
With the migration all but over and summer on the doorstep, this can sometimes be a quiet time for New England birders, but in the last week there have been some truly "fun" sightings in our areas. The Anhinga that made a showing in Hamden over the weekend was nice to finally record for the state as the first that was not one flying-by far overhead. My 13 year old son seemed to enjoy the chase! And the Magnificent Frigatebird seen out at Block Island must have energized a few observers!
Get-out and find those rarities!
Magnificent Frigatebird - Laura Taylor