Pintail drake close up. The latest For the Birds column

Photo by Chris Bosak A Northern Pintail drake in a pond in Danbury, Conn., Jan. 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Northern Pintail drake in a pond in Danbury, Conn., Jan. 2016.

Here’s my latest For the Birds Column about a Northern Pintail drake I saw last week. Exciting sighting!

These are the moments nature photographers hope for. Every once in a great while you come across a bird you really want to photograph and the subject is extraordinarily brave, cooperative and within reach of a zoom lens.

Sometimes you even have your camera handy when those moments come around.

Such was the case last weekend when I drove past a pond in Danbury. The pond was small and nearly butted up against the road. I glanced over at the pond, as I always do, and this time saw a most welcomed visitor among the usual Mallards. A lone Northern Pintail drake swam among the greenheads, appearing indifferent to the cars driving past on the fairly busy road.

I found the nearest safe place to turn around. I drove past the pond again, this time on the opposite side of the road, and confirmed my initial identification. I turned around yet again and pulled onto the shoulder as far as I could next to the pond.

The Mallards — two males and two females — and the pintail all stayed put and ignored me. I already had the passenger’s side window down and the radio turned off.

Actually having my trusty camera with me, I go that out and started photographing the duck.

The ducks went about their day and, despite …

Read the rest here.

More “junco in the snow” photos

Photo by Chris Bosak A Dark-eyed Junco eats a sunflower seedsthe day following a snow storm in New England, Jan. 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Dark-eyed Junco eats a sunflower seedsthe day following a snow storm in New England, Jan. 2016.

My last posting on this site highlighted the plumage of a Dark-eyed Junco. But why stop at just one photo of a junco in the snow? I can’t think of a reason, so here’s a few more. Juncos mainly show up at our feeders in the winter, so we may as well enjoy these small sparrows while we can. The ones with darker plumage are adult males; the ones with lighter plumage are females or first-year males.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Dark-eyed Junco looks for seeds during a snow storm in New England, Jan. 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Dark-eyed Junco looks for seeds during a snow storm in New England, Jan. 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Dark-eyed Junco looks for seeds the day following a snow storm in New England, Jan. 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Dark-eyed Junco looks for seeds the day following a snow storm in New England, Jan. 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Dark-eyed Junco looks for seeds the day following a snow storm in New England, Jan. 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Dark-eyed Junco looks for seeds the day following a snow storm in New England, Jan. 2016.

Feather layers on a Dark-eyed Junco

Photo by Chris Bosak A Dark-eyed Junco eats sunflowers seeds the day after a snowstorm in Danbury, Conn., Jan. 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Dark-eyed Junco eats sunflowers seeds the day after a snowstorm in Danbury, Conn., Jan. 2016.

Check out the amazing feathers on this Dark-eyed Junco, seen here eating sunflower seeds the day after last week’s snowstorm.

The full story on the Painted Bunting

Here’s an article I wrote for The Hour newspaper about the Painted Bunting in Stamford, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Painted Bunting visits a yard in Stamford, Conn., on Jan. 22, 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Painted Bunting visits a yard in Stamford, Conn., on Jan. 22, 2016.

STAMFORD — For the second consecutive year, one of America’s most colorful birds has flown off course and ended up in a yard in Stamford.

A male Painted Bunting, a five-inch songbird resplendent in bright blue, green, yellow and red plumage, has been seen daily since Jan. 21 in the Cove Road yard of David and Ginger Winston.

It is presumed to be the same bird that visited the Winstons’ yard last year from March to April. It is not, however, likely the same Painted Bunting that garnered national media attention in November by visiting Prospect Park in New York City.

“You never get tired of looking at it,” Stefan Martin, a birdwatcher from Stamford said Monday while looking for the bird.

David Winston, a birdwatcher and nature photographer, said about 80 people have visited in the last week in hopes of getting a look at the vibrantly colored bird. Last year, 330 people visited to see the bird. “People came from Maine, New Hampshire, Verm …

Click here for the rest of the story

 

 

Merganser Lake: Some snowy bird photos

carolina wren snow

Photo by Chris Bosak A Carolina Wren visits a feeder during a snowstorm in Danbury, Conn., Jan. 23, 2016.

You didn’t think the first snowstorm in New England would pass without me posting some photos of birds in the snow, did you?

Here’s a few to get started. I’ll post more later.

Continue reading

Painted Bunting returns to SW Connecticut

painted bunting 1

Photo by Chris Bosak A Painted Bunting visits a yard in Stamford, Conn., on Jan. 22, 2016.

No, I’m not on vacation in Florida. Why would I leave New England in the winter? I love New England winters. (I say that now, the day before a big storm is supposed to hit.)

No, these Painted Bunting photos were taken in Stamford, Connecticut. It’s a rare sight to see a Painted Bunting (or anything this colorful) in New England, but this guy is back for his second New England winter. In fact, he is in the same location as he was last winter … in the yard of a birder/nature photographer, ironically enough.

Luckily he is in the yard of David Winston, one of the nicer guys you’ll ever meet. He doesn’t mind (in fact he welcomes) the birders who come see this incredible bird. David and Ginger also hosted this guy last winter, from March to April. Well, that’s really spring, you may say to yourself. Not last year, it wasn’t. Last March and early April were definitely winter.

It was surprising enough that this gaudy bird showed up in Stamford last year, but a repeat performance? It seems this guy is just wired differently than most Painted Buntings. How will this guy fare in the storm that is scheduled to hit New England sometime on Saturday (Jan. 23, 2016) morning? Who knows for sure, but probably (hopefully) OK as he survived much colder temperatures last w Continue reading

Interesting habitat story about New England by the AP

Photo by Chris Bosak Common Loon

Photo by Chris Bosak
Common Loon

Here’s an interesting story from the Associated Press. I hope the proposal goes through and comes to fruition.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to establish the “Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge,” areas of New England and New York to preserve more shrubland and young forests for numerous species, such as the New England cottontail.

The agency has identified areas in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. The goal is to gain up to 15,000 acres.

The agency says many areas across the Northeast have been cleared for development or have grown into mature forests. Private landowners and conservation groups have worked with state wildlife agencies to restore and protect land for 65 songbirds, mammals, reptiles and other wildlife, but more land is needed.

The Service is accepting comments on the proposal through March 4.

Here’s the rest of the story from AP. 

Latest For the Birds column: Gearing up for National Bird Feeding Month

Photo by Chris Bosak A Tufted Timouse perches near a feeding station in New England, fall 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Tufted Timouse perches near a feeding station in New England, fall 2015.

February may be a few weeks away, but there’s no harm in being prepared for what’s in store.

February is a big month in the birdwatching world. It’s a cold month in the middle of winter, but a little birding and bird feeding will help make the cold more tolerable.

First of all, February is National Bird Feeding Month. I don’t normally get too excited about national this month or that, but I’ll celebrate anything that gives me an excuse to do more birdwatching. National Bird Feeding Month was first proclaimed in 1994.

Also, February is always the month of the Great Backyard Bird Count. I’ll write more about this citizen science project in a later column, but just so you can mark your calendars, this year it will be held the weekend of Feb. 12-15.

For now, in honor of National Bird Feeding Month, here are a few tips on how to attract birds to your yard in the typically cold month of February.

Suet is a must. Whether you use pre-packaged suet cakes or make your own out of beef fat (the store-bought cakes are much, much easier), suet should be an offering in the winter. I can count on one hand the number of minutes a bird is not at my suet feeder. Usually it’s a Downy Woodpecker, but also seen are Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-breasted Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Carolina Wrens. Occasionally, chickadees and titmice visit the suet as well.

Who knows? You may even get lucky and have a Pileated Woodpecker come visit. I had one at my suet feeder about 10 years

Click here for the rest …

Merganser Lake: Quick walk in the snow – finally

Photo by Chris Bosak Oak leaves covered in a light coating of snow on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Danbury, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Oak leaves covered in a light coating of snow on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Danbury, Conn.

Snow has been scarce in southern New England this winter so when I woke up to an unexpected covering of the white stuff this morning, I couldn’t wait to take the quick walk through the woods to Little Merganser Lake.

After I got the boys off to school, I set out. It was colder than I expected but it was still a pleasant and scenic walk. Any walk in the snow is scenic and rejuvenating.

Here are a few more iPhone shots of the walk. Continue reading