About Chris Bosak

Bird columnist and nature photographer based in New England. Co-managing editor of The Hour newspaper. Bird

Duck (watching) season begins in New England

Photo by Chris Bosak A female Bufflehead swims in Gorham's Pond, Nov. 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A female Bufflehead swims in Gorham’s Pond, Nov. 2014.

Ducks are my favorite family of birds to watch in New England. The migration starts in October and many waterfowl may be seen in open water right up through April. For me, it makes our harsh winters that much more bearable.

With that said, here’s the first of what will likely be plenty of waterfowl photos I take (and post) this fall/winter/early spring season. It’s not a great photo, but it’s a start.

Female Buffleheads are much less dramatic looking their male counterparts, which feature contrasting black (or, depending on the sun’s angle, blue, purple or green) and white plumage.

Today at the feeder

Photo by Chris Bosak

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Black-capped Chickadee and Downy Woodpecker share the suet feeder, Nov. 16, 2014.

It’s been a particularly busy day at the feeder today. There haven’t been any out of the ordinary species, just lots of backyard favorites. Here are a few photos from the action. Not pictured, but seen visiting today are: American Goldfinch; Northern Cardinal; Hairy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker; Dark-eyed Junco; White-throated Sparrow; Blue Jay and American Crow. No nuthatches today yet … odd.

(Author’s note: OK, got my nuthatch. All is good.)

More photos are below. Click on “continue reading.”

Thanks for visiting http://www.birdsofnewengland.com

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A few more Hermit Thrush photos; and a link to column

Photo by Chris Bosak A Hermit Thrush perches on a branch at Selleck's/Dunlap Woods this fall.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Hermit Thrush perches on a branch at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods this fall.

Here are a few more photos of Hermit Thrushes, a species profiled in my last post a few days ago. Also below is a link to my latest For the Birds column, which appears weekly in The Hour (Norwalk, CT) and The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.)

Here’s the link.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Hermit Thrush rests on a log at Selleck's/Dunlap Woods this fall.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Hermit Thrush rests on a log at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods this fall.

Hermit thrushes abound on latest bird walk

Photo by Chris Bosak A Hermit Thrush perches on a branch at Selleck's/Dunlap Woods .

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Hermit Thrush perches on a branch at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods .

I can’t speak for how well the Hermit Thrush population is doing in general, but the last bird walk I took yielded a lot of these handsome birds. I was walking through Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods in Darien (Conn.) with my buddy Larry Flynn and the thrushes were by far the most commonly seen bird. At one point we had five or six Hermit Thrushes in one bush. I’ve seen plenty of Hermit Thrushes in my day, but never that many in the same bush.

As we walked along the trails, Hermit Thrushes popped up here and there, and pretty much everywhere. The birds, however, were silent — other than their little feet rustling among the fallen leaves. They didn’t sing their famous flute-like song because it’s the fall migration. During the breeding season (spring and summer) it’s a treat to hear their song echo throughout the woods.

I mentioned before than I can’t speak for how the population is doing overall. Well, that was a white lie because I can, at least by crediting another source. Hermit Thrushes, thankfully, are doing well as a species. In fact their numbers have been rising since 1966, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey.

Hermit Thrushes are probably the most commonly seen thrush in New England, but there are several types of thrushes — and they can be very difficult to tell apart. The Wood Thrush and Veery look somewhat different than the Hermit Thrush and are fairly easy to differentiate. However, species such as Bicknell’s Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush and Gray-checked Thrush pose a tougher ID challenge and it takes a trained eye to pick out those species.

Larry and I are pretty certain that what we were seeing were all Hermit Thrushes. The next walk, however, may yield nary a Hermit Thrush. That’s the joy of migration — and birding in general.

Feel free to leave a comment …

In full-hearted agreement

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The most recent newsletter of the Cove Island Wildlife Sanctuary — a great spot not too far from my house — is not written by Dave Winston as it usually it, but rather a tribute to Dave and the hard work he does for the Sanctuary. Dave, along with many others, was instrumental in creating the Sanctuary in the first place and continues to maintain and nurture the grounds. I agree that a tribute was in order (not that anyone needed my approval), so here’s the link to the newsletter. Good job and thanks Dave.

Here’s the link.

We need more Titmice

Photo by Chris Bosak A Tufted Titmouse perches on a pole near a birdfeeding station, Oct. 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Tufted Titmouse perches on a pole near a birdfeeding station, Oct. 2014.

Last week I posted a photo of Tufted Titmouse that I saw outside my window at my birdfeeding station. It kicked off a short series of photos I posted of common backyard feeder birds.

But, of course, I had more than just one photo of Tufted Titmice. So here are a few more photos of this small and lovable blue-gray bird. So far this fall Tufted Titmice have been the most numerous and reliable birds at my feeder. I can’t complain about that.

More photos below:

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