About Chris Bosak

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

It’s nesting season all right

Photo by Chris Bosak A Baltimore Oriole nest in Stamford, Conn., May 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Baltimore Oriole nest in Stamford, Conn., May 2015.

I took a walk around a local park in Stamford, Conn., yesterday. I knew the warbler migration was winding down, but I figured I’d see a few late migrants and perhaps something else interesting. Something always happens when you make the effort to take a walk in the woods.

I was walking happily along looking up in the trees for movement. With the leaves out now, movement is the only way to spot most birds. I glanced down and suddenly found myself tip-toeing frantically to avoid bird droppings all over the trail. Not that it would have been a big deal if I stepped on one, but my brain recognized it as something out of the ordinary and sent signals to my feet to avoid it.

I kept walking a few feet until my brain finally figured out something else. Hmm, a bunch of bird poop concentrated in one area, especially with some of the droppings still wet. Worth checking out. Looking for bird poop (white wash) under trees is a good way to find owl

Photo by Chris Bosak Baltimore Oriole droppings on a trail below the birds' nest.

Photo by Chris Bosak
The giveaway. Baltimore Oriole droppings on a trail below the birds’ nest.

roosts, but can also mean any number of other things. Sure enough, it was something interesting. A Baltimore Oriole nest hung from a branch right above the trail. It was built high, but directly above the trail.

An oriole nest is really something to behold. It’s like a woven basket hanging from a branch. It looks as if it will blow down in any stiff breeze, but they are remarkably sturdy. In November, when all of the leaves have fallen, I’m amazed to see where Baltimore Oriole had nested and how the nests withstood some of the summer storms.

I didn’t see the orioles in the nest, but judging from the freshness of the

Photo by Chris Bosak An American Robin's nest with young birds in it, Stamford, Conn., May 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An American Robin’s nest with young birds in it, Stamford, Conn., May 2015.

droppings, it was active. Nice way to start the hike, I thought. Then as I was about to continue on my way, I noticed a flash of a bird landing the thick brush. I put my Eagle Optics binoculars to face and looked into the nest of an American Robin. The flash I noticed was the female bringing food back to the youngsters. From the looks of it, the youngsters are quite large already and should be fledging before too long. I

I was two minutes into my walk and, even though I hadn’t seen many birds yet, it was already an interesting bird walk. As I went about my walk I paid particular attention to bird homes. I noticed a Tree Swallow in a bird house box, Purple Martins in their gourd colony and a Mute Swan on the ground by a body of water.

The bird nests were so different from each other yet so effective in their own ways for their particular species. Although many birds, especially birds of prey, started the nesting process long ago, the nesting season is just starting for other birds and will continue for several weeks. Keep an eye out for something new and interesting on your next walk in the woods.

Photo by Chris Bosak Purple Martins at their colony at Cove Island Park in Stamford, Conn., May 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Purple Martins at their colony at Cove Island Park in Stamford, Conn., May 2015.

An ‘ordinary’ colorful bird

Photo by Chris Bosak A female Northern Cardinal eats from a feeder in Stamford, Conn., this spring.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A female Northern Cardinal eats from a feeder in Stamford, Conn., this spring.

With the all the color in the bird world passing through these days in the form of warblers, orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks and buntings, it can be easy to forget about our ‘ordinary’ colorful birds, such as cardinals.

Yes, even the female Northern Cardinal is beautifully colorful — just not as striking as the brilliant red male. So here’s a shot of one of these pretty ladies — really nothing ordinary about her.

A few late warbler photos: redstart and yellowthroat

Photo by Chris Bosak An American Redstart sings from a perch in Selleck's and Dunlap Woods in Darien, Conn., May 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An American Redstart sings from a perch in Selleck’s and Dunlap Woods in Darien, Conn., May 2015.

Here are a few photos of some late migrating warblers I took Monday at Selleck’s and Dunlap Woods in Darien, Conn. The warbler migration still has some strong days ahead, but don’t wait too long if you haven’t been out there looking for them yet. The warbler migration in New England winds down as the month of May winds down. Let me know what you’re seeing out there.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Common Yellowthroat perches on a broken stalk at Selleck's and Dunlap Woods in May 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Common Yellowthroat perches on a broken stalk at Selleck’s and Dunlap Woods in May 2015.

What’s your funny caption?

Photo by Chris Bosak An Eastern Bluebird stretches a wing as it rests on a birdhouse at Mather Meadows in Darien, Conn., April 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An Eastern Bluebird stretches a wing as it rests on a birdhouse at Mather Meadows in Darien, Conn., April 2015.

I posted this photo the other week as part of a story about the Eastern Bluebirds being back at Mather Meadows in Darien, Conn.

It occurred to me that the photo has the potential for a funny caption. I’ll leave that part up to you _ post a comment, or send me an email at bozclark@earthlink.net

What is this bird?

mystery bird

I was walking through Selleck’s and Dunlap Woods when this bird popped out of a slow-moving stream and jumped up (really flew) onto a nearby branch. The sun was behind the bird so all I got was its silhouette. It doesn’t make for a nice photo, but it gave me an idea for my next “birding quiz.” I haven’t done a birding quiz in a while so here you go …. what is this bird?

Here are some choices:

 

 

A photo for Mother’s Day

Photo by Chris Bosak A baby mallard stays dry during a rainfall by huddling under its mother's wing.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A baby mallard stays dry during a rainfall by huddling under its mother’s wing.

Here’s a tribute to all moms as Mother’s Day 2015 heads into the evening. This photo pretty much sums up a mother’s love: Take care of the children with no regard for yourself. It was raining on this day and about five little chicks all huddled under the mother Mallard’s wing for shelter. The mother coped with the rain, but the little ones were nice and dry.

If this photo makes you think of your mom, share it with her.

Thanks to all moms!

(Yes, I used this photo for an Easter posting last year, but I like it better as a Mother’s Day “card.”)

A “colorful” little warbler

Photo by Chris Bosak A Black-and-White Warbler looks throughout an evergreen for food at Selleck's Woods in Darien, Conn., 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Black-and-White Warbler looks throughout an evergreen for food at Selleck’s Woods in Darien, Conn., 2015.

I saw plenty of warblers on my latest bird walk. Most of them were Yellow-rumped Warblers. I was hoping for more variety, but I’ll take a bunch of Yellow-rumped Warblers any day. There were also Prairie Warblers, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler.

The second-most abundant warbler was the Black-and-White Warbler. True to its name, this warbler has no flashy colors to make it stand out among the leaves. Which is fine because this warbler is usually found on the trunks and lower branches of trees anyway. It’s one of the few warblers that does most of its hunting on the trunks of trees. It will often hunt low in trees, making it one of the easiest warblers to find on a bird walk. Many warblers hunt almost exclusively among the leafy tops of trees, making them very difficult to find.

It may lack the color of other warblers, but it’s still a striking little bird with its streaked plumage.

So what’s your warbler story? Feel free to comment or send me an email.

It’s that time of year again. Warblers abound.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Prairie Warbler perches in a tree at Selleck's/Dunlap Woods on May 5, 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Prairie Warbler perches in a tree at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods on May 5, 2014.

I took a quick walk before work this morning. As usual, I was running behind getting my third-grader to school, so I had only about 15 minutes for this walk. But it was enough to know that we are in what many birders consider the most exciting two weeks of the year. The warbler migration started with a trickle a few weeks ago in New England. Based on what I saw on my quick walk this morning, the warbler season is picking up fast. A Prairie Warbler was the first bird I saw — not a bad start to a walk. A few Yellow Warblers darted here and there, too. Yellow Warblers nest at Selleck’s Woods, so hopefully they are looking to set up shop for the summer.

The walk included a few other warbler species as well as the sounds of other colorful songbirds, such as Baltimore Orioles and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. It’s a great time to be out there. Let me know what you are seeing.

Here’s a post from last year featuring some of the warblers you may see out there this time of year. Click here.

A few more Osprey photos

Photo by Chrisi Bosak An Osprey flies into its nest with nesting material at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.

Photo by Chrisi Bosak
An Osprey flies into its nest with nesting material at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.

Here are a few more photos of the new Osprey nest at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn. See previous post for more information about the nest and its Continue reading