Merganser Lake: A bird in the hand – well, on the hand at least

I went to fill my feeders this afternoon and noticed the chickadees being especially brave. They are brave to begin with, but they seemed particularly audacious on this day. 

I wonder if one will land on the feeder if I stand this close, I thought to myself as I stood two or three feet away with my iPhone at the ready. 

Question answered: 

Well, I thought next, I wonder if I took the feeder down for a minute or two and held out some seeds if a chickadee would land on my hand. It took a bit longer but, once again, question answered. 

Two or three chickadees took the risk while the rest chirped from nearby perches. The nuthatches and titmice wanted nothing to do with the hand-feeding method. I didn’t expect them to. Maybe next time, though. I’ll try again soon. 

Osprey with fish. Can you name the fish?

Photo by Chris Bosak An Osprey carries a fish along the Norwalk River in Norwalk, CT, summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An Osprey carries a fish along the Norwalk River in Norwalk, CT, summer 2015.

I’m pretty good with my birds, but only very average with my fish. I got this photo of an Osprey carrying a fish along the Norwalk River on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. I was photographing a young Osprey on a sailboat mast when this older Osprey flew by with its prey. The younger Osprey looked up and gave a look as if to say: “I wish I could do that.” The youngster will learn soon enough.

It looks like a fairly good-sized fish, but honestly my fish ID skills are not up to par. Who knows what it is? Thanks for your input.

Deceptive commercial featuring birds (video has returned)

Update on Wednesday, Aug. 26: the video had disappeared from this post. For now anyway, it’s back.)

Birds and bird songs are often misrepresented in movies, TV shows and commercials. An eagle may fly overhead and the sound of a hawk will be played. Often you’ll hear the call of the loon, but the scene in the movie is taking place in an area hundreds (or even thousands) of miles from where the nearest loon would be. That one happens a lot. Of course, we all remember the golf tournament when the TV producers played birdsongs over the golf “action” of birds that weren’t actually there.

I noticed another bird faux pas in a commercial that is out now. The Verizon commercial with the “magnificent geese” that states “Come home for a better network,” features a flock of geese flying and feeding. At one point the commercial zooms in for a closeup on one of the geese.

The implication is that they are following a single flock of geese. At least that’s how I interpret the commercial. The problem is that they show two different species of goose. The vast majority of the commercial features a handsome goose species that I honestly can not identify. It is not a goose that is found in the U.S. _ at least not regularly.  But two briefs clips, including the close up, feature a Canada Goose. If the intention was to show multiple flocks, then the commercial is fine. If it was intended to follow one “suffering” flock, which I think it was, they tried to pull one over on us.

I know, no big deal in the grand scheme of life, but figured I’d point it out anyway. Thanks for checking out

Wildlife of northern New Hampshire, Part I

I’ve been camping with the boys in the upper reaches of New Hampshire for the past several days. I love the area and its rich wildlife. 

I am greatly saddened by the decline in the New England moose population, however. For the first time in a summer visit, I didn’t see a single moose. Granted, with the boys with me, I didn’t get up at five in the morning to go looking for them with my canoe as I would normally do. I will get more into the moose story in a later post. 

We did see plenty of wildlife, however. Deer, fox, grouse, Gray Jays, turkey, to name a few. The boys were even fascinated by a nonanimal sighting. The carnivorous Pitcher Plant grows near the ponds up there and we found some near our remote camping site. Here’s a paragraph from Wikipedia describing the Pitcher Plant:

“Pitcher plants are several different carnivorous plants that have evolved modified leaves known as pitfall traps—a prey-trapping mechanism featuring a deep cavity filled with liquid.”

It was a very neat sighting and, unlike the birds and other animals up there, a cooperative photography subject. 

When I get back to a real computer, I will post more photos and stories of the trip. For now, enjoy the iPhone photo of the Pitcher Plant. 

Thank you for checking out

This Android app will identify any bird you see

Merlin bird photo ID

Merlin bird photo ID

If you’ve always had trouble differentiating Caspian Terns from Royal Terns, there’s now an app that can help you. The Merlin Bird Photo ID was created with bird watchers in mind, carrying with it over 400 species of birds found in North America, and over 70 million photos in its bird identification database.

The app is easy to use. All users have to do is take a photo of a bird and answer a few questions about what it looked like when they took the picture. Users must also point out on the photo where the bird’s bill, eye and tail are. After that, the app will search from its database and present the user with the most accurate search result.

“It gets the bird right in the top three results about 90% of the time, and it’s Continue reading

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:



Hard to watch ducks when Long Island Sound is frozen


Photo by Chris Bosak Long Island Sound is mostly frozen on Feb. 21, 2015, as shown by this scene from Weed Beach in Darien, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Long Island Sound is mostly frozen on Feb. 21, 2015, as shown by this scene from Weed Beach in Darien, Conn.

Birdwatching makes New England winters that much more bearable for me. I love the winter ducks that come down from the Arctic, Canada and northern New England and overwinter on Long Island Sound: Long-tailed Ducks, Bufflehead, Hooded Mergansers, Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Goldeneye and the like. Not to mention the other fowl like loons and grebes.

But it’s a little hard to watch ducks like this …

In my 16 years living near the coast of Connecticut I’ve never seen Long Island Sound be frozen. I’ve heard stories from oldtimers about Long Island Sound freezing over, but I’ve never seen it. Until now.

This morning (Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015) I brought my spotting scope down to Weed Beach in Darien, Conn., to check out the ducks. I didn’t even have to get the scope out of the car. Long Island Sound was frozen. Where kids swim in the summer and ducks swim in the winter, it was completely frozen. Ice as far as I could see. A small pool of water connecting Darien and Stamford and feeding Holly Pond was unfrozen and held a few Bufflehead and Red-breasted Mergansers, but that was it. The rest was ice.

Saturday was warm (relatively speaking, about 30 degrees) and Sunday is supposed to be even warmer (around 40), but Monday we are right back into single digits. We’ll see how the Sound reacts. I’d sure like to see my ducks again.


One more of the hawk

Photo by Chris Bosak A Red-tailed hawk at Weed Beach in Darien, Conn., January 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Red-tailed hawk at Weed Beach in Darien, Conn., January 2015.

I know I wrote in my first post about the Red-tailed Hawk that it would be a two-parter. I couldn’t resist, however, throwing this one up on the site, too. It’s a hawk’s world.