Northern Mockingbird sings at night

Photo by Chris Bosak Northern Mockingbird perches before jumping up to a suet feeder in Stamford, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Northern Mockingbird perches before jumping up to a suet feeder in Stamford, Conn.

Here’s the start of a new birding column I wrote for The Hour and Keene Sentinel. It involves listening to a Northern Mockingbirds singing at night — about 11:30 p.m.

“I walked out of work following one of my night shifts here at The Hour. It was about 11:30 p.m. so the last thing I expected was to have an interesting birdwatching experience in the parking lot. The birding world is full of surprises, though. I stepped out the front door of the office building and was greeted by the sound of a Blue Jay calling. Odd time for a Blue Jay to be singing, I thought. Must be raiding a nest or having its nest raided. The Blue Jay called three times and then another bird starting singing. At that point I knew it wasn’t a Blue Jay and another bird at all. It was a Northern Mockingbird. My frame of mind instantly went from wonder to amusement. I walked over to the area where the bird was singing, pulled out my cell phone and started recording. It kept on belting out the tunes even though I was standing right under its tree. Mockingbirds are master imitators. They imitate the song of a bird species three times and then move on to the next imitation. And it goes on and on. It is believed that the more impressive the repertoire, the better chance the bird has of attracting a mate. I like listening to a mockingbird and trying to figure out the birds it is imitating. I almost always get a Carolina Wren and American Robin. This particular mockingbird the other night had an impressive list of at least 15 species that also included Tufted Titmouse, Red-winged Blackbirds and Broad-winged Hawk. Many mockingbirds also mix in non-bird noises, such as squeaky fences or alarm clocks. The songs are not sung half-h

Here’s the rest of the column

 Here’s the video

See how many bird species you can pick out from this impressive songster.

 

Sibley discusses ‘Birdwatching in New England’

Well-known birdwatcher David Allen Sibley visited The Hour newspaper’s office in March 2014 shortly after the launch of the second edition of his Sibley Guide to the Birds. He sat down with Chris Bosak of The Hour and http://www.birdsofnewengland.com to answer a variety of questions of about birds. Here he discusses birdwatching in New England, where he grew up and currently lives.

Today’s warbler photo

Photo by Chris Bosak A Common Yellowthroat perches on a branch at Selleck's/Dunlap Woods on Sunday, May 11, 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Common Yellowthroat perches on a branch at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods on Sunday, May 11, 2014.

Here’s another warbler photo taken this weekend at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods in Darien.

Last week I had a post with several warbler species included. The Common Yellowthroat was not included in that post, but I found a fairly cooperative one this weekend. Yellowthroats can be tricky to photograph because they are usually hidden among thick brush, often near wetlands.

On Saturday, I led a bird walk with a great group of people and we saw 10 warbler species, in addition to several other types of birds, such as vireos, egrets and thrushes. The warbler season in New England is still in full swing. Let me know what you’re seeing out there, send photos and sightings to bozclark@earthlink.net

New Facebook page for www.BirdsofNewEngland.com

Photo by Chris Bosak Sanderlings and Dunlins on the shore of Long Beach in Stratford, CT, Jan. 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Join the crowd and ‘like’ Birds of New England on Facebook.

To go along with this website and its accompanying Twitter page (@NewEnglandBirds), a new Facebook page has been added for BirdsofNewEngland.com. Posts to this site will automatically be announced on that Facebook page. Plus, who knows what else will end up on the page. It gives me another avenue to communitication to help spread the word about the wonderful birds and wildlife of New England.
If you have the time and inclination, please “like” the new Facebook page that accompanies this site. Type in “Birds of New England” into the Facebook search bar. Thanks and, as always, feel free to share your bird sightings and photos with me.

Downy Woodpeckers in the snow

Photo by Chris Bosak A female downy woodpecker perches on a birdfeeder stand before heading to the suet feeder during the Dec. 14, 2013, snow fall.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A female downy woodpecker perches on a birdfeeder stand before heading to the suet feeder during the Dec. 14, 2013, snow fall.

The snow always brings a lot of birds to the feeders. The Dec. 14, 2013, snowfall was no exception. Here are a few shots of Downy Woodpeckers in the snow. Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, Mourning Doves and Northern Cardinals ate seeds on the ground below. The Downy Woodpeckers owned the suet cake, other than when a much larger female Hairy Woodpecker swooped in to take over.
Send me your snow bird photos at bozclark@earthlink.net and I’ll post them on my “reader submitted” photo page.

Photo by Chris Bosak A male downy woodpecker perches on a birdfeeder stand before heading to the suet feeder during the Dec. 14, 2013, snow fall.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A male downy woodpecker perches on a birdfeeder stand before heading to the suet feeder during the Dec. 14, 2013, snow fall.

First post for the new BirdsofNewEngland.com

Green Heron in southern Connecticut, November 2013.

Green Heron in southern Connecticut, November 2013.

Welcome to the new http://www.birdsofnewengland.com. It will be similar to the former website with lots of bird photos and stories from my travels around New England. It will have a different look, however, and new features, such as a video page and “reader submitted” photos page. Feel free to submit photos you have taken of birds or other wildlife in New England (or beyond.)

So let’s just jump right into the first post.

November has been a great month for birdwatching so far, at least from my perspective in southern New England. On the first Sunday in November, I spotted a Green Heron at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods, a Darien Land Trust property. I’ve seen plenty of Green Herons at this property before, but never in November _ or even October or late September for that matter. It was interesting to see the crow-sized wader surrounded by fall foliage.

Green Heron in Southern Connecticut, November 2013.

Green Heron in Southern Connecticut, November 2013.

The Green Heron sighting followed an hour-long stretch whereby I sat in a dried-out swampy area and watched as Golden-crowned Kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Yellow-rumped Warblers hopped along the ground among the weeds and grasses looking for seeds. Previous highlights that weekend included an Eastern Towhee, Brown Creeper and Winter Wrens.

Thanks for checking out the new http://www.BirdsofNewEngland.com. Check back often for updates and new stories and photos. Remember to send in your photos and I’ll add them to the “reader submitted” page. Send the photos or other suggestions to bozclark@earthlink.net