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 http://www.BirdsofNewEngland.com

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.

The Red-tailed Hawk under calmer conditions

 

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

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

Here’s the second post about the Red-tailed Hawk I found at Weed Beach in Darien, Conn. the other day. The previous post explains the story, so here’s the photos of the impressive bird without the wind blowing its plumage.It is, however, preening and then looking back at me menacingly.

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.

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.

Clearing out my 2014 photos, take 10: Great Blue Heron

Photo by Chris Bosak A Great Blue Heron stands on a piling along the Norwalk River, fall 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Great Blue Heron stands on a piling along the Norwalk River, fall 2014.

Here’s my next photo in the series of 2014 photos that I never got around to looking at and posting. (Don’t worry, I’m almost done. Then I can focus on 2015 and finally put 2014 behind me.)

I ran a similar photo to this in the fall, but this one never made it out of the “look at” folder. I was walking into work one fall day when I noticed this Great Blue Heron standing on a piling within the small marina by my work’s building. It looked so stately and the fall colors in the background prompted me to stop and get the camera out of the bag. Usually in moments like this, the bird takes off as soon as I stop, get the camera out, take the lens cap off and start the focusing process. But this guy (or girl) stayed put for me.

The photos published earlier may be found here.

Repurposing Christmas trees

 

Christmas trees for repurposing at Cove Island Park in Stamford, Ct.

Christmas trees for repurposing at Cove Island Park in Stamford, Ct.

Most discarded Christmas trees end up in a landfill somewhere, or if they are lucky, as mulch in a local dump. For the last couple of years, many of the old Christmas trees in Stamford, Connecticut, have been placed by the city in big piles at Cove Island Park. From there, volunteers, led by David Winston (shown below), have moved the trees to places in the park where they can continue to be of value.
Last year they were placed to protect the dunes by the beach. This year, despite the icy rain falling, volunteers placed the trees, hundreds of them, in two spots around the park. One spot was in the wildlife sanctuary to more clearly delineate trails. The other spot was in a wooded area that had become cleared and was likely going to be used for purposes not intended in the park. So the volunteers, including myself, filled in that clearing with old Christmas trees. Now that area can be used for birds and other wildlife as shelter and protection.
Not a bad way to reuse all those Christmas trees that are enjoyed so much around the holidays, and then placed curbside.
Also not a bad way to spend a rainy Sunday morning.

Clearing out my 2014 photos, Take 2: Piping Plover preening

Photo by Chris Bosak A Piping Plover preens on the beach at Milford Point, Conn., in April 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Piping Plover preens on the beach at Milford Point, Conn., in April 2014.

Here’s my next photo in the series of 2014 photos that I never got around to looking at and posting. I ran a similar photo in April, but here’s another look at a Piping Plover _ an endangered bird in New England _ preening at Audubon Coastal Connecticut Center at Milford Point. The photo was taken in April 2014.

Click here to read more about Piping Plovers and to see more photos of this spectacular shorebird.