Quick bird ID quiz

Here’s a quick birding quiz for your Tuesday. The answer will be revealed later today when I post the most recent For the Birds column. Hint: With winter approaching, people throughout New England are seeing different visitors at their feeders as birds “irrupt” from the north and west.

So what is this guy (or gal)?

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Goldfinches galore

Photo by Chris Bosak
An American goldfinch perches on a chain that holds birdfeeders during a November 2018 snow storm in Danbury, Connecticut.

The snow this week brought not only the unexpected visitors, such as fox sparrows, but also the regular visitors such as chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, doves, juncos, and woodpeckers. It also brought goldfinches, which was to be expected, but what was surprising was the number of goldfinches. Every perch on my thistle tube feeder was filled and other goldfinches either waited patiently nearby or “settled” for sunflower seeds at other feeders. There were even goldfinches on the ground among the many juncos.

I hope to post a video of the goldfinches later today. Let’s see if time and my technical knowledge of video programs permit … 

Photo by Chris Bosak
American goldfinches eat Nyjer seed from a tube feeder in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 2018.

More fox sparrow/snow photos

Photo by Chris Bosak A fox sparrow perches on the snow in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 16, 2018.
As an addendum to my last post, here are some more photos of the fox sparrows that are visiting my yard today following a snow and ice storm.  Later today or tomorrow, I’ll add some photos of the goldfinches that are visiting today. There are lots of them. 
Photo by Chris Bosak A fox sparrow perches on the snow in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 16, 2018.
Photo by Chris Bosak A fox sparrow and junco eat sunflower seeds following an ice storm in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 16, 2018.
Photo by Chris Bosak A fox sparrow perches on the snow in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 16, 2018.

First snow brings fox sparrows

Photo by Chris Bosak A fox sparrow eats sunflower seeds from the ground during an ice storm in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 16, 2018.

Southern New England got its first snow of the season on Thursday evening, a bit earlier than usual on Nov. 15. At some point overnight, the snow gave way to a snow/freezing rain mixture. The four or five inches of snow that fell now has a hard layer of ice on top. 

The harsh weather brought in a pair of unexpected, but welcomed, visitors: fox sparrows. The large sparrows, which are also a bit more colorful than the usual sparrows in New England, show up sporadically throughout the region, mostly during the winter. With strange weather gripping the region, keep an eye out for unexpected visitors at your feeder stations. Let me know what you see by commenting on this post.

For the Birds: No moose, but gray jays keep us busy

Photo by Chris Bosak A gray jay perches in a tree in Pittsburg, N.H., November 2018.

The surprises began as soon as we arrived in Pittsburg, the northern tip of the Granite State. To be more accurate, the surprises began about an hour before our arrival.

“Is that snow on the ground?” I asked as we drove through the darkness.

The headlights revealed that, indeed, a thin layer of snow blanketed the sides of the roads. We arrived at our rented cabin to find about 2 inches of snow in the Great North Woods.

Snow in early November in northern New Hampshire is not surprising, but this particular snow caught me off guard because of how warm it has been in southern New England. Wasn’t it just 70 degrees the week before?

Although it served as a reminder that winter is coming fast for all of the region, the snow was a welcome gift from the North Country. It was beautiful and, Continue reading

Goldfinch on coneflower

Photo by Chris Bosak
An American goldfinch perches on a coneflower head, Nov. 2018.

Since I have some late-blooming coneflower thanks to a clearance sale at a nearby big-box hardware store, I may as well milk the blooms when it comes to photographing birds. Here’s a shot I took today (Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018) of an American goldfinch eating seeds from one of the dead heads.

More shots featuring the flowers coming soon, I’m sure. Best $2 flowers I ever bought!

Revisiting mushrooms and the North Woods


Two weeks ago I had a post on this site about mushrooms and last week I made a few posts during my trip to Pittsburg, N.H. 

By way of revisiting both of those topics, here’s a photo of interesting looking fungi we spotted during a walk through the boreal forest. There’s so much cool stuff to see out there — whether it’s southern, central or northern New England — but you have to get out there to see it.