And the answer is …

Photo by Chris Bosak

I said it was a tough one, but I couldn’t stump http://www.BirdsofNewEngland.com followers as there were a few correct answers.

The bird in question is an immature Gray Jay. I watched as the parents foraged and this noisy youngster kept asking for more food. Sounds like some human teenagers I know.

A few more hints to the birding quiz

Photo by Chris Bosak

Here are a few more hints for the birding quiz I posted yesterday. I received some great guesses yesterday and some were very close and on the right track (think immature bird). See there’s one hint already.

Another hint: I recently took a quick camping trip to Pittsburg, N.H., up at the northern tip of the state, a few miles from Canada. That’s where I saw the bird.

Also, remember the size of the bird — about the size of a robin, it not a bit bigger. (The adults are indeed bigger than robins, but not greatly so.)

Thanks again for playing along. Answer coming later today.

New birding quiz … this is a tough one

Photo by Chris Bosak

My birding quizzes are sometimes easy, sometimes hard and sometimes in the middle. I would rank this one as a tough one. If I weren’t at the scene I doubt I would have come up with the answer. Oh well, there’s no cost to play, no prizes for winners and no penalty for wrong guesses.

Email, tweet, Facebook or comment here with your guess. Thanks for playing along.

Quick hint: Yes, it is a bird found in New England. Also, to be fair since there is no real size perspective, it is about the size of a robin. I’ll drop more hints today and tomorrow.

Latest For the Birds column: Cedar Waxwings on the scene

Photo by Chris Bosak A cedar waxwing perches on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., spring 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A cedar waxwing perches on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., spring 2017.

Here is the latest For the Birds column, which runs in several newspapers in New England.

There I was, minding my own business photographing a song sparrow in the glowing morning light when out of nowhere a small flock of cedar waxwings appeared on the scene.

Cedar waxwings, in my opinion anyway, are one of the most attractive songbirds we have in New England. They have a nice blend of light browns, tans and grays to go along with their trademark red-tipped wings and yellow-tipped tails. Their thin black eye masks make them look a bit mischievous.

Cedar waxwings are not uncommon, and they can be fairly tame, but quality opportunities to photograph them over the years have been somewhat scarce for me. I see regularly the classic photos of cedar waxwings eating berries. The only time I got a good, close look at waxwings eating berries was years ago on a dark, gloomy day. The photos I took were even more dark and gloomy.

Continue reading

Bobolinks — again at last

Photo by Chris Bosak A male bobolink perches in a small tree and overlooks the fields at Happy Landings in Brookfield, CT.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A male bobolink perches in a small tree and overlooks the fields at Happy Landings in Brookfield, CT.

It’s been a while since I’ve taken some decent Bobolink photos. That is partly because Bobolinks, like many birds and especially birds that need large fields or meadows to nest, are in decline. It’s also because I hadn’t visited any of those habitats recently.

But Happy Landings in Brookfield, thankfully. offers acres of field habitat and Bobolinks and other birds love it. So does this birdwatcher.

More on Bobolinks coming up.

Extra rose-breasted grosbeak shot

Photo by Chris Bosak  A rose-breasted grosbeak perches in a tree at Merganser Lake in Connecticut, spring 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A rose-breasted grosbeak perches in a tree at Merganser Lake in Connecticut, spring 2017.

Here’s an extra shot of the male rose-breasted grosbeak I saw at the feeder last month. This was the perch he took before flying over to the feeder to join a female rose-breasted grosbeak that was already on the feeder.

I’ve been meaning to get this photo up on this site for a few weeks. Who’s going to complain about extra rose-breasted grosbeak photos?

Gardening with Melinda: Add extra appeal with garden art

Gardener’s Supply Company The Kaleidoscope Tomato Cage provides a sturdy support for tomato plants while adding color to the landscape

Gardener’s Supply Company
The Kaleidoscope Tomato Cage provides a sturdy support for tomato plants while adding color to the landscape

By Melinda Myers

Adding excitement to your garden is easy.  You can create instant, year-round color, structure, motion and fun to your landscape with a bit of garden art.

Just like shopping for plants, look for pieces that complement your gardening style. And consider all the benefits each piece of art provides. Many pieces are functional as well as beautiful, helping you get the most from your garden budget.

In centuries past, garden art included statues of gods and beautiful people as well as pieces that mimicked nature’s ornamental qualities. You can still find those traditional garden statues. But these days you will also find colorful pieces made from a variety Continue reading

Cedar waxwing on the hunt

Photo by Chris Bosak  A cedar waxwing eats an insect on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., spring 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A cedar waxwing eats an insect on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., spring 2017.

Most photos of cedar waxwings eating are of the handsome birds chowing down on berries of some sort or another. I got this guy (or girl) eating a white insect. As long as they are eating, it’s all good, I guess.

Indigo bunting: Trying for the elusive photo

Photo by Chris Bosak  An indigo bunting sings from a branch in Ridgefield, Conn., in spring 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An indigo bunting sings from a branch in Ridgefield, Conn., in spring 2017.

I made my annual trip to Bennett’s Pond State Park in Ridgefield, Conn., to try to capture a decent photo of a male indigo bunting. I had limited success as they are fairly difficult to photograph, I’ve found. They are fairly wary birds and their brilliant blue plumage varies greatly with the lighting. That said, here’s one of the shots I managed. What a great bird.

Gardening with Melinda: Harvesting, Storing and Preserving Herbs from the Garden

Photo credit: Bonnie Plants Harvesting and preserving herbs allows you to enjoy fresh-from-the-garden flavor all year long.

Photo credit: Bonnie Plants
Harvesting and preserving herbs allows you to enjoy fresh-from-the-garden flavor all year long.

By Melinda Myers

Enjoy herbs all year round. Harvest herbs now for garden-fresh meals and preserve a few for the winter ahead.

Snip a few leaves or leaf-covered stems as needed. For the same intensity of flavor, you generally need two to three times more fresh herbs than dried except for Rosemary which has an equally strong flavor fresh or dried. Continue harvesting herbs as needed throughout the growing season. And don’t worry about harming the plant because regular harvesting encourages new growth which means more for you to harvest. Just be sure to leave enough foliage to maintain plant growth.

You can remove as much as fifty percent of the foliage from annual herb plants. This is about when the plants near their final height.  You can remove up to one third from established perennial plants that have been in the garden for several months or more. Harvest when the plant has formed buds, but before they open into flowers for the greatest concentration of flavor. This is the perfect time to Continue reading