About Chris Bosak

Bird columnist and nature photographer based in New England.

Long Island Sound IV

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Snowy Owl sits on a rock on an island off the coast of Norwalk in November 2008.

Here’s another shot taken on or near Long Island Sound, in recognition of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s 2019 State of the Birds report. The press release that summarizes the findings may be found here. The full report will be available via PDF on January 1.

Here’s the link to my original posting, which explains why I’m posting so many photos of the Sound.

Long Island Sound III

Photo by Chris Bosak
Purple Sandpiper on a rocky island off the coast of Darien, CT. (Dec. 2013)

Here’s another shot taken on or near Long Island Sound, in recognition of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s 2019 State of the Birds report. The press release that summarizes the findings may be found here. The full report will be available via PDF on January 1.

Here’s the link to my original posting, which explains why I’m posting so many photos of the Sound.

Long Island Sound II

Photo by Chrisi Bosak A male Osprey flies above a female Osprey at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.
Photo by Chris Bosak
A male Osprey flies above a female Osprey at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.

Here’s another shot taken on or near Long Island Sound, in recognition of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s 2019 State of the Birds report. The press release that summarizes the findings may be found here. The full report will be available via PDF on January 1.

Here’s the link to my original posting, which explains why I’m posting so many photos of the Sound.

Photo by Chris Bosak An Osprey flies with a fish in its talons over the Norwalk River in Norwalk, Conn., summer 2015.
Photo by Chris Bosak An Osprey flies with a fish in its talons over the Norwalk River in Norwalk, Conn., summer 2015.

Report: Long Island Sound faces uncertain future

Photo by Chris Bosak A Common Loon seen during a recent winter in Long Island Sound off the coast of Norwalk, Conn. Loons feature a more drab plumage in the winter.
Photo by Chris Bosak
A Common Loon seen during a recent winter in Long Island Sound off the coast of Norwalk, Conn. Loons feature a more drab plumage in the winter.

Long Island Sound is a special body of water. The estuary that forms the southern border of Connecticut, the northern border of Long Island (N.Y.), ends up at the East River in NYC to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, is a vital habitat for birds and other wildlife.

I have lived in three cities that border Long Island Sound and have spent countless hours birding the coast and open waters. Each December, I participate in a Christmas Bird Count whose territory includes Long Island Sound. The birdlife is varied and thrilling at all times of the year. The fascinating summer birds are replaced by amazing winter birds.

According to the 2019 State of the Birds report released last week, the Sound is as clean and vibrant as it has been in years. However, it also faces an uncertain future as climate change and rising sea levels threaten to drastically alter its landscape. According to the report, the Sound and its wildlife have already been impacted by changes in climate.

The thoroughly researched and well-written State of the Birds report is issued each year by the Connecticut Audubon Society (@CTAudubon). It includes articles by experts from many other state conservation organizations. When I was a newspaperman, I made it a point to attend the annual release event, at which many of the Report’s authors were present. I still look forward to its release each year.

The press release that summarizes the findings may be found here. The full report will be available via PDF on January 1.

To honor the Sound and, hopefully, draw a little more awareness to the Report and its findings, I will post each day this week a photo I have taken at the Sound over the years.

#CTStateoftheBirds

Photo by Chris Bosak A Common Loon seen during a recent winter in Long Island Sound off the coast of Norwalk, Conn. Loons feature a more drab plumage in the winter.

For the Birds: Welcome mat for the typical birds

Here is the latest For the Birds column, which runs in several New England newspapers. Thanks for checking it out …

Photo by Chris Bosak A blue jay grabs a peanut from a deck railing in New England, fall 2019.

The word typical often has a negative connotation.

It is usually used to describe something boring or mundane. “Just a typical day at the office.” Or worse, as a word of exasperation to draw attention to a recurring negative behavior: “He said what? Oh, that’s so typical of him.”

But I’m going to use typical in a positive way here. After all, Thanksgiving is a fresh memory, the holiday season is upon us, and 311 is my favorite band. The band encourages “positivity” and closes its concerts with “Stay positive. Love your life.” So I will do that here with the word typical.

The other day, all the “typical” birds showed up at my feeder. And that’s a good thing.

My typicals include black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, white-breasted nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers and blue jays. You can throw juncos in there, too, during the winter — and late fall as they have already arrived.

Other birds visit from time to time, but those are the birds that are always here. Many people have written to me lately about a lack of chickadees at their feeders. It’s definitely a trend to keep an eye on, but thankfully, I still have plenty of chickadees visiting my feeders. I still haven’t solved the mystery as to why so many people are experiencing a scarcity of chickadees, but I can tell you that I see them often.

I’m not trying to be boastful about my feeders or the fact that I see a lot of chickadees. There are some obvious bird species that I hardly ever see in my backyard.

Cardinals, for whatever reason, are rare sightings at my feeders. I see them all the time in the bushes along the sides of the road when I am driving through the neighborhood, but they avoid my yard like the plague.

Although I get more than my share of juncos in the winter, I rarely see white-throated sparrows — a usual accompaniment of juncos. At my previous houses, white-throated sparrows were a common winter occurrence and easily outnumbered all other winter birds. Here, I barely see them. I’ve seen more fox sparrows here than white-throated sparrows and that’s just plain odd.

I do see a ton of chipping sparrows in the spring and summer, but not enough to add them to my typical list. I am lucky enough to get good numbers of rose-breasted grosbeaks each spring, but their length of stay is too short to make the list. I do enjoy that short window each year, though.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds miss the cut by the barb of a feather. I see them daily from late April until the end of September, but I couldn’t bring myself to include a bird that is not a year-round New Englander. The hummingbirds are off sunning themselves and gorging on insects in Costa Rica or thereabouts, not like the chickadees, titmice and nuthatches that visit me daily regardless of the temperature.

I don’t just give out the title of “typical” to anything, you know.

A look back at winter birding article

Story in Special Places, the magazine of The Trustees
Story in Special Places, the magazine of The Trustees

With the year’s first major snowfall to hit New England over the next two days, here’s a look back at an article I did a few years ago for The Trustees, a Massachusetts-based conservation organization. Check out the group here to learn more about the good things it does.

Here’s a link to the story, if you can’t read the attached document.

Ads turned off on www.birdsofnewengland.com

Photo by Chris Bosak
A beach cluttered with brant is a good thing. A website cluttered with ridiculous ads is not a good thing.

You may have noticed less clutter on this site lately. With it being the holiday season and all, I decided to turn off the automated ad program to give my readers a more enjoyable and less frustrating experience. That, and I wasn’t making any money off of them anyway.

But I am happy to be back to publishing a blog/website free of automated ads. They pervasive on the Internet these days and serve little purpose other than bogging down one’s online experience. I kept them on my site for about eight months and I have to admit I cringed every time I opened the site and saw one of those ridiculous ads competing for space with my bird photos. No more! Away with you, automated ads!

I can’t promise ads are gone forever from birdsofnewengland.com, but if I do bring them back, they will be targeted static ads that I sell and approve myself. Now, if I only had a talent for selling … Oh well, I’ll figure it out. Happy holidays everybody. Enjoy your http://www.birdsofnewengland.com ad-free.