A “colorful” little warbler

Photo by Chris Bosak A Black-and-White Warbler looks throughout an evergreen for food at Selleck's Woods in Darien, Conn., 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Black-and-White Warbler looks throughout an evergreen for food at Selleck’s Woods in Darien, Conn., 2015.

I saw plenty of warblers on my latest bird walk. Most of them were Yellow-rumped Warblers. I was hoping for more variety, but I’ll take a bunch of Yellow-rumped Warblers any day. There were also Prairie Warblers, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler.

The second-most abundant warbler was the Black-and-White Warbler. True to its name, this warbler has no flashy colors to make it stand out among the leaves. Which is fine because this warbler is usually found on the trunks and lower branches of trees anyway. It’s one of the few warblers that does most of its hunting on the trunks of trees. It will often hunt low in trees, making it one of the easiest warblers to find on a bird walk. Many warblers hunt almost exclusively among the leafy tops of trees, making them very difficult to find.

It may lack the color of other warblers, but it’s still a striking little bird with its streaked plumage.

So what’s your warbler story? Feel free to comment or send me an email.

Junco season winding down

Photo by Chris Bosak A Dark-eyed Junco perches in a tree in New England in March 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Dark-eyed Junco perches in a tree in New England in March 2015.

We love to see our first Dark-eyed Juncos of the late fall. They remind us that our winter birds have arrived and will be with us for the next several months.

Well, those months are passing by quickly and soon the junco sightings will become scarce again. So here’s a shot I took of a junco the other day. Will it be one of the last— at least until next fall?

Did you know …

• Juncos are members of the sparrow family

• There are several types of juncos in the U.S., including Slate-colored; Oregon; Pink-sided; White-winged; Gray-headed; and Red-backed. Only the Slate-colored is found in New England.

 

Hey, a hawk’s gotta eat, too

Photo by Chris Bosak A Red-tailed Hawk eats a Gray Squirrel in a cemetery in Darien, Oct. 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Red-tailed Hawk eats a Gray Squirrel in a cemetery in Darien, Oct. 2014.

A local cemetery is often fruitful when it comes to finding birds. This day was no exception as literally hundreds of juncos and other small sparrows scattered as I drove slowly along the narrow roads.

I almost missed the highlight of the short birding trip, though. I glanced to my right just in time to see a Red-tailed Hawk on the ground a few dozen yards away. I hit the brakes and backed up just a touch. A Red-tailed Hawk on the ground usually means it is eating. Such was the case as this raptor was picking apart a freshly-killed Gray Squirrel. I watched for a bit, snapped a few photos and left the hawk to its meal. They aren’t called birds of prey for nothing.

More photos below:

Continue reading

Yes, a ‘green’ heron

Photo by Chris Bosak The back plumage of a green heron.

Photo by Chris Bosak
The back plumage of a green heron.

Green Heron’s often do not look green because the green is not a bright, neon green, but rather a dark muted green. Also, from a distance, which is where the bird is usually viewed, the bird looks more brownish or greenish-brown. I was lucky enough to photograph from a fairly close range one of these birds last week. Zooming in on the feathers on its back, here’s why it’s called a Green Heron. Of course, much of it depends on how the light is hitting the plumage.)

Here’s a full view of the bird.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Green Heron stalks a pond in Darien in this fall, 2014 photo.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Green Heron stalks a pond in Darien in this fall, 2014 photo.

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

White-winged Scoter hanging out with shorebirds

Photo by Chris Bosak A White-winged Scoter rests on the beach as a Ruddy Turnstone shares the area at Coastal Center at Milford Point on Monday, May 12, 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A White-winged Scoter rests on the beach as a Ruddy Turnstone shares the area at Coastal Center at Milford Point on Monday, May 12, 2014.

While doing my weekly volunteer shorebird monitoring at Coastal Center at Milford Point, I came across a surprise bird on the beach. A White-winged Scoter, usually a bird I see in the distance on the waters of Long Island Sound during the winter, was sitting on the beach with dozens of little (in comparison) shorebirds.

It was an odd scene to see the scoter resting on the beach as Ruddy Turnstones, Dunlin and Semipalmated Plovers scampered all around it.

Scoters are large sea ducks. Three types are seen along the New England coast: Surf; Black; and White-winged.

The day also included sightings of Peregrine Falcon (a young one sitting on the beach), Least Terns, Brant, American Oystercatcher, Piping Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, and other shorebirds.

Photo by Chris Bosak White-winged Scoter at Milford Point, Connecticut, May, 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
White-winged Scoter at Milford Point, Connecticut, May, 2014.

Warbler season chugging along; lots of warbler photos

Photo by Chris Bosak A Black-throated Green Warbler perches in a tree at Selleck's/Dunlap Woods on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Black-throated Green Warbler perches in a tree at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

The New England spring warbler season is upon us in a big way and my favorite hang out, Selleck’s Dunlap Woods in Darien, Conn., is no exception. On Sunday, I counted 11 warbler species — with huge numbers of Black-and-white Warlbers and Black-throated Green Warblers — in addition to plenty of Baltimore Orioles, Gray Catbirds, and two vireo species.

Warblers are small, often colorful songbirds that winter in Central or South America and return to New England and points north each spring to breed. The spring warbler season is the highlight of the year for many birdwatchers.

It was a good day photographically, too, as I was able to get some decent shots for the first time of several species. So here, in no particular order, are a slew of spring migrant songbird photos — all taken either Sunday, May 4, or Monday, May 5.

I will be leading a walk from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods. It is presented by the Darien Land Trust and open to all. Hope to see you there.

Lots more photos below. Click “continue reading.”

Photo by Chris Bosak A Black-throated Blue Warbler perches in a tree at Selleck's/Dunlap Woods on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Black-throated Blue Warbler perches in a tree at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

Continue reading