Christmas Bird Count time

Photo by Chris Bosak A Monk Parakeet seen eating crab apples at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk on Sundayt during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Monk Parakeet seen eating crab apples at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk on Sunday during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

The annual Christmas Bird Count has started — officially kicking off Dec. 14. All throughout the U.S. and beyond, people will count birds to add numbers to a database going back to the year 1900.

The Westport Circle, the count in which I participate, is happening tomorrow (Sunday, Dec. 16, 2017), so it’s off to bed early to prepare for a day of counting birds tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be perfect for such a count: sunny and relatively warm. Of course, I count birds along Long Island Sound, so I’m sure the wind will take care of the relatively warm temperatures and make it unpleasant. Oh well, I have participated in this count for about 15 years and faced everything from snow, sleet, rain, bitter cold temps and high winds. There have also been a few warm days thrown in. Tomorrow looks like a seasonably cold day with no precipitation. Perfect.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

(The shot of parakeet was taken during the Christmas Bird Count a few years ago.)

Latest For the Birds column: Another Christmas Bird Count in the books

Photo by Chris Bosak A large flock of Brant at Calf Pasture Beach, April 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Brant were once again numerous at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, Conn., during the 2016 Christmas Bird Count.

Here’s the latest For the Birds column, which runs weekly in The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.), The Keene (NH) Sentinel and several Connecticut weekly newspapers.

Buffleheads were everywhere. Not in great numbers, particularly, but they were everywhere we looked.

Norwalk Harbor, Norwalk River, Long Island Sound off Calf Pasture and Cedar Point Yacht Club, the small pond at Taylor Farm … it seemed the bufflehead was the duck of the day for the most recent Christmas Bird Count. As I have for the past 16 years or so, I participated in the Westport Circle count and covered East Norwalk with Frank Mantlik.

The Christmas Bird Count is the world’s largest citizen science program, with data going back to 1900. The data helps scientists track bird populations and is valuable in determining what steps, if any, need to be taken to help certain species.

Frank and I found a total of 53 species, which is about typical for us. The weather was wet and gray, so that may account for the slightly lower total. I can’t complain, though; Continue reading

Some photos from the Christmas Bird Count 2015

Photo by Chris Bosak A Monk Parakeet seen eating crab apples at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk on Sunday during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Monk Parakeet seen eating crab apples at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk on Sunday during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Here are some photos of the annual Christmas Bird Count held locally (Westport, Connecticut, Circle) on Sunday. I did the Count with old friends Frank Mantlik and Larry Flynn. Highlight species included: American Woodcock; Orange-crowned Warbler; Nashville Warbler; Northern Shoveler; Gray Catbird; and Wood Duck (about 12 of them).

The above bird is indeed a New England bird. Well, at least it is now. A group of Monk Parakeets bound for the pet stores were believed to have escaped from JFK airport and established wild populations throughout the coastal regions of Long Island Sound. Some people don’t like them because they are non-native and very noisy. They do make good photo subject on occasion, though.

Here are some more photos from Sunday:

Photo by Chris Bosak A Belted Kingfisher seen near the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk on Sunday during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Belted Kingfisher seen near the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk on Sunday during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Northern Mockingbird seen Sunday at Taylor Farm in Norwalk during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Northern Mockingbird seen Sunday at Taylor Farm in Norwalk during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Hour photo/Chris Bosak A Belted Kingfisher seen near the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk on Sunday during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Hour photo/Chris Bosak
A Belted Kingfisher seen near the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk on Sunday during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Hour photo/Chris Bosak A Monk Parakeet seen eating crab apples at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk on Sundayt during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Hour photo/Chris Bosak
A Monk Parakeet seen eating crab apples at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk on Sundayt during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Photo by Chris Bosak Frank and Larry scan Long Island Sound.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Frank and Larry scan Long Island Sound.

 

Good day for Christmas Bird Count (lots of photos)

 

Photo by Chris Bosak Peregrine Falcon at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., seen during the 115th Christmas Bird Count.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Peregrine Falcon at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., seen during the 115th Christmas Bird Count.

The weather was actually quite nice (cold, but calm) and the birds were plentiful. A story about the Christmas Bird Count (Westport Circle) is posted on http://www.theour.com.

I personally had a good day, too, in terms of finding birds. Below are more photos from the interesting birds I found during the count. Yes, I realize the photos aren’t of great quality, but it was very overcast and the photos were taken mostly to prove what was seen. Some of the photos aren’t too bad, though. Anyway …

The highlight was the three warblers I saw at Oystershell Park in Norwalk. Even one warbler species is pretty rare for a New England Christmas Bird Count, but I had three at one location. The warblers were an Orange-crowned Warbler, Continue reading

Christmas Bird Count time is here

CBC-logo-stacked

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season is upon us. The local one that I participate in — the Westport Circle — takes place on Sunday. Many of the counts take place this weekend, but the range to do the count started on Dec. 14 and runs through Jan. 5. Participants spend all day “in the field” counting birds (individual species and total number) and send the data to the circle’s compiler, who turns it all into the National Audubon Society.

The Christmas Bird Count is the world’s largest citizen science program with data going back to 1900. The data helps scientists track bird populations and is valuable in determining what steps, if any, need to be taken to help certain species.

The data, of course, is valuable and is indeed the most important part of the CBC. But it’s also a fun day to look for birds all day. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate — let me rephrase that, the weather hardly ever cooperates — but that only adds Continue reading