Common Loons are a year-rounder for New England

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.

Here’s my latest For the Birds column regarding Common Loons being a year-round New England bird. It was inspired by the release of a study that determined that loons are loyal to both summer and winter sites. Enjoy and thanks for checking out http://www.BirdsofNewEngland.com

Common Loons are a year-round New England bird. You won’t see them at the same place in the summer and winter, but they are true to our region. In the summer, head to the northern New England lakes and ponds and you’ll see loons. Those waters will be void of loons in the winter. In fact, there’s a very strong possibility that those waters will be frozen in the winter. But head to southern coastal New England in the winter, and you’ll see loons. Some loons head farther south for the winter months, but many spend their winters on Long Island Sound or off the Atlantic coast. As a bonus, these wintering grounds also play host to a fair amount of Red-throated Loons, too. But these waters are void of loons in the summer. So, unlike say, for instance, a Black-capped Chickadee, which can be seen

Read the rest of the column here.

Yet more Osprey shots

Photo by Chris Bosak A first-year Osprey sits on the top of a sailboat mast along the Norwalk River in Norwalk, Conn., summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A first-year Osprey sits on the top of a sailboat mast along the Norwalk River in Norwalk, Conn., summer 2015.

I had mentioned in the previous post that I was photographing a young Osprey on the top of a sailboat mast when I spotted another Osprey overhead carrying a fish in its talons. Naturally I was more excited about the Osprey carrying a fish so I posted that photo first.

So with that photo out of the way, here are some more Osprey photos that I have taken in the last week — yes, including a few of that young Osprey on the sailboat mast.

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.

Photo by Chris Bosak An Osprey sits near its nest on Fish's Island off the coast of Darien, Conn.,  in summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An Osprey sits near its nest on Fish’s Island off the coast of Darien, Conn., in summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak A first-year Osprey sits on the top of a sailboat mast along the Norwalk River in Norwalk, Conn., summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A first-year Osprey sits on the top of a sailboat mast along the Norwalk River in Norwalk, Conn., summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak An adult Osprey sits on a piling (left) as a first-year Osprey sits in a nest off the coast of Norwalk, Conn., summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An adult Osprey sits on a piling (left) as a first-year Osprey sits in a nest off the coast of Norwalk, Conn., summer 2015.

 

 

Osprey with fish. Can you name the fish?

Photo by Chris Bosak An Osprey carries a fish along the Norwalk River in Norwalk, CT, summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An Osprey carries a fish along the Norwalk River in Norwalk, CT, summer 2015.

I’m pretty good with my birds, but only very average with my fish. I got this photo of an Osprey carrying a fish along the Norwalk River on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. I was photographing a young Osprey on a sailboat mast when this older Osprey flew by with its prey. The younger Osprey looked up and gave a look as if to say: “I wish I could do that.” The youngster will learn soon enough.

It looks like a fairly good-sized fish, but honestly my fish ID skills are not up to par. Who knows what it is? Thanks for your input.

Black-crowned Night Heron and their big red eyes

Photo by Chris Bosak A Black-crowned Night Heron looks for food in Holly Pond in Stamford in summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Black-crowned Night Heron looks for food in Holly Pond in Stamford in summer 2015.

I finally got my big camera lens back. I sent it to the “shop” months ago. “Oh, it will be back soon,” I heard week after week. But it’s back for real now. The next morning I drove by Holly Pond on the Stamford/Darien border and noticed a few Black-crowned Night Herons perched on rocks and branches exposed from the low tide. So I got between the sun and birds and tried out my newly fixed lens. it’s good to have it back.

More shots of the birds are below. Thanks for checking out http://www.birdsofnewengland.com

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Good news about Connecticut Audubon Society’s ‘Osprey Nation’

Photo by Chrisi Bosak An Osprey flies over Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.

Photo by Chrisi Bosak
An Osprey flies over Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.

Press release from Connecticut Audubon Society: 

Osprey Nation, the Connecticut Audubon Society’s citizen science program, has grown significantly in its second year, with more volunteer stewards documenting, mapping and monitoring considerably more nests than last year.

Statewide, 134 Connecticut residents are volunteering this nesting season to collect bi-weekly and monthly data on the state’s rapidly increasing Osprey population – 31 more volunteers than last year.

These Osprey Nation volunteers have found 492 nests in 2015, 78 more than last year’s 414 nests. They are monitoring 296 of those nests, 122 more than last year’s 174.

And although it can be difficult to observe the inside of distant nests on raised platforms, data submitted so far indicate that 94 pairs of Osprey Continue reading

Photos from Long Island Sound research cruise

Hour photo/Chris Bosak Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk educators and visitors look at the haul from a net brought in from Long Island Sound during a cruise aboard the Aquarium's new research vessel RV Spirit of the Sound on Saturday afternoon.

Hour photo/Chris Bosak
Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk educators and visitors look at the haul from a net brought in from Long Island Sound during a cruise aboard the Aquarium’s new research vessel RV Spirit of the Sound on Saturday afternoon.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be able to join a research cruise of Long Island Sound aboard the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s new vessel Spirit of the Sound. It was the first day the nearly $3 million vessel took members of the public onto the water. (Yes, I was one of the first guests aboard, in case that ever comes up in a trivia questions.)

Anyway, I photographed the cruise for The Hour newspaper and I’ll add a link to the photo collection below.

Norwalk is lucky to have two nonprofits that offer cruises out among the Norwalk Islands. The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk and the Norwalk Seaport Association. To know something is to love something and these terrific organizations are dedicated to educating people about Long Island Sound, a vitally important ecosystem.

Here’s the link to more photos.

Hour photo/Chris Bosak Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk educator Nicole Rosenfeld shows off a spider crab caught in Long Island Sound aboard the Aquarium's new research vessel RV Spirit of the Sound on Saturday afternoon.

Hour photo/Chris Bosak
Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk educator Nicole Rosenfeld shows off a spider crab caught in Long Island Sound aboard the Aquarium’s new research vessel RV Spirit of the Sound on Saturday afternoon.

A few more Osprey photos

Photo by Chrisi Bosak An Osprey flies into its nest with nesting material at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.

Photo by Chrisi Bosak
An Osprey flies into its nest with nesting material at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.

Here are a few more photos of the new Osprey nest at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn. See previous post for more information about the nest and its Continue reading

The new Osprey nest in photos

Photo by Chris Bosak An Osprey adjusts a stick in its nest at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An Osprey adjusts a stick in its nest at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak A male Osprey flies into a nest occupied by its mate at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A male Osprey flies into a nest occupied by its mate at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., April 29, 2015.

There’s a new Osprey nest in town. Big deal, you may be thinking, Osprey are everywhere these days. Well, that’s true and, of course, that’s a good thing.

This particular Osprey nest is in Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., a coastal town in southern New England along the Long Island Sound. What makes this Osprey nest special is its accessibility for people to see. Hopefully when the busy s Continue reading

Long-tailed Ducks in transition

Photo by Chris Bosak A pair of Long-tailed Ducks in transition plumage swims in Long Island Sound, April 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A pair of Long-tailed Ducks in transition plumage swims in Long Island Sound, April 2015.

Here’s a shot of a pair of Long-tailed Ducks transitioning from their mostly white winter plumage to their mostly dark summer plumage. Some birds looks the same year-round and some birds look different in the summer and winter. Most ducks (but not all) go through a few different plumages as the year goes on.

These Long-tailed Ducks (formerly Oldsquaw) will be heading to their Arctic breeding grounds soon. When they are along coastal New England in the winter, we see their white plumage. It’s one of the few birds, in my opinion anyway, that look more decorated in the winter than in the summer. Take the Common Loon for instance. It sports its famous black-and-white spotted plumage in the summer, but changes to a much more drab grayish plumage in the winter.

We are lucky to have many Arctic nesters spend their winters in New England. It’s interesting to see their plumage transitions, giving us a glimpse of what they look like when they are “up north.”

Brant, Brant and more Brant

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

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

I love seeing Brant along Long Island Sound. It’s fascinating knowing a bird that is so close in the winter will be spending its summer in the Arctic. Of course, lots of birds we see in New England during the winter _ especially waterfowl _ nest far north of here, but few are as easily seen as Brant.

Brant, which look similar to Canada Geese but are smaller and have different markings, gather in massive flocks along parts of Long Island Sound from late fall to early spring. Many Brant are Continue reading