Birds to brighten your day: April 27

Photo by Chris Bosak
A yellow-rumped warbler perches on a clothesline in Danbury, CT, April 2020. (Merganser Lake)

A Day on Merganser Lake XVIII

Here’s a solo shot of the yellow-rumped warbler. Warblers aren’t known as feeder birds, but I’ve had three yellow-rumpeds and at least two pine warblers all over my suet feeders the last few days. Warblers are small, often colorful birds that winter in parts south and migrate north each spring. Some nest in New England and some pass through New England on their way farther north.

(Repeat text for context:  I’m running out of COVID-19 lockdown themes so from now until things get back to some semblance of normalcy, I will simply post my best photo from the previous day. You could say it fits because of its uncertainty and challenge. I’ll call the series “A Day on Merganser Lake,” even though that’s not the real name of the lake I live near in southwestern Connecticut, it’s just a nod to my favorite duck family.)

Birds to brighten your day: April 23

Photo by Chris Bosak A palm warbler looks for food on the ground in a yard in Danbury, Connecticut, April 2020. Merganser Lake.

A Day on Merganser Lake XIV

I’ve been seeing palm warblers around my yard for about a week now. They are fairly brave as they sometimes approach closely in their search for food. They remain tricky photo subjects, however, because, like most warblers, they are constantly in motion. I got a decent shot of this bird as it hopped along a rocky area of my side yard yesterday.

Palm warblers are usually the second warbler to arrive in New England in the spring, following the pine warbler. Palm warblers are tail-pumpers so if you see a small, yellow bird with a rusty cap sitting on a branch pumping its tail, it’s a palm warbler.

(Repeat text for context:  I’m running out of COVID-19 lockdown themes so from now until things get back to some semblance of normalcy, I will simply post my best photo from the previous day. You could say it fits because of its uncertainty and challenge. I’ll call the series “A Day on Merganser Lake,” even though that’s not the real name of the lake I live near in southwestern Connecticut, it’s just a nod to my favorite duck family.)

Birds to brighten your day: April 20

Photo by Chris Bosak
An eastern towhee hides in thickets in Ridgefield, CT, April 2020.

A Day on Merganser Lake XI

As the spring progresses, I’ll get better shots of eastern towhees. They are one of the earlier migrants in the spring. My hot spot for towhees yielded only a few of them yesterday. In another week or so, the area will be filled with “tow-ee” and “drink-your-tea” sounds. I do like this shot because it shows towhees how they are often seen, hiding among the thickets.

Spring migration is picking up quickly. This morning I’ve already seen a yellow-rumped warbler. My hummingbird feeder is hanging as well, just in case an early arrival shows up. Let me know what you’re seeing out there.

(Repeat text for context:  I’m running out of COVID-19 lockdown themes so from now until things get back to some semblance of normalcy, I will simply post my best photo from the previous day. You could say it fits because of its uncertainty and challenge. I’ll call the series “A Day on Merganser Lake,” even though that’s not the real name of the lake I live near in southwestern Connecticut, it’s just a nod to my favorite duck family.)

For the Birds: Warbler season already

Photo by Chris Bosak
A pine warbler visits a backyard in New England, April 2020, Merganser Lake.

Another quick, one-day break from the A Day on Merganser Lake photo series to bring you the latest For the Birds column …

Could it be warbler season already?

It sure is and I’m just as surprised as the next person. Not that the first week of April is unusual for the early warblers to arrive; it’s right on time.

Still, I was surprised when I looked up and saw a pine warbler perched at the top of my bird-feeder pole system the other day. I wasn’t ready for it. In a normal year, I’d be counting down the days until the first warblers arrived. But this is no normal year. I think we can all agree on that.

Like many others, I’m sure, I’ve been consumed with COVID-19, or coronavirus. It’s on the news 24/7. Grocery stores have one-way aisles, most people are wearing masks and the cashiers are wearing face shields. My work (thankfully I am still working) is busier than ever due to the virus and the days start earlier and end later than ever.

No sports. No concerts. No parties. Heck, no talking to your Continue reading

For the Birds: Keep an eye out for kinglets

Photo by Chris Bosak A ruby-crowned kinglet inspects sedum for food in New England, fall 2019.

I’ve seen them in the deep woods, in my flower garden, in suburban parks and even at a sandy beach.

There are no excuses for missing out on kinglets during the fall migration. That is, unless you aren’t outside enough looking for them, which is unacceptable.

Last week, I wrote about the tiny kinglets being tough creatures able to withstand extremely low temperatures. This week, I’ll take a closer look at kinglets, a good reliable sighting throughout New England during migration periods.

We have two types of kinglets in New England: the ruby-crowned kinglet and the golden-crowned kinglet. Don’t let the names fool you, the color of the crown is not a good way to distinguish the two species in the field. First of all, you hardly ever see the crowns in the first place — especially that of the ruby-crowned kinglet — and secondly, the colors don’t Continue reading

We need more snow geese

Photo by Chris Bosak
Snow geese at Cayuga State Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y., fall 2019.

You didn’t think I was going to post one snow goose photo and leave it at that, did you? Here’s the link to my previous post on snow geese in which I mention that New England, for the most part, misses out (but not by much) on the massive snow goose migrations.

I found these snow geese near the beach at Cayuga State Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y., during a camping trip with three long-time friends. Yes, it’s not New England, but it’s only a few hours drive away and the area gets so many snow geese that people actually complain about them. (At least the one wine pourer did.) It just goes to show the narrow margin by which New England misses the spectacle.

Here are some more shots of the geese. There were four geese there when we visited in late September. In a few weeks, the mowed corn fields will be filled with these beautiful birds.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Snow geese at Cayuga State Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y., fall 2019.
Photo by Chris Bosak Snow geese at Cayuga State Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y., fall 2019.
Photo by Chris Bosak
Snow geese at Cayuga State Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y., fall 2019.

Fall migrant spotlight: Snow goose

Snow goose, Seneca Falls, N.Y., fall 2019.

New England is not known for its snow geese. In fact, most snow geese that I have seen in New England are “stray” individuals hanging out with Canada geese. The massive flocks seem to be reserved for nearby states such as Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York. There are, however, pockets of New England that host large numbers of snow geese for relatively short periods of time. Northern Vermont comes to mind for such a spectacle.

Snow geese are one of the world’s most numerous species. Most snow geese are white (hence the name) but young ones are grayish and there is a blue morph variety. Here’s an interesting tidbit from allaboutbirds.org: “In wintering and migrating flocks that are feeding, lookouts keep an eye out for eagles and other predators. Upon sighting a threat they call out to the rest of the flock, which may take flight.”

Here’s a great article on the snow goose migration from www.pennlive.com

Happy fall migration.