What’s on your bird wish list for 2015?

 

Photo by Chris Bosak An Orange-crowned Warbler seen at Oyster Shell Park in Norwalk, Conn., during Christmas Bird Count, Dec. 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An Orange-crowned Warbler seen at Oyster Shell Park in Norwalk, Conn., during Christmas Bird Count, Dec. 2014.

During the Christmas Bird Count last week I found an Orange-crowned Warbler on my last stop of the day. It was a good bird for the Count and, for me, the first time I had seen one. It was a good way to end 2014, gaining a “life” bird. I’m not big on lists and do not even have an official “life list,” but I do know in my head what I’ve seen and what I haven’t seen. And I know I hadn’t seen an Orange-crowned Warbler before.

So what will 2015 bring in terms of new birds? I guess we will have to wait and see. The bird I’d like to see in 2015 is a Spruce Grouse. It’s a boreal bird so the only chance I have to see one is during a camping trip to northern New England or Canada. I hope to get in at least two camping trips up north in 2015, so we’ll see. I have, however, been looking for them on my camping trips for years and years and have never found one. Maybe this will be my year.

So what’s on your bird wish list for 2015? Leave a comment here, Facebook comment or email me your top bird(s) that you want to add to your life list in 2015.

Oh, and good luck getting it.

Photo by Chris Bosak An Orange-crowned Warbler seen at Oyster Shell Park in Norwalk, Conn., during Christmas Bird Count, Dec. 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An Orange-crowned Warbler seen at Oyster Shell Park in Norwalk, Conn., during Christmas Bird Count, Dec. 2014.

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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

Female Common Yellowthroat

Here’s a female Common Yellowthroat, one of the many confusing fall warblers to watch out for as you hit your favorite birdwatching spots this fall.

Photo by Chris Bosak Common Yellowthroat, first year, southern New England, Sept. 2013

Photo by Chris Bosak
Common Yellowthroat, first year, southern New England, Sept. 2013

5 New England ‘poster birds’ for climate change

Photo by Chris Bosak Bobolink

Photo by Chris Bosak
Bobolink

In response to the recently released State of the Birds 2014 report, Patrick Comins, the director of bird conservation with Audubon Connecticut, spoke about the 5 “poster birds” that will be most affected by climate change and the accompanying shifts in bird population. He was speaking specifically about Connecticut, but certainly all of New England will see this impact.

Comins spoke during a telephone conference to journalists on Wednesday.

Here are the birds he picked:

Saltmarsh Sparrow: Currently breeds in Connecticut, but has difficulty with rising sea levels and high tides. Rising tides will only become worse over the next several decades.

Bobolink: This meadow nester will likely not nest or be seen often in Connecticut over the next several decades.

Dunlin: This handsome shorebird currently nests and may be seen throughout winter along the New England coast. It’s nesting ability in Connecticut, as Comins put it, will “become zero.” It will move its range north and perhaps New England will get some winter views of this bird.

Blue-winged Warbler: This handsome bright yellow warbler will “move up and out.”

Veery: Comins almost picked the Wood Thrush for his final bird, but chose the Veery. It will become scarce in New England.

The phrase “over the next several decades” may give some people cause to relax and think “I’ll never notice it” or “maybe things will change.” But the “next several decades” will be here before we know it. There have been staggering declines in bird populations over the last 40 years. We’re talking some species dropping in number by 50, 60 even 80 percent. That’s just the last 40 years. That’s basically yesterday evolutionarily speaking. Jeez, I can remember 40 years ago. It bothers me to think this decline all happened in my lifetime.

Hopefully the State of the Birds report will get the attention it deserves and affect positive change for birds and all wildlife.

The full report may be found here.

Tricky fall migration

Photo by Chris Bosak A female Common Yellowthroat perches in a tree in West Norwalk late this summer.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A female Common Yellowthroat perches in a tree in West Norwalk late this summer.

Here’s the latest For the Birds column, which runs weekly in The Hour (Norwalk, CT) and The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.)

I’ve mentioned before that the fall migration, for the most part, is less ballyhooed by the birding community.

There are many reasons for this. The spring migration is so eagerly anticipated because it follows winter (usually a harsh one in New England) and birders are itching to see signs of rejuvenation in the natural world. The early flowers do a good job of heightening our spirits, but there’s nothing like the birds’ returning to really get us out of the winter doldrums.

The spring migration is also marked with a wide variety of colorful birds, most notably the warblers and other songbirds that pass through in April and May. The males are in their bright breeding plumage and singing their hearts out. The females are not as brightly colored and not as vocal, but are still a sight for sore eyes in the spring. The birds have a real sense of urgency in the spring migration, too. They need to get to their breeding grounds to get a good nesting spot and get down to th Continue reading

Sibley discusses ‘Birdwatching in New England’

Well-known birdwatcher David Allen Sibley visited The Hour newspaper’s office in March 2014 shortly after the launch of the second edition of his Sibley Guide to the Birds. He sat down with Chris Bosak of The Hour and http://www.birdsofnewengland.com to answer a variety of questions of about birds. Here he discusses birdwatching in New England, where he grew up and currently lives.