A cooperative chickadee

Photo by Chris Bosak A black-ca

For as common, tame and lovable as chickadees are, they can be difficult to photograph because of their tiny size (you have to be close) and constant movement. This one sat still long enough for a few photos the other day.

Photo by Chris Bosak A black-capped chickadee perches in a bush in New England, fall 2021.

A few more kinglet photos

As a follow-up to my last post, which featured the “small, but mighty kinglet,” here are a few more photos of these little dynamos. New England has two types of kinglets: ruby-crowned and golden-crowned. Here are examples of each. Despite their names, the “crown” is not the best way to determine an ID as the crown is not often displayed. Instead, look at their eyes. Ruby-crowned kinglets have a broken eyering (think of a ruby ring) and golden-crowned kinglets have a black streak through their eye.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Golden-crowned Kinglet rests on a branch in Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods in Darien in Nov. 2013.
Photo by Chris Bosak A ruby-crowned kinglet inspects sedum for food in New England, fall 2019.
Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-crowned Kinglet perches in a tree at Selleck’s/Dunlap Woods on May 5, 2014.

And the answer is …

Photo by Chris Bosak A yellow-crowned heron walks through a marsh in New England, summer 2021.

Thanks to those who participated in the latest bird quiz. No one got it right, but everyone who guessed was on the right track in saying it was a young or juvenile bird. The bird in question is a young yellow-crowned night heron. I saw it stalking in a marsh in Milford, Connecticut, earlier this fall. Thanks again for playing along.

A few more yellow-rumped warbler photos

Photo by Chris Bosak A yellow-rumped warbler eats poison ivy berries in New England, fall 2021.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about finding a flock of yellow-rumped warblers eating poison ivy berries. Here are a few more shots. Click here for the original story.

Photo by Chris Bosak A yellow-rumped warbler eats poison ivy berries in New England, fall 2021.

For the Birds: Halloween in nature

Photo by Chris Bosak Praying mantis at Highstead in Redding, CT, summer 2019.

A little late for Halloween, but whatever …

I’ve always liked Halloween. It’s kind of a silly holiday if you think about it, but maybe that’s why I like it so much.

As a kid, trick-or-treating was the highlight of Halloween, of course. It was fun to find a costume and dress up, but it was mostly about the candy back then. As I got in my late teens and 20s, Halloween parties become the highlight of the season. I’ll don’t think I’ll expand on that one. We’ve all been there.

Even as an adult I still like Halloween. I don’t trick-or-treat, and I don’t party as much, but I still like the imagery and aura associated with the holiday. “It feels like Halloween tonight,” I find myself saying on many walks in the fall. Something about those chilly nights with clouds and a bright moon remind me of being a kid trick-or-treating or taking my boys around the neighborhood when they were younger.

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Squirrels: Don’t fight them, feed them

The following article and photos provided by Cole’s Wild Bird Products

Countless backyards are battlegrounds between die-hard homeowners and squirrels fighting over bird feed. Squirrels need not be an inevitable element of bird feeding; even though keeping squirrels out of bird feeders is an age-old problem, there are ways to thwart these thieves.

One common tactic is stocking feeders with seed squirrels dislike, such as safflower, nyjer, white proso millet and seed infused with capsaicin, a compound derived from hot peppers that makes mammals’ tongues smart. An option like Cole’s Hot Meats features nutritious sunflower meats infused with fiery habanero chili peppers. They’re a no waste, no mess feed, birds enjoy but squirrels’ dislike.

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Watch where you step

Photo by Chris Bosak An eft works its way across a path in New England, fall 2021.

If you’ve spent any time in the New England woods in the spring, summer or fall after a rain, you’ve certainly come across an eft or two (probably way more than that.) They wander onto hiking trails and can be quite numerous the day after a rain. I came across several during a recent walk at Huntington State Park in SW Connecticut. Notice the different colors of the two efts pictured. The eft is the terrestrial stage of the eastern newt. The four stages of the newt are described succinctly in the following post by author David George Haskell.

Photo by Chris Bosak An eft works its way across a path in New England, fall 2021.