You don’t see this every day

Photo by Chris Bosak  A luna moth clings to a screen in Danbury, Conn., during spring 2018.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A luna moth clings to a screen in Danbury, Conn., during spring 2018.

I went to fill the feeders the other morning when something caught my eye on the outside of the bathroom window screen. It was a luna moth, a first for my house in Danbury and only about the second sighting overall for me. The first came at a gas station, of all places. I may have found a dead one at some point, too, but I can’t remember for sure.

There was no denying this handsome moth, though. There it was in all its awesomeness, just clinging to the screen. It hung around all day and evening, but was gone by the next morning.

Two interesting facts I learned about luna moths since this sighting: The adult form, which this is, of course, lives for only a week. Secondly, the adult form doesn’t have mouthparts and doesn’t eat. Its sole purpose is to mate.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A luna moth clings to a screen in Danbury, Conn., during spring 2018.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A luna moth clings to a screen in Danbury, Conn., during spring 2018.

 

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The next day this came …

Photo by Chris Bosak  A male indigo bunting eats seeds from a platform feeder in Danbury, Conn., in May 2018.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A male indigo bunting eats seeds from a platform feeder in Danbury, Conn., in May 2018.

I posted my latest For the Birds column yesterday. The day after writing that column — in which I write about seeing my first indigo bunting at a feeder — this guy showed up. Yes, another indigo bunting, but this one a mature male in his awesome breeding plumage. If you recall, the first indigo bunting was a first-year male and sported blotchy plumage (not that I was complaining.) But this new guy really stood out at my feeding station.

A few snapping turtle iPhone photos

Young snapping turtle, by Chris Bosak

Camera phones have come a long way. They are not necessarily practical for bird photography yet, but if you get a cooperative subject like these snapping turtles and pickerel frog, phones can be great for nature photography. They are handy for when opportunities present themselves in the woods or during a drive.
Speaking of snapping turtles, keep an eye on the roadways during this time of year for those gorgeous reptiles. Remember, if you see a turtle in the road, snapping or otherwise, and are in a position to safely help, move it to the side of the road in the direction it was Continue reading

End of winter birding quiz answer

At second look, maybe this one wasn’t so easy. The most popular answers — chickadee and titmouse — are indeed common backyard feeder birds, so they are good guesses. It also does look like a blue jay — the third-most common answer — as it’s hard to gauge how large the bird is in the photo.

Only 10 percent of participants got it right: white-breasted nuthatch. The giveaway is coloration (although it shares blue, black and white with blue jay), especially the rusty red feathers exposed as it flies. Of the options given, it is is only bird that features that rusty red.

The photo above was taken a few seconds before the one of the nuthatch flying off.

Take a look at the original photo again:

 

Thanks for playing along!

A flurry of winter bird photos before spring begins

Photo by Chris Bosak A red-bellied woodpecker grabs a peanut from a feeder, March 2018.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A red-bellied woodpecker grabs a peanut from a feeder, March 2018.

Andrew, my 14-year-old going on 21, and I took a walk in the woods together this evening. These walks don’t happen as often as they used to or as much as I’d like, so I was more than happy when he said ‘yes,’ when I asked if he’d like to come along.

The trail behind my house is covered in snow, but it’s been walked on and packed down so it’s not much different than walking on dirt or on a sidewalk. But, as my walks with Andrew almost always go, we veered off the path to check out one thing or another. As we ventured away from the path, the snow at spots was still a foot or more deep. A foot or deeper on March 19, two days away from the official start of Continue reading

Preening away II

Here are a few more preening photos to go along with my last For the Birds column post. Click here in case you missed it.

Photo by Chris Bosak A yellow-crowned night heron preens in Norwalk, Conn., summer 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A yellow-crowned night heron preens in Norwalk, Conn., summer 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Piping Plover preens at Milford Point in spring of 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Piping Plover preens at Milford Point in spring of 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Piping Plover preens on the beach at Milford Point, Conn., in April 2014.

Great work by The Trustees on this magazine story

Story in Special Places, the magazine of The Trustees

Story in Special Places, the magazine of The Trustees

Kudos to the layout team at Special Places, the magazine of the The Trustees of Reservations, a Massachusetts conservation organization with many terrific lands under its care. I was asked to write a story on winter birdwatching, which of course I accepted. The editorial and layout team did a great job of packaging the story and making the story look great. (All of the photos are mine, too, except for the nice shot of the snowy owl, which was taken by Ryan Pennesi.)

I know this photo of the layout makes the story close to impossible to read (if not impossible). The text will be available soon at the website of The Trustees. Check out what this great organization has been up to at www.thetrustees.org.