Here’s another shot taken on or near Long Island Sound, in recognition of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s 2019 State of the Birds report. The press release that summarizes the findings may be found here. The full report will be available via PDF on January 1.
Here is the latest For the Birds column, which runs in several New England newspapers.
Most birds make a statement with their plumage, be it with bright and flashy colors or muted, subtle tones.
Some birds stand out from the crowd with other features, such as the heron’s long legs, the Atlantic puffin’s oversized bill, an owl’s huge eyes, or the northern mockingbird’s incredible repertoire of songs.
One New England bird seems to make a statement with everything it does. The American oystercatcher is large, has handsome brown, black and white plumage, has strikingly colorful features, and is loud and conspicuous.
Despite all this, the oystercatcher still seems to fly under the radar of the birding world’s consciousness. It is strictly a coastal bird and is somewhat wary, Continue reading
I was trying to find something on my computer’s desktop recently and just couldn’t find it for the life of me. I knew it was there and I knew I kept somehow looking right past it. Yet, it escaped my view.
My eyes eventually fixed upon it, but the whole experience got me thinking. Why did I have such a hard time trying to find that damn file? The answer was blatantly obvious. I have way too much sh … stuff on my desktop. I looked at the contents of my desktop and many are folders of photos I took during 2014. Some contained photos I used for one reason or another, and some contained photos that never saw the light of day: not in a column, website posting, nothing.
So with this posting, I’ll start showing some of the photos that I “never got around to” in 2014. It will force me to go through the folders, clean up my desktop and, hopefully, give visitors to this site some nice, until now never-before-seen New England wildlife photos. I’ll post several photos over the next few days. I hope you like these almost-forgotten photos.
I’ve been volunteering to monitor shorebirds at a Connecticut beach this spring. This involves looking for Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers and other birds that rely on coastal areas to raise their families. I’ve found several nests of plovers and oystercatchers and it’s a thrill to know they are using our beaches to raise the next generation of shorebirds. The areas are roped off and nests are further protected by fencing.
Until now, traffic has been fairly light on the beaches. A few beach walkers, some with dogs on leashes, are all I’ve come across. (Of course I monitor the birds on Monday mornings, so beach traffic is expected to be light.) But with the Memorial Day weekend upon us, beach traffic will increase tremendously — just at a time when the birds are most vulnerable with eggs and babies to take care of.
When you visit beaches this weekend and throughout the summer, please keep in mind that shorebirds may be nesting nearby and to give them a wide berth. The most vulnerable areas along our beaches are roped off, so mind the barriers and keep dogs on leashes (if dogs are even allowed at your favorite beach.) The crowded beaches are not likely to have nesting shorebirds, but be mindful when visiting the less traveled coastal areas.
Thank you and have a great weekend.
So I woke up the boys for school, got them breakfast and rushed them to the car for drop off. I turned into the school parking lot: empty. No school. Scheduled “staff development” day. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve done that. Damn.
Oh well. I’ve committed to monitoring Piping Plovers and other shorebirds and, later, Least Terns on a volunteer basis on Monday mornings through the spring and summer. “Boys, we’re going shorebird monitoring.”
They didn’t object and Will was actually excited and wanted to carry the camera with him. I filled them in on what we were looking for and, more importantly, why we were looking for them. Piping Plovers are a threatened species and protecting their nesting areas is critically important.
We saw about 10 Piping Plovers today (Monday, April 21, 2014), including a pair copulating. “That’s how they make babies,” I told Andrew and told him how to spell ‘copulation.’ He was the official note taker for the day. Wonder if he’ll try to use that word in one of his fifth-grade essays. It’s OK as long as he uses it correctly and age appropriately, I guess.
We also saw eight American Oystercatchers, a pair of Osprey and countless shells, which entertained the boys as much as the birds.
All in all, a good, educational day with the boys. Thank goodness school was out.