It was a gray day that turned into a snowy day that turned into a misty, gray day. The weather never fails to be part of the story of a Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in New England. Yesterday (Sunday) was the annual CBC in my area and, as usual, I covered the Norwalk (Conn.) coastline and parts inland with Frank Mantlik, one of Connecticut”s top birders. We tallied 61 species, which will be combined with the other birds spotted by the Count’s other teams. Highlights included northern shoveler, northern pintail, prairie warbler, pine warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, northern harrier, merlin and horned lark. Full story coming in my For the Birds column. In the meantime, here’s what the Christmas Bird Count is all about.
Here are some more shots of the cooperative Northern Pintail I spotted in a small roadside pond in Danbury, Conn., the other week. It’s a beautiful bird and this was the first time I’ve ever seen one so close. Enjoy the photos and thanks for your support of http://www.birdsofnewengland.com
Here’s my latest For the Birds Column about a Northern Pintail drake I saw last week. Exciting sighting!
These are the moments nature photographers hope for. Every once in a great while you come across a bird you really want to photograph and the subject is extraordinarily brave, cooperative and within reach of a zoom lens.
Sometimes you even have your camera handy when those moments come around.
Such was the case last weekend when I drove past a pond in Danbury. The pond was small and nearly butted up against the road. I glanced over at the pond, as I always do, and this time saw a most welcomed visitor among the usual Mallards. A lone Northern Pintail drake swam among the greenheads, appearing indifferent to the cars driving past on the fairly busy road.
I found the nearest safe place to turn around. I drove past the pond again, this time on the opposite side of the road, and confirmed my initial identification. I turned around yet again and pulled onto the shoulder as far as I could next to the pond.
The Mallards — two males and two females — and the pintail all stayed put and ignored me. I already had the passenger’s side window down and the radio turned off.
Actually having my trusty camera with me, I go that out and started photographing the duck.
The ducks went about their day and, despite …