Peregrine Falcon visits in the cold

Photo by Chris Bosak A Peregrine Falcon rests on the top of a sailboat mast during a frigid day in Feb. 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Peregrine Falcon rests on the top of a sailboat mast during a frigid day in Feb. 2015.

Wicked cold temperatures returned to New England on Monday. (“Wicked” is for all my Boston friends.)

The Peregrine Falcons that I see from my desk at work returned on Monday, too. They frequently visit the Yankee Doodle Bridge (I-95) and the sailboat masts near the building at which I work. I hadn’t seen them in a while, though. But on Monday, with everything frozen solid except for a few tiny pools of water kept open by bubblers near the boats, they returned.

My vantage point from the fourth floor affords me the opportunity to see when one of the falcons comes in for a landing on the sailboat mast. I noticed it swoop in gracefully Continue reading

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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

Look who’s back on the bridge (Peregrine Falcon)

Photo by Chris Bosak Peregrine Falcon on Yankee Doodle Bridge on I-95 in Norwalk, Conn., April 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Peregrine Falcon on Yankee Doodle Bridge on I-95 in Norwalk, Conn., April 2014.

Two years ago a Peregrine Falcon pair nested and fledged two chicks under the bridge right next to where I work in Norwalk, Conn. I was lucky enough to see the birds every day as they flew, hunted and screeched around the Yankee Doodle Bridge (I-95).

The birds do not nest there anymore — which surprises me because they were successful when they tried two years ago — but they do come to the bridge fairly often. It’s a rare week that I don’t see them and typically it’s a few times a week I see them perched on the bridge. I like my work anyway, but seeing the falcons gives me another thing to look forward to as I start my days.

What birds brighten your days? Comment or email me to let me know.

More photos:

Photo by Chris Bosak Peregrine Falcon on Yankee Doodle Bridge on I-95 in Norwalk, Conn., April 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Peregrine Falcon on Yankee Doodle Bridge on I-95 in Norwalk, Conn., April 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak Peregrine Falcon on Yankee Doodle Bridge on I-95 in Norwalk, Conn., April 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Peregrine Falcon on Yankee Doodle Bridge on I-95 in Norwalk, Conn., April 2014.

Young Peregrine Falcon picks on the wrong bird

Photo by Chris Bosak A young Herring Gull chases away a young Peregrine Falcon at Holly Pond in Stamford in Jan. 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A young Herring Gull chases away a young Peregrine Falcon at Holly Pond in Stamford in Jan. 2014.

The distance and quickness of the event yielded an admittedly lousy photo, but it’s good enough to show that this young Peregrine Falcon has a lot to learn about what prey to target.

I was at Holly Pond in Stamford, Ct., trying to get some photos of a Hooded Merganser pair swimming in a small pool of water surrounded by ice. Suddenly the entire huge flock of gulls (Ring-billed, Herring and a few Greater Black-backed) that had been resting peacefully on the ice rose into the air started making a racket. I assumed at first that someone nearby had a bag of bread to offer the birds, but they all stayed above the water.

Then I noticed that a young Peregrine Falcon had swooped in on the flock. At this point the falcon was trying to single out individual gulls to pursue. Each chase was short-lived as the falcon quickly realized it was smaller than the birds it was trying to take down. Birds of Prey taking down larger prey is not unheard of, but this falcon did not yet have the strength or experience to handle a gull. It tried on three or four bird, got scolded and chased away, and eventually gave up and perched in a nearby tree.

Hey, you can’t blame the falcon. It was hungry and tried for a big, fat meal. Besides, if you don’t try, you’ll never succeed. The falcon learned a lesson and gained some experience. That’s always good in life.

Young Peregrine Falcon in flight

Photo by Chris Bosak A young Peregrine Falcon flies overhead in Norwalk, CT, Dec. 2013.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A young Peregrine Falcon flies overhead in Norwalk, CT, Dec. 2013.

I spotted this young Peregrine Falcon flying around Veterans Park in East Norwalk a few weeks ago. It had a half-eaten prey (a crow, I think) in an open part of the park about 100 yards away, but kept circling around the parking lot where I was. It even has blood on its hooked bill. As many of you know, I’ve been photographing a few Peregrine Falcons along the Norwalk River where I work. (With limited success, admittedly.) This rare and close opportunity was certainly welcomed considering the distance from which I normally have to try to photograph them. Notice the brown plumage of this youngster, as opposed to the blue-gray of the adult.

I have some more photos of this beauty in flight that I will post later.

The latest For the Birds Column: Counting some lucky larks

Photo by Chris Bosak Peregrine Falcon at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Dec. 2013.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Peregrine Falcon at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Dec. 2013.

Click below to read the latest For the Birds column, which appears every Thursday in The Hour (Norwalk, CT) and Monday in The Keene Sentinel (Keene, NH). I talk about my experiences during the Dec. 15 Christmas Bird Count. Those are some lucky larks!

Click here for story.

Oh, and Merry Christmas, everybody.

Young Peregrines gotta eat, too

Photo by Chris Bosak An immature Peregrine Falcon sits on prey at Veterans Park in Norwalk, CT, Dec. 2013.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An immature Peregrine Falcon sits on prey at Veterans Park in Norwalk, CT, Dec. 2013.

Here’s a young Peregrine Falcon eating something or other in the field at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Conn., on Wednesday, Dec. 18. A pair of adult Peregrines and a young one “hang out” near where I work up the river a mile or so. I wonder if this is the same young falcon. At any rate, I didn’t want to close the distance for this photo too much. Young birds — and big ones, too, for that matter — need all the nutrition they can get, especially in winter.

Photo by Chris Bosak An immature Peregrine Falcon sits on prey at Veterans Park in Norwalk, CT, Dec. 2013.

Photo by Chris Bosak
An immature Peregrine Falcon sits on prey at Veterans Park in Norwalk, CT, Dec. 2013.