Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bobolinks have arrived...

Ken and Janet Etheridge reported siting bobolinks on their walk Sunday evening, May 14. I went out with them Monday evening to see for myself. Among the many red wing blackbirds enjoying the lush grasses along C Lane in the Rocky Hill meadows, were a number of bobolinks, singing their songs and ascending into the late afternoon breeze from the grass. So far no savannah sparrows, yet, but we'll keep our eyes out. Mary Carter has also seen them in the field on the right as you enter the meadows from Ferry Park.

One of the major goals of our IBA data collection project is to identify areas that support grassland addition to these two areas in Rocky Hill. We'll be looking to identify such sites on the Glastonbury side of the River.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Hartford Audubon field trip

Quarry Park and Connecticut River Floodplain
Trip Report, May 5, 2007
A bright sunny day turned out birds and birders. Nine of us started out with the walk through Quarry Park. Some of the leaves were out, but most birds were not hidden, giving some good views.
The parking lot produced the usual suspects. A couple of Baltimore Orioles flew by and perched in a tall tree, giving good looks.
On the road into the park we heard our first Wood Thrush. Also we had our first Yellow-rumped Warbler. They were seen in abundance. We also had a Rock Pigeon. Normally this is not exciting, but this is the first year the bird has been seen on this trip. This area turned into a hot spot with lots of variety. We had a Yellow Warbler, Chimney Swifts, a Gray Catbird, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. We looked and listened to a bird to try to identify it. Not everything matched, but our best conclusion by song was a Northern Parula. We also heard a Common Yellowthroat in this area, but never got to see it.
Climbing the trails into the park, we found a Wood Thrush sitting over the trail. We all got good looks at it. At the top of the trees we found a Blue-headed Vireo, the first year for this species.
At the upper level trail a Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched on a stick long enough for us to see him, then departed. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak also perched on a high twig and gave fine looks. In the distance we heard Blue-winged Warblers and Killdeer.
On returning to the hot spot we had three warblers that were seen for the first year on this trip, Palm Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and American Redstart. A Black-and-white Warbler ended our warbler list.
Six of us continued on into the Rocky Hill meadows. The Connecticut River was flooding over the meadows for the preceding two weeks, but it had receded enough that the roads were passable. Several pools of water were left on the fields, providing good, if temporary, feeding grounds for shore birds.
We started with a Red-tailed Hawk sitting in a tree. Both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs were seen in the pools. Together it was easy to see the size difference. Bobolinks were missing from the field where they are usually sighted.
We stopped by Goff Brook to check out some ducks. They flew off, but we did get a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in a tall tree. We looked and looked at a Sandpiper, trying to make it into something good. Finally we decided it must be just a Yellowlegs. Then the Wood Ducks came back so we could see them.
Our total species of 51, with 9 warblers, was pretty good. Five species we did not have in past years. Only a few common species were missed.
Larry Lunden

Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Red-tailed Hawk, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Ring-billed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher (h), Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue-headed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, European Starling, Blue-winged Warbler (h), Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat (h), Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch
51 species
New this year:
Rock Pigeon, Blue-headed Vireo, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Palm Warbler, American Redstart