May 23, 2020

Field Orno- Greenstone Hollow Nature Preserve East Granby, CT

For our last day of field ornithology I went to a small nature preserve. I arrived at 8:00 AM, which is way later than I would have liked but I had to wait for my mom to get off her overnight "on-call" shift. It was sunny and very warm all day, around 75 degrees F. While a very pretty spot with lots of wetland birds, it was rather small so there wasn't too much going on. I spotted a Canada Warbler and a Blue-headed Vireo, which was pretty exciting as they were both really pretty birds that I wasn't expecting to see. Speaking of birds I wasn't expecting to see, there was a Green Heron, one of my favorite birds that I've been looking for all week, in one of the marshes. It fished for a while before flying off. I heard some Yellow Warblers, but and some Blue-winged Warblers, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't find them. I didn't get eyes on the Warbling Vireos I heard either but that wasn't AS sad. Since it wasn't very big and my mom hadn't had the chance to come with me yet we stopped by a pond a little down the road to see if we could find any more waterfowl, which is where we found the geese, Mallards, and Great Blue Herons and went home at 11:45 AM. It was a nice, chill, relaxing way to say goodbye to this fun class.

Posted on May 23, 2020 00:21 by jrose489 jrose489 | 30 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 22, 2020

Field Orno- Windsor Locks Canal Trail

Today I was supposed to go to Longmeadow Flats but after 45 minutes of searching, being unable to find it on a map, and having weird issues with the website I am convinced that this it's a conspiracy theory and it never actually existed. At around 7:30 AM we ended up right by Fannie Stebens Wildlife Refuge, which we went to for the first day of this class. It was sunny all day and around 50-60 degrees F. We walked down the road next to the boggy area to see if we could find more herons. There was a RIDICULOUS amount of Canada Geese with lots and lots of goslings being fed bread by some lady (appreciate the enthusiasm and the fact that she seems to really love geese but also bread is bad please don't feed ducks and geese bread it can block their digestive systems and no one wants that). There was also a female Mallard with her ducklings and a Mute Swan chilling by the road in the shade. We then decided that rather than walk through Fannie Stebens again we would go to see the Bald Eagle nest on a trail less than 5 miles from our house at about 8:20 AM. Yesterday I declared chipmunks as my arch nemesis as a joke but when we got there we looked down to see a small weasel with a dead chipmunk nearly the size of it in its mouth and I feel like it was nature's way of apologizing. There were tons of other animals besides birds as well like beavers and painted turtles. On our way up the canal one of the eagles (I believe it was the male of the pair as it was much smaller than the other one we saw in the area) sitting in a tree by the nest, which is what the pictures are of. Later we saw a larger eagle, probably the female, fly over us from that direction. On our way back to our car we stopped by the nest to see the one of them feeding a juvenile that sadly was a little camera shy. Right after leaving a Cooper's Hawk landed right above us on a low branch. After taking some pictures we turned around to walk to a different viewpoint and when we turned around it was gone. We heard some birds start panicking to our left and we turned just in time to see the hawk snatch a blackbird right out of the air. Since it was almost noon we walked all the way back to our car right after, making that an exciting end to today's excursion.

Posted on May 22, 2020 00:52 by jrose489 jrose489 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 20, 2020

Field Orno Forest Birds- Great Pond State Forest Simsbury, CT

This has been the best spot for birding I have been to so far. It was a mixed forest with large patches of pure conifers and large patches of mostly deciduous. There was also a power line running through with some grassland birds and plenty of wetland around the pond. I found an insane amount of species due to this large variety of habitat with the help of a friendly birder whose name I didn't catch. I arrived at 7:00 AM and left at 12:15 AM. It was sunny all day and the temperature started at 55 degrees F and rose to about 62 degrees F by the time I left. We started by walking the loop around the pond, where I found plenty of warbler, vireo, and woodpecker species. There were spots along the trail that led to the water. These areas are where I found swallows, flycatchers, and Red-winged Blackbirds. About halfway through the loop we took a break and watched a Great Blue Heron fish for a while and found a male Wood Duck when it emerged from behind some reeds. The birder ran into my dad and I multiple times as he was chasing certain birds around and would point out species such as the Northern Parula and some of the warblers and help me tell the difference between similar ones like the vireos. As I went to leave he told me that another way from the entrance led to the powerlines and then to another swatch of forests that was good for Scarlet Tanagers. This is also where I found the Veery and the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. On the way back we had to walk along the powerline and found the Eastern Meadowlark and the Red-tailed Hawks. Really the only negative was the obscene amount of chipmunks that just start screaming if you come within 20 feet of them, which apparently wasn't specific to this area. 10/10 would come back and I would recommend this spot to anyone in the area.

Posted on May 20, 2020 21:37 by jrose489 jrose489 | 37 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 19, 2020

Field Orno Grassland Birds- Southwick Wildlife Management Area Southwick, MA

After taking two steps on the path I heard a noise, wheeled around and saw an American Woodcock chilling out right next to the path. Given that I hadn't expected to be able to find one, I took this as a good luck sign. I was wrong. Part of this management area must have been haunted because for a large amount of my start time in one corner of the area, where all you could see was hay fields, it was DEAD silent. Not even crickets. However as I circled around to walk back towards the start I came upon an area with a shrubby edge and suddenly there were tons of birds. There was a swarm of birds diving for insects and upon following some I was able to ID them as Eastern Kingbirds and Tree Swallows. I had some trouble identifying what the Chipping Sparrows were until I heard them sing. I found multiple kinds of warblers, mostly yellow and prairie. Eastern Towhee was on a sign at the entrance, and I found out why when I found way more than I expected too. I found a kestrel box that a birder I met at Fannie Stebens told me about and soon after saw an American Kestrel flying between trees. However, I don't know if it was nesting in that box as it didn't move from that tree while I was watching it. There were multiple Red-tailed Hawks in the area as well as one Turkey Vulture flying over the road next to the entrance. Right as I was leaving two Indigo Buntings flew out of the woods and perched in a small shrub in the grassland area. I definitely learned from this experience that knowing songs well enough to confidently ID birds is very important as it was sometimes really difficult to find where the bird whose song I could hear was.

Posted on May 19, 2020 19:16 by jrose489 jrose489 | 26 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Field Orno Waterbirds- Fannie Stebens Wildlife Refuge

For our "Waterbirds" day in Field Ornithology (May 18, 2020) I visited Fannie Stebens Wildlife Refuge. I arrived at 7:30 and left at 12:15. It was overcast and around 60 degrees F all day. At first I walked and looked for birds along the edge of the wetland on the suburban road to get to the trail. I then entered the refuge, where the primary habitat was wetland. Some microhabitats were very like grassland, but were on a floodplain and consisted of wetland vegetation. After finishing a loop in the refuge I again walked along the more suburban edge to a group of large ponds where the herons and cormorants were found. After reaching a pier and seeing a marked osprey nest on a platform (which didn't appear to be active) I walked back down the wetland edge and left.

Posted on May 19, 2020 00:33 by jrose489 jrose489 | 26 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment