Tuesday 12 May 2015

New Haven, Connecticut, USA - 6 - 11 May 2015

6 May

This week is not all about birding as we are visiting our son before moving on to Long Point Canada.
Fortunately, for us, he lives in New Haven where there are some good little local birding sites. He lives just minutes from East Rock, so this morning we spent a few hours becoming reacquainted with American species.

It was raining when we arrived and that seemed to force birds down from the high tree tops. We first went to Archery Field where we saw quite a few warblers including Myrtle, Blackburnian, Nashville and Ovenbird. There were also Blue Jays, Gray Catbirds, White-breasted Nuthatch, Savannah Sparrow and plenty of American Robins with the bonus of White-tailed Deer and Eastern Chipmunk.

Gray Catbird

Male American Robin

We spent a little time at the summit where we spent most time taking in the view but did notice a number of Cardinals.

The last walk for the morning was to go down to the river and take the path along the riverbank. Here we heard Raven and saw Black and White, Praire, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Waterthrush, American Redstart, Baltimore Oriole, Veery, Peregrine, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireo. There were some very close views of Blue-grey Gnat-catcher. 

Common Yellowthroat

In the afternoon we went to the Peabody Museum at Yale University to have a look around at our son's work, but couldn't resist a little research for the coming weeks.

 Brewster's Warbler explained

7 May

Another start at East Rock Park, this time parking at the Eli Whitney museum and taking the trail along the Mill River. This area seemed to be popular with local birders and early on there were some interesting birds to see. We started off with Wood Duck, Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers, Warbling and Red-eyed Vireo, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Cedar Waxwing, Blackpoll, Myrtle, Black and White and Nashville Warblers.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

As the day grew warmer there were fewer warblers to see but we ended the walk with Louisiana Water Thrush and Black-crowned Night Heron.

 Black-crowned Night Heron

We went back to a couple of good spots from the previous day but got nothing much else.

In the afternoon we tried to get into Quinnipiac Marsh wildlife refuge but there were no routes in. We had more luck with a couple of trails at QuinnipiacMeadows Eugene B. Fargeorge Preserve seeing several pairs of Osprey, Northern Mockingbird, Baltimore and Orchard Oriole, Field Sparrow and Greater Yellowlegs.


 Baltimore Oriele

 Greater Yellowlegs

One last walk along a disused road at East Rock revealed American Redstart, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager and a Racoon sleeping with its head stuffed into a hole.


8 May

We took a lengthy tour of East Rock and found this a rather quiet morning. Our additional species were Indigo Bunting, Hoary Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe and Eastern Kingbird. A Juvenal's Duskying was the only butterfly.

 Black-capped Chickadee

 Juvenal's Duskywing

A run out to Lighthouse point in the afternoon was very, very warm but gave us our first American Oystercatcher. There were a good number of Baltimore Oriole and Northern Mockingbirds with Song Sparrow, House Finch, our first Magnolia Warbler and Great Northern Diver. A Black Swallowtail was in the vegatation around the lighthouse.

 Song Sparrow

Northern Mockingbird
9 May

This afternoon we headed East to Hammonasset Beach State Park. Much research had been done, and this seemed a real chance for seeing Seaside and Sharp-tailed Sparrow, the second of which we have never seen before.

Tree Swallow

We tried along the trails and had some nice views of Tree Swallow and Osprey. There were also Willet, Glossy Ibis, Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, Little Blue Heron, Piping Plover, Grey Plover, Semi-Palmated Plover, Snowy Egret and Least Tern. But no sign of the desired sparrows. Perhaps it was too early for them as most sightings on e-birder were from later in the month through to July.

During the walks we had some close views of Yellow Warbler.

 Yellow Warbler

A Clapper Rail turned out to be very obliging. This is a new bird for us and we got the opportunity to see it really well.

Clapper Rail

Plus a roadside Wild Turkey on the way back, though close to a Turkey farm!

10 May

Was not a birding day, but a Red-shooulder Hawk on a street post alongside the I-95 at West Haven was an addition for the trip.

11 May

Early morning visit to East Rock Park was very disappointing with ver little in the way of migrnts around and no new birds seen.

An afternoon visit to Dinosaur State Park was equally quite apart from a Wood and Swainsons Thrushes and a few butterflies, Eastern Tiger and Palamedes Swallowtails and a Northern Crescent.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Northern Crescent

Sunday 3 May 2015

Somerset - 1 May 2015

The weather has been a little windy for ringing lately and with not too much better to do, having dragged EP with us, we headed off to Somerset, drawn by the Hudsonian Godwit and a visit to some reserves we have never been to before. We were surprised that there are two excellant sites on opposite sides of the road, RSPB Ham Wall to the south and Shipwack and Meare Heaths to the north.

Unfortunately it was a slightly cool day, but fortunately it was an easy bird to see, a walk 300 metres up the old railway line and there it was! Got some nice flight views as the flock was put up occasionally by over flying Harrier.

 Hudsonian Godwit

Shapwick Heath

After some good views of the Godwit, which apart from the Black-tailes there, the only other waders were a single Ruff and Redshank, plus a nice male Garganey at the back of the pool. We wandered along the railway overlooking Shapwick Heath, were we heard two booming Bitterns and saw several Marsh Harriers, Buzzards, Hobbies, Little Egrets and Cetti's Warblers on both side of the track.

We then had a look around Ham Wall were there at least 15+ Hobbies, several Little Egrets, Buzzards and Marsh Harriers again, a Cuckoo and Whimbrel , two Bitterns booming, plus two seen in long flights across either side of the reserve, and 3 Great White Egrets.

Ham Wall RSPB