Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Migrant Fallout along the CT River

I had been house-bound for a week with a bad bronchitis, just having enough energy to fill the feeders for the new backyard arrivals,  the White-throated Sparrows and Purple Finches, and the still present Juncos and  year around Goldfinches.  But mid week I finally felt well enough for a trip to the trail along the CT River in Hinsdale, NH. It was a blustery day with white caps on the river and fallen leaves swirling through the air. This had not however kept the spring migrants from moving in.  A mixed flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers (Myrtle subspecies) and Palm Warblers (Yellow Eastern subspecies) was foraging in the gravel potholes on the path. Most birds were keeping low to the ground, rising only at the approach of my car.

Along the path Ruby-crowned Kinglets were singing and flitting through the dense brush.

Today, Easter morning,  the sun was out as were my fellow birders with their binoculars and cameras. Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Palm Warblers, swooping Tree Sparrows and Barn Sparrows put on a joyful show. After a long winter it was a day to celebrate the renewal of life. 

Good Birding!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Glossy Ibis

This morning at 8:30 AM while checking the ditch next to Cornwell Dr off Krif Rd in Keene for waterfowl I saw a Glossy Ibis foraging next to two Canada Geese. I managed to take a couple of admittedly lousy photos, partially fogged up due to a bad angle with my side view mirror getting in the way. As I was inching up into a better position a big truck drove by and flushed the Ibis. It flew off toward Krif Rd and disappeared. I checked along Krif Rd but was unable to locate it again.

I checked on eBird but couldn't find any other record of a  Glossy Ibis in this area. I didn't see any  waterfowl, other than the two Canada Geese, or snipe in the immediate surroundings.

Good Birding!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Belted Kingfisher

A couple of days ago I was walking along a wooded river front when I saw what appeared to be a fairly large bird flying by. I could just make it out through the bare trees and pines before it disappeared. My presence seemed to have alarmed it as it gave off a sharp rattle by which I recognized it as a Belted Kingfisher (see snippet below)

They usually don't let you get very close. I took these photos of a female from a blind in the Audubon Refuge on Cape Cod:

              Belted Kingfisher by Robin Carter, SC xeno-canto XC1363 (cc)

The bird will usually sit quietly watchful on a perch by a stream or pond, then rise suddenly, hover briefly and plunge-dive into the water to retrieve a small fish or similar prey.

If you want to know more about Belted Kingfishers, how they dig a deep burrow in a steep bank on the water, excavate a chamber for their nest.... how they eventually coax their young with fish in their bills out for the first time .... here is a terrific article.

This is my contribution to this week's World Bird Wednesday hosted by Springman of The Pine River Review. It's featuring birding posts from around the world, well worth a visit!

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

American Woodcock revisited

Last night at 7:40 PM (I timed it) male Woodcocks came out to their staging grounds to woo the local females. From where I stood I heard four males singing, sounding more like insects or frogs than birds. In the gloaming darkness I could make out one of the birds on a path of short weeds turning slowly in all four directions while vocalizing. He then suddenly rose straight up, too high for me to see, filling the air with the sounds his wings were making during the circular ascent, followed by chirping as he descended.

I wasn't able to get any photos, but I thought I repost the ones I took last year.

I had managed to get a recording of the song. 

When you listen carefully you'll hear the following sequence: the thin nasal  buzzy "peent" call preceded by a barely audible "tuko" sound, the twittering made by the wings during sharp turns, and the vocal chirping during aerial flight which becomes louder as the bird descends. The last part of the descent is silent. Then a soft fluttering of the wings as the bird lands.

Here is a snippet of the spectrogram. and wave pattern.

It was raining yesterday, a soft spring rain. During the course of the day I had a migrating flock of Juncos drop in for a visit foraging in the yard. Song Sparrows were scratching underneath the feeder for dropped seeds. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker landed briefly on a tree by the stonewall. The field next to it was studded with Robins hopping and listening. I listened to the buzzy song of an Eastern Phoebe. A Carolina Wren sang loudly from high up in a tree somewhere  In the evening I heard the first Spring Peepers in the wetland next to the house. Spring is surely here. Time to get the hummingbird feeders ready...

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