The recent reports from Connecticut and nearby states had me itching to go after some of them. This past Saturday, I finally got the chance.
After staying up late the night before watching the Rangers Yankees game, Dave Hursh, Jim Orrico and I got off to a bit of a late start Saturday. Our first stop was the small grove of trees in front of the NY Public Library where a Prothonotary Warbler was being seen and had supposedly been at the same location for the past couple weeks. Locating the bird was easy and along with other birders followed the Protho around as it went about its business.
As well as the grove of trees in front of library, the Prothonotary was frequenting a small patch of dirt beside the sidewalk, feeding on bread and other morsels.
As well as the Porothonotary Warbler, I was surprised when we were able to turn up a couple native species. We got great looks at 2 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers as well as a group of around 5 White-throated Sparrows feeding on the ground with House Sparrows.
Our next stop after the warbler was Mackenzie Reservoir in Wallingford, CT where three uncommon-rare goose species had been reported. Unfortunately, we dipped on the rarest, Barnacle Goose, though the Cackling and Greater White-fronted Geese were nice consolation prizes.
These two were viewable from the raised platform over the reservoir. A check of the other flock didn’t yield any new geese, but the 3 Pectoral Sandpipers was a nice surprise.
Unfortunately, the lighting really didn’t cooperate for these pics:
After our success at Mackenzie, we moved on to Sterling, CT where a reliable female Rufous Hummingbird was being seen at the home of Robert and Linda Dixon.
We hadn’t waited more than 20 minutes before the bird flew in and gave great looks. Robert and Linda were incredibly hospitable and we spent a couple nice hours swapping birding stories watch the birds drawn in by their “birdscaped” property and waiting for the female Rufous to return.
(Note: I tried out something new with these shots in the form of how they were taken. Usually I photograph hummingbirds with my “regular” camera but on Saturday I decided to digiscope the Rufous)
Our final location for the day was a field in Pomfret, CT for some Northern Saw-Whet Owl banding. We caught a second-year female before we had to head out. This is an annual favorite of mine! It’s fantastic to the the owls up close. It’s actually humbling (in a way) how small they are.
All in all a fantastic day. Although there’s much more to birding than chasing rarities, it sure was fun!!