Jim Orrico and I spent a terrific Saturday afternoon hitting a couple of spots in Litchfield County, in search of a few recently-reported birds.
Our first stop was Big Meadow Pond in Watertown, where a Barnacle Goose had been frequenting. A good amount of scanning through the brush along the shore of the pond finally revealed the Barnacle Goose, among a large, tight flock of around five hundred Canadas.
Although I’ve seen Barnacle Geese multiple times, once in Califon, New Jersey and once in nearby Westport, Connecticut I hadn’t seen one in a couple of years and was really excited to get some nice looks at what might just be my favorite species of goose. Scope views were pretty decent of the bird swimming among Canada Geese across the pond, and I was even able to obtain a few photos. (As always, click for larger and clearer views).
I was surprised to find the pond and surrounding area to be rather birdy, and noted the following highlights over the course of our hour and a half-long stint: 10 Wood Duck, 3 American Wigeon, 6 Northern Pintail (all females), 2 Green-winged Teal (females), 27 Ring-necked Duck, 3 Black Vulture, 1 Red-tailed Hawk, 3 Pectoral Sandpiper, 17 American Pipit and 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler (among others).
Although a little late, the Pectoral Sandpipers proved to be a fairly straightforward identification. Flushed from the edge of the pond, these birds took off and headed west, over the treeline. Vocalizations and good views of overall size and shape allowed us to identify these birds to species. Since then, a few Pectorals have been seen around Connecticut, proving that these birds have the proficiency to stay well into the autumn.
After spending a good chunk of time at the pond, we headed north to Litchfield, where we enjoyed a fantastic lunch at The Village Restaurant in town, before heading over to check the North Bay of Bantam Lake.
A female Black Scoter that had been present at this location for the last couple of weeks provided point-blank views from the boat launch as it swam and preened just a couple of yards offshore. Other highlights included terrific looks at 2 Ruddy Duck (in the same general vicinity as the scoter), 2 Pied-billed Grebe and an awesome adult Bald Eagle that spent some time circling low over the bay before continuing west.
It was then back home to Fairfield. I was psyched to have finally gotten back out into the field after some complications prevented me from doing so during one of my favorite periods of the birding calendar, and plan on keeping up the momentum now that it seems as if I have some more time on my hands.