Thursday, July 17, 2008

Swallow Behavior
Maggie P. reminded me of some great bird behavior we witnessed when paddling in Whalebone Cove. We watched as a group of about five or six Tree Swallows meandered above the water, up about 15 to 20 feet. They were carrying something in their beaks, small and white, and dropping it, then catching it before it hit the water, flying back up and then dropping it again, and repeating the whole thing many times. At first I thought it to be a moth that they were dropping, but it turned out to be swan feathers, many of which were floating on the water's surface from a recently passing swan. They were "playing" with the feathers, perhaps a way of practice for retrieving insects while on the wing.

I love fun behaviors like this! I will soon have to tell you about the berry dance I have seen Cedar Waxwing pairs do.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer is Here!

It sure has been a while since I posted something. Sorry about that.

I have had many adventures over the last month with birding friends including finally seeing my first Least Bittern in Connecticut. A good birding friend, Hank G. took me out by boat to search for the bittern on a very wet and cold day back in early June. It was one of those days where the cold just runs right through you, damp, cold hands, all making you wonder why you are out there; cold rain slapping you in the face.

We found the only bittern of the day two minutes after leaving the dock. We joked about heading back to the dock but both of us enjoy the marsh so much it remained a joke. We wanted to see more. We laughed too about the occasional mention of Marsh Wrens on the CT Rare Bird Report, after we had seen or heard about 50 Marsh Wrens. Not rare locally anyway!

I had a great paddle adventure with my friend Maggie P. along the backwaters of Whalebone Cove in East Haddam where we saw many Eastern Kingbirds defending their territories. Earlier in the day, with help from volunteer Jim D. , we were able to get great looks at both Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed and Seaside Sparrows, enjoying their very distinctive insect-like songs. Thanks to Maggie for the photos.

Joe V. and Joe V. Jr. and I set out for a full day of birdfinding, some great target birds in mind. Cerulean Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, Black-billed Cuckoo and the two earlier mentioned sparrows were only part of the long list we acquired on a great day of birding in the southeast corner of the state.

Recently, adventurous traveler Leslie M. and I spent the morning looking for a few first-time birds for her. Cerulean Warbler was top on her list and we were giddily happy that we found one at our first stop of the day. We had great luck with other birds too including a stupendous interview with a handsome Hooded Warber. Leslie will be joining me in Cuba. Wait until she sees the Bee Hummingbird!

At EcoTravel, Priscilla and I have been very busy with day trips and planning and coordinating our overnight trips. The Arizona tour is soon to depart, so much of our time has been spent on all of those arrangements of hotel, rental vans, permits, air reservations, and all the stuff you need to do for a group of 14 and their leaders.

Lots coming up this fall so plan to join us. Take a look at the EcoTravel website.

Planning further ahead, join us on some of the big trips we have planned for the spring including Ecuador, Tanzania, Galapagos, Cuba, and more. Give me a call for more details. 800-996-8747.

Hope to see you out birding. Come join me! Cheers!