New England Coastal BIrds

New England Coastal BIrds

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Part 6, "Open Water and Long Calls"

     Part 6- Day 13, Thursday, February 14- North Farms Reservoir, Wallingford, CT-  North Farms is on my way to South Meriden, and I always stop regardless of the season. This small "lake" is close to Int. 91 which is known as a migration corridor. It is also adjacent to Bishop's Ponds just to the north and MacKenzie Reservoir is only two miles south. The surrounding area is dotted with cornfields, although much of this open land is shrinking due to development. It has attracted many uncommon and rare species (mostly waterfowl) here over the years including Barnacle Geese, Tundra Swan, Redhead, Blue Geese, Northern Shovelers, Bald Eagles (which are now more common), Snowy Owl,  and an adult Black-headed Gull which made a quick stop back in December of last year.

     With a fairly large opening in the ice, many species of waterfowl took advantage  Besides the usual species- Canada Geese, Mute Swans, local pet Geese, Mallards, Ring-billed Gulls and a few
Black Ducks, a small flock of nearly fifty Ring-necked Ducks joined the group-

     In the large group of resting waterfowl standing on the ice, a single drake Pintail takes a nap (center left)-

       Hen Common Merganser-

     A pair of Common Mergansers-

     Coots (aka mudhens) were also among the waterfowl-

     two banded hybrid Geese-

     Obviously the State was busy banding Geese in the area since the majority of all the Canada Geese were banded-

     A second drake Pintail flies in with a small flock of Mallards-

     On the way to Madison, I drove along the marshes of Great Harbor starting at Stoney Creek and heading east towards Guilford. I checked my usual spots: Stoney Creek Harbor, Little Harbor, and Shell Beach, but the area was quiet. As I was crossing the causeway by the Lost Lake outpouring, the flock of Hooded Mergansers continued-

      Circle Beach-  I was spotted as I walked out onto the beach, and all of my winter friends came to greet me-

      The 2nd cycle Kumlien's Gull was still hanging around, although much less timid-

     Good profile view showing the head shape-

     This is also a good view for study showing the Gull's outer dark primaries. (notice the large mirror on p10)?-

   The beach was alive with calling Gulls this morning. Many of the Gulls were busy with courtship and territorial behavior-

     Good study views of the gaping Gulls-

     One of the most interesting aspects to my art and carving is studying bird postures. I am always looking for new ideas for my carvings. Preening birds to me are incredibly interesting-

     FC arrived late this morning-

     Time for a little fresh water-

     After a short visit, FC leaves for the quiet of Circle Beach east.-

     This begging juvenile Herring Gull followed me all over the beach-

     A single hen Greater Scaup swam by and was diving frequently. This dive was successful, she had found a sandworm-

     On my way home, I made a quick run through Hammonasset Beach SP, the only active birds I saw on the beach were this flock of Sanderlings-

                        Part 7, Day 14, "White Wings and Yellow Legs?" Continues.........
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