Friday, October 19, 2012

It's a bird, a plane.. It's a CRANE!

I'm going to start out with the excitement for the week.  A brand new bird for the West Campus list, a brand new bird for my state year list, and only my 2nd ever sighting of one in the state, a Sandhill Crane.  Sandhill Cranes are an amazing group of birds that are found in a few different areas in North America.  To be a bit more specific there are about 5 or 6 subspecies of the Sandhill Crane in North America, two are isolated year-round populations in the Southeast.  One isolated population is also found on Cuba.  The other two or three are distributed in northern Canada, Alaska (also barely into Siberia), and out West.  The interesting part is that they mostly use the Mississippi River as a flyway or further out west for migration, so they don't really come to Connecticut that often.  The state does get a few records every year and luckily I got to add another one. 

Sandhill Crane 'record' shot  (photo: Lynn Jones)

The above picture is pretty horrible but it's a better look than I almost got with my binoculars.  The important features that pinpoint to the ID as a crane (that no other birds have) are the long dangling legs (to the right of the body) and the outstretched neck (to the left of the body).  Any other similar-shaped bird would fly with it's neck tucked in (like a Great Egret or Great-blue Heron). 

Other excitement for the week was ANOTHER new species for the West Campus list, one we have been waiting for: Winter Wren.  I happened to see one crisply moving in a shrub right in front of the A-21 (Collections Center) entrance. We also finally cleaned out the American Kestrel nest box.  Sue and I had attempted to clean out the box in the spring only to find a live although unresponsive squirrel in residence.  Thinking that maybe she was on a litter of babies, we left her in place.  Well cleaning out the box it appears the squirrel had in fact been sick.  We found a lovely decayed/ mummified squirrel carcass, gross.

Lynn heading to clean out the box, proper tools required (photo: Sue Hochgraf)

I'm not happy the squirrel is dead but I am happy to evict it!  (photo: Sue Hochgraf)

Squirrel Mummy (photo: Lynn Jones)

 Other than that we had an impressive 51 species for the week thanks to the efforts of both Sue and her sister Karen who is visiting.  They both put in a little extra birding this week to really help push our numbers to another top 5 week of birding, and that was with a rainy Friday.  Congrats ladies and thanks! 

Northern Cardinal
Eastern Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco

Common Grackle
Eastern Phoebe
Cedar Waxwing
Blue Jay
Northern Flicker
Gray Catbird
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Palm Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Brown Creeper
Hermit Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
House Wren
Blue-headed Vireo
American Robin
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Kestrel
Red-tailed Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Turkey Vulture
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Canada Goose
American Goldfinch

Other things:
Downy Woodpecker
Mourning Dove
Rock Pigeon
Northern Mockingbird
American Crow
Fish Crow
European Starling
House Sparrow
Wild Turkey
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Common Raven

Yellow-rumped Warbler (photo: Lynn Jones)

1 comment:

  1. Awesome new birds Lynn!! I enjoyed my birding effort with Karen this week, but would have been even happier had I SEEN those two new birds!! But hooray for the group effort.