[CT Birds] Pine Grosbeaks & Northern Shrike

JSWorkman at aol.com JSWorkman at aol.com
Sat Dec 29 20:47:04 EST 2007

I drove up into NW Connecticut from New Jersey to try (again) for the Pine 
Grosbeaks -- and finally got some great views.  

At Norfolk (ca. 9:45 to 10:45AM):  Birds there most of that hour, with some 
flying in and out of the treetops, a half dozen or so lower in the crab apple 
trees, and a few also getting grit off the roadside.   Not easy to count, but 
at one point there were definitely 17, including 5 males.  If you're going to 
try for this species, Norfolk is the place to go first.    

Then only 4 or 5 miles away, I found 8 more Pine Gros (including 2 males) at 
the corner of Bunnel Road and Rte 182A (this is the crossroads with the 
Colebrook Center Volunteer Fire Department building).  Birds were in the tops of the 
pine trees, on the wires, and in an old apple tree (with fruit) across the 
road from the fire dept building. 

At few miles further, in Colebrook, at the intersection of Smith Hill Road 
and 182A, I got good looks at a lone female Pine Gros in the top of tree (the 
rest of the flock flew off as I pulled over, so I was unable to get a full 

Then a little later (11:45AM), 9 Pine Grosbeaks (including 2 adult males) 
landed in a high maple on Laurel Way (Winchester) about 100 yards off Platt Hill 
Road.  They were eating the maple buds (which I hadn't expected).   Good scope 
views before the local constabulary (a Blue Jay) chased them away.  

Seeing 35(!) Pine Grosbeaks before noon made me feel a little like a gambler 
on a roll, but the streak didn't last.  I found no more PIGRs, even though I 
did check out several other places where they'd been reported on this listserv 
(many thanks to all who posted!!).   

For the record, here are some of the places I went and what I found.

Riverton:   NORTHERN SHRIKE, behind the Hitchcock Chair Factory on a small 
tree overlooking the river (I was looking for the Bohemian Waxwing that had been 
reported there:  no luck).   Also, 4 wild turkeys attempting to cross the 

Goodwin Dam:   Perfect place for an eagle or a loon.   But all was quiet and 
Returned to Norfolk (1:50PM) to take advantage of the full sun (the morning 
had been foggy):   But no birds for me at that time.  I was still on my 
personal quest for "The Big Lebowski" (Le Bohemian Waxwing) so I didn't hang around, 
but the ever-patient photographers were there and waiting.

Canaan:  One single Cedar Waxwing.   I've rarely ever seen a Cedar Waxwing 
without at least 3 or 4 of its compadres, but there it was.  Solo.  Absolutely 
refusing to look like a Bohemian, no matter how much I encouraged it.   Three 
Black Vultures were circling overhead.  (I do not believe in omens).   

Housatonic River Road (south of Canaan):  Ring-necked Pheasant (male) on the 

Under Mountain Road (south of Canaan; north of Goshen):  no luck for me here, 
but some of the crab apples showed definite signs of PIGRs.  No sign of "the 
Dude" (Boho Wax) either. 

Ashley Court (West Goshen):  no PIGRs here when I briefly stopped by, but two 
very stalwart CT birders were at their posts waiting.  

Best wishes and good birding, 

John Workman
Ridgewood, NJ 

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