Sailcarm at aol.com Sailcarm at aol.com
Mon May 31 19:39:39 EDT 2010

5/31 Rocky Neck SP, E. Lyme  (Niantic): upper trail (blue trail, see  more 
info about trail below)
It was mid afternoon by the time I had finished doing yard work and headed  
for Rocky Neck, thinking that birding close to home was the way to go  
today.  I was on my yearly mission to find an orchard oriole there (and I  still 
did not succeed today).  Oh well!  Little did I know that I was  going to 
have a life bird as I was wending my way thru huge amounts of traffic  in 
downtown Niantic, post parade, and around the entrance to Rocky Neck  SP.  
Patience pays off!
To access the blue trail, i.e. the upper meadows/open areas and  trail that 
parallel RT.156 for a while before curving south to  follow the Four Mile 
River, one needs to park on RT 156  in a small gravel  lot opposite the 
Divine Wine Emporium  and a private campground.   This upper area is far away 
from the main parking lot inside Rocky Neck (and is  free!)
 About twenty minutes into my walk, I was looking at an adult  bluebird 
with a fledgling at its side when a good-sized brown, drab,  long-tailed bird 
flew over the bluebirds and landed in a tree on the river side  of the meadow 
 and afforded me some nice long looks as it moved about,  long enough to 
determine that it was indeed a BLACK-BILLED  CUCKOO which as I said above was 
a lifer for me!
What was interesting was the bird's tail.  Unlike the picture in  Sibley's, 
the tail on this bird, from the undertail coverts,  down two-thirds of the 
way towards the tip of the tail, was solid  gray, or so it APPEARED to me.  
Only the last third, close to the tip,  had a visible row of white spots. If 
the spots were there on the  first two thirds of the tail, they were 
certainly not prominent, and I had  pretty good light. 
I'm going to list all of the other birds I saw there today, as this  part 
of Rocky Neck seldom gets reported on this list.  I am going to make  an 
effort to get there more than once or twice a year.  
Birds seen or heard today:
2 yellow-throated vireos
several red-eyed vireos
1 e. kingbird
3 great crested flycatchers
1 wood thrush
1 B. oriole
many chipping sparrows
1 song sparrow
flock of cedar waxwings
2 e. towhees
many e. bluebirds (nesting houses provided in meadows)
many tree swallows (nesting houses provided in meadows)
1 osprey
1 flicker
2 red-bellied woodpeckers
robins, catbirds, cardinals everywhere
also a bit belated:  2 BLACK VULTURES seen over I-95 during the past  two 
weeks, one in E. Lyme, one in Guilford
Carolyn Cimino

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