[CT Birds] Life is strange (Yale Forest, Ashford, 7-18-14)

Mntncougar at aol.com Mntncougar at aol.com
Fri Jul 18 21:48:08 EDT 2014

Absolutely nothing to do with that old song, but sometimes  there really is 
an odd sequence of events that makes you wonder.  
1st, the Ebird report, because there is a LONG discourse  below, that you 
may not want to struggle through. 
 Boston Hollow/Yale Forest, Windham,  US-CT
Jul 18, 2014 7:15 AM - 1:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
10.0  mile(s)
45 species

Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture   2
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1     FOS at Yale  Forest
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Mourning Dove  7
Barred Owl   2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Belted Kingfisher  1   FOS at Yale Forest
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy  Woodpecker  3
Eastern Wood-Pewee  4
Acadian Flycatcher   1
Eastern Phoebe  6
Yellow-throated Vireo  3
Blue-headed  Vireo  4
Red-eyed Vireo  10
Blue Jay  8
Black-capped  Chickadee  10
Tufted Titmouse  6
White-breasted Nuthatch   4
Winter Wren  2
Veery  20
Hermit Thrush  3
Wood  Thrush  5
American Robin  12
Gray Catbird  10
Cedar  Waxwing  6
Ovenbird  6
Louisiana Waterthrush  2
Northern  Waterthrush  2
Black-and-white Warbler  5
Common  Yellowthroat  6
Black-throated Blue Warbler  4
Pine  Warbler  4
Black-throated Green Warbler  8
Canada Warbler   2
Eastern Towhee  6
Chipping Sparrow  8
Song Sparrow   4
Scarlet Tanager  3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  2
Red-winged  Blackbird  4
Common Grackle  2
Brown-headed Cowbird   5
American Goldfinch  6

I have been watching a Wood thrush nest, when I first saw it,  still under 
construction,  ever since I discovered it on June 17th. On June  23 mom was 
hunkered down in the nest, obviously sitting on eggs. It wasn't till  July 9 
that I saw the nestlings for the first time, not newly hatched at that  
point, but still very small with eyes closed tight. From then on I stopped  by 
every day or two, and learned that there were 3 of them. By Monday, July 
14th  they were quite big and very active, vying for space in the nest. And I 
was  amazed how big they were yesterday (Thursday, July 17) and even more so 
by the  fact that they now appeared to have almost full juvenile  plumage!
This morning I stopped briefly around 7:30 AM and the nest was  almost 
literally bursting. They didn't fit any more. I can't take pictures that  early 
because it's too dark, but I always stop back around 1, on my way home,  and 
try to get a few shots, but I was thinking, "These birds are going to 
fledge  today!"
I went about my business, checking my usual stops, but as I  went I was 
feeling a little discouraged, because for the third day in a row the  whole 
area was (literally) very quiet, with very little bird song except for the  
ever-present Vireos. And a lot of the birds I'd seen/heard regularly were  
missing today. Including Blackburnians, for the first time, I think, since I  
started haunting Boston Hollow on May 5, after I got back from my birding 
trip.  This has been by far the best year I've ever had there, and  it was kind 
of  sad to realize it was winding down. 
I turned around in Union and sat listening to the Red-eyed  Vireos for a 
few minutes before I headed back. I was passing through the old Axe  Factory 
millpond area when I happened to look over at the brook below the dam,  and I 
saw a bird I didn't recognize immediately, sitting on a branch over the  
water. When I stopped it took off, but the light bulb in my head went on. I 
was  pretty sure it was a Belted Kingfisher, first of the year there for me, 
although  I only had a 5 second look before it flew downstream. This after 
the discussion  bemoaning the lack of them, on CT birds. I drove ahead about 
100 yards  on the road following the stream, when suddenly I heard a  
clicking sound.  It was the Kingfisher sitting by the stream and calling loudly, 
and erasing all  doubt about what it was. There's still hope, Hank!
I drove another half a mile, almost back to Boston Hollow when  I met a car 
coming the other way. It's very narrow there, so I pulled over and  stopped 
till he came by. And while I was waiting a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew  across 
the road between us. Another FOS there and perhaps the first  Sharp-shinned 
I've ever seen there. Coopers and Goshawks previously. 
Feeling a little better I headed back to the Thrush nest. And  it was 
empty! They had fledged! But while I contemplated the empty nest the Male  Thrush 
showed up, sat on the nest with a juicy worm in his beak and looked down,  
as surprised as I was. But  there was a little chirp from the brush and off  
he flew. I'd like to have seen them go, but it's nice to know the nesting 
was  successful. 
I was almost out of Boston Hollow, but I made one more stop, to  listen for 
an Acadian Flycatcher that I'd been hearing. But when I stopped, 2  giant 
birds flew across the road together and apparently landed, just on the  other 
side. I got out of the car, walked 50 feet, and was face to face with a  
Barred Owl. We stared each other down for a moment and then it took off,  
followed by the other one. 
After hearing one a couple of times I saw Barred Owl on July 6  and a few 
days later heard two calling back and forth in the same spot. Just  this week 
I spotted one on Boston Hollow Rd, but since it was quite a distance I  
couldn't be sure it was 1 of the same pair. But today I got to see both birds,  
together for the first time!
After they left, so did I, but I felt a lot better about the  day!
Don Morgan,  Coventry
mntncougar at aol.com


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