Listing of some of the great CT birding spots. Connecticut has more than its share of great birders , but the one area of the state that receives less attention than it deserves is the northeast quarter. I'll define this area as anywhere east of the Connecticut River and North of Willimantic (Windham), although, of course, I may stretch the boundaries at any time. 2013 - I'm traveling more - to the SW so far, and I'll add some info about my adventures there.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Warm-up for Lighthouse Point

Headed out this AM as I have the last few weeks to Boston Hollow.  For a change it was clear and dry and cool with a stiff breeze.  And BH was quiet - too quiet.  I was wondering if the time has arrived when there will be less and less birds making less and less noise.  For the first time this spring I didn't hear a single Canada Warbler anywhere.  I reached Barlow Mill Rd and turned onto it, stopping at the marsh 100 yards down the road.  Its really the first place that the sky opens up.  I scanned the ridge line and snagged a hawk, just clearing the top of the ridge and gliding down over the marsh.  It was a Broad-wing, moving fast and soon gone over the trees behind me.  A good find, and made the day feel a little better.  I moved up the road a few hundred yards to a field that was once someone's yard, only the foundation and chimney now left after the apparent fire.  I don't usually find much there, but pulled into the drive and shut  down to listen.  Immediately I heard the screams of a Red-shouldered Hawk, and checking the sky to the left I spotted 2 of them, circling with each other, making a racket and moving east with the wind. The larger one was tattered and torn, perhaps a female recently finished with nesting duties, but the other looked pristine.  I followed them for a while, but just as I looked away I heard them calling again with renewed vigor.  When I looked back there were five hawks up in front of me!  I sorted them out into three Shoulders and two Red-tails.  They milled around for a minute, and then the original two moved on to the east, the others disappearing beyond the tree line.  Had a grin now, I really don't see many raptors in the area.  But just as I got in the car to move on, I looked up again, to see two hawks circling the field right in front of me.  At first I thought the Shoulders had returned, but a quick look told me they were something different.  Long wings and tails, and as big or bigger than the Shoulders.  I am certain they were two immature Northern Goshawks.  I believe I saw one there once before, but a very bad look.  I have always heard that they nest in the area, and now I don't doubt it.  I had a great look as they circled right over me, staying for a minute or 2 before zooming off.  I continued past the Barlow Mill site without much action, and reached the point where I recently saw 2 Barred Owls.  I had stopped that day because I know there is a Winter Wren in the area, and I was listening for it.  Today the wren was singing his heart out!!  I stopped to listen, but after a couple of minutes he was almost drowned out by a sound like squealing brakes, seemingly right over my head.  For a minute I thought it was two trees rubbing together, but it continued when the wind stopped.  I got out of the car to walk up the road to see where it came from and suddenly a large bird flew across the road and into a tree 70 feet away.  It was a Broad-winged Hawk!  It was screaming, and another was anwering it from close by.  A brand new sound for me and one I won't forget.  I have only heard them before on recordings.  The poor wren got lost in the shuffle, but belatedly I went back to the car to get my recorder.  It was too windy to make a decent recording, and I hadn't planned on it, but I couldn't resist.  Here's the hawks:

And here is a chorus of Winter Wren and Broad-wing:

and finally, the wren, solo:

Of course, I saw a couple of the ubiquitous Turkey Vultures, and on the way back down Rt 89 to US 44 I saw one more Red-shoulder to complete the day!

If you enjoy hawks as much as I do, you know what a nice day it was!

Yellow-rump, Boston hollow

I enticed him out of the hemlocks last week.  I'm sure they are breeding there.

More pics:

Yellowrump, Boston hollow

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Boston Hollow and Barlow Mill Roads, and the surrounding Yale Forest area

This area is in Ashford, Ct, in a section known as Westford.  To get there you can take Ct Rt 89, either east from I-84, exit 72 or west (north) off US Rt 44 at a traffic light in the center of Ashford.  When you reach an old white church at a stop sign with a flashing light, you have reached  Boston Hollow Road, straight ahead if from I-84, a right turn if from US 44.  Here is a link (which hopefully will continue to work) to a Google map of the area:   Boston Hollow, Ashford, Ct  .  In about 1/3 mile you will reach the point where the road turns to dirt (very well maintained), and that's where the birding begins.  In the spring this is a great location for migrants of all kinds, and the birding continues well into the early summer because many migrants nest there.  The road is narrow, but little traveled, and you can pull over pretty much anywhere to look and listen.  Often I shut off the car but don't get out because the car is a great blind, and the valley is very narrow.  Once the leaves are out, more birds are seen than heard, but with patience you can find alot of them.  This year I have found 18 varieties of warblers there, and most of them nest there.   Here  is a Wikipedia article on Boston Hollow, which is fairly accurate.  wikipedia, Boston_Hollow  .
Boston Hollow runs 1.7 miles, until you reach a one lane wooden bridge.  Just before the bridge, Barlow Mill Road, also dirt, goes off to the left and is a little over 2 miles long, paved at the far end.  Another great spot for migrants with a somewhat different variety.
If you go to Boston Hollow, it helps alot to know your bird songs.  Its quite cool there, and a great place to bird on a hot day.

how hot was it? ....

It was SO hot....

Go to  link below for more pics - it should load fast



Monday, June 28, 2010

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Boston Hollow, 6-25-10

Found of whole family of these guys,  busily zooming around the area near a tree full of sap wells.  The juvies spent most of their time there.  One was chasing a RT Hummingbird who was trying to get a drink of the sap.

About Me

My photo
Old enough to know better (but I don't) and finally retired so I have the free time I've always wanted to pursue my interests - like Birding and Hiking!!