Monday, July 23, 2012

Cohen Meadows; Birders’ Heaven!

1. gazebo-kab The Gazebo at Cohen Meadows 7-13-12

Cohen Meadows is a little known nature spot off McDonald Road in Colchester, CT. I like to go birding here when I come to town to visit my family. When I am here, I always count the birds and submit that data to eBird. Last week when I visited Dawn Fine I decided to take her to town to meet my mother and to go birding at this wonderful place! When you come around the corner of McDonald Road, which is just off Route 85 in Colchester, one of the first things you will notice as you pull into the parking lot is the cute little gazebo.

2. wildflowers-kabIf it is anywhere near to summertime the next thing you will notice are all the wildflowers. Much of the property is maintained as a wildflower meadow. The meadows attract all kinds of butterflies and dragonflies, and of course, birds! We heard and saw sparrows as soon as we stepped from our car. From the midst of the meadows we heard the “wichety, wichety, wichety” call of Common Yellowthroats.

3. RSHA-kab High overhead in the pale blue sky a Red-shouldered hawk circled and soared.


4. wild turkeys-kab As we headed for the edge of the pond we found a small flock of turkeys at the edge of the woods!


5. bluebird-kab On a pond-side picnic table an Eastern Bluebird greeted us.


6. cormorant-kab Then, to our utter surprise, a cormorant flew up from the distant pond edge!


8. the pond-kab Most of the pond is covered with vegetation right now, but there were still a few areas of clear water.


9. Dawn birding-kab Dawn walked ahead photographing birds and butterflies.

In the line of pines and spruce trees phoebes fluttered and chipping sparrows sang their sewing machine sounding call. We scanned the pond for any sort of ducks or herons or even flycatchers but saw none, until a Great Blue Heron was spooked by our presence and revealed itself. With long, deep wing beats it flew up from the water’s edge and disappeared into the steamy gray-blue sky. The humidity was building with the heat of the day, but we pressed on in search of more birds.

10. into the woods-kabDawn heard the call of a red-eyed vireo and we followed it into the woods where the turkeys has disappeared earlier. Down the path we went until we found it. High in the forest canopy it called and called, but we could see its cute striped face as it peered at us with curiosity. We wanted to go further but the mosquitoes and deerflies were menacing and so we retreated from this woodland path. We left with some regret, wondering what we would have seen if we kept on following it.

11. pond-kab Back out by the large pond we saw even more song sparrows, chipping sparrows and catbirds. Of course we found a few robins, and then Dawn heard a Great Crested Flycatcher! I was not so sure but we kept watching and listening and soon it flew to the top of one of the nearby pine trees where we had a good view. It didn’t linger for long but headed back to the woodland edge. Later we saw and heard another.

12. EAPH-kab But the ever bold phoebes stayed nearby and landed on twigs in the shade.

We crossed the street to the small pond next searching the fields and sky for more birds. We kept hoping we were seeing some Savannah Sparrows or even Vesper Sparrows but were never sure, so we did not count any.

13. Song sparrow-kab Juvenile Song Sparrow at Cohen Meadows 7-12-12

Here are the bird species we did record for that day:

    1. Wild Turkey, 5
    2. Great Blue Heron, 1
    3. Double-crested Cormorant, 1
    4. Red-shouldered Hawk, 1
    5. Turkey Vulture, 3
    6. Mourning Dove, 4
    7. Red-bellied Woodpecker, 1
    8. Downy Woodpecker, 1
    9. Eastern Phoebe, 2
    10. Great Crested Flycatcher, 2
    11. Red-eyed Vireo, 2
    12. Blue Jay, 3
    13. Tree Swallow, 3
    14. Barn Swallow, 4
    15. Black-capped chickadee, 2
    16. Eastern bluebirds, 2
    17. Wood thrush, 1
    18. American Robin, 6
    19. Gray Catbird, 6
    20. Common Yellowthroat, 6
    21. Chipping Sparrow, 6
    22. Song Sparrow, 15
    23. Red-winged Blackbirds 20
    24. American goldfinch, 4

Cohen Meadows is truly a birder’s paradise. Come see it for yourself! Bring a picnic or your coffee, or, go birding first and then head back into town where you will find numerous restaurants and coffee shops to meet your needs! Dawn and I had a great day and it was very hard to leave! We spent an hour here but we were getting hot and hungry and so we headed into town to visit my mom and enjoy her air-conditioning!

You can read Dawn’s version of the day and see her photos here: Ruby and Elizabeth Cohen Woodlands. (P.S. She has more photos of butterflies, dragonflies and flowers than I do!)


  1. Well hello there! A couple things before I get started. I love how you are immaculate with your bird counts. 2. I think I was following your Tucson blog and you didn't live here anymore so obviously you can't blog about Tucson birding:)....but now you will return???!

    If it's true, it will be great to have a pro back in the area again. I've used your Tucson bird blog for much needed help in ID'ing birds over this past year. So thank you for your help:)I've grown a lot as a birder, but I have much to learn.

    I love the increase of birding spots around the state and world. It's nice to have these places to visit. My favorite this past year has been the Whitewater Draw and San Pedro House. I'm just only now getting into the Huachuca mountains and recently found Montosa canyon. So many cool spots around Southern AZ to bird. If you're coming back, welcome home! Chris

  2. Chris, thank you for taking the time to leave such a wonderful comment! I believe you are correct and I am glad we have found each other once again. I will be back in Tucson very soon and I look forward to meeting so many new birders and bloggers! I still have so much to learn and still feel like a novice myself but I am so pleased that I was able to help you learn to Identify birds! I would love to continue my work on my Sycamore Canyon Bird's blog. we will see!

    I have been to Whitewater Draw and love it there but have never been to Montosa Canyon. I AM coming back and thank you!

    1. Kathie, Montosa Canyon is amazing. I felt like while I was there there were whole new bird species that I've never heard or seen before in my life. I didn't even know the place existed. Tomorrow, early early, I'm going back to find that Plain Capped Starthroat Hummingbird. I've got a better map and plan this time. The bugs were terrible so I'm wearing jeans. I suppose that's why there are families of gnatcatchers there:) PS. It's hot here:)

    2. Rohrerbot, it sounds amazing and I love your enthusiam! the starthroat would be quite a find. I don't like bugs and can't imagine wearing jeans in all that heat but maybe for a starthtroat I would! Doesn't insect repellent help? Are there chiggers there? I've never had them but I hear they are just awful! good luck on your own trek. I hope to hear about it soon!

  3. Between Dawn & your posts of birds, flowers, dragonflies.....I really feel those mosquito bites. :)
    Glad you and Chris got reconnected, you both know so much about birds.

    1. Gaelyn, the mosquitoes weren't too bad except in the woods. I am glad that Chris and i found each other again also. I would see his comments on other people's blogposts. I am not sure whose blog I was on when I followed the link back to his blog but I am sure glad I did!

  4. Beautiful place. Love all the birds, the hawk, the bluebird and that sparrow are my favs today.

  5. This looks so different in the summertime. Didn't you post some photos last fall? I love love your eastern Bluebird. Such great shots all around. When we were on Bowman a couple days ago I sat down to write in our camping journal that we didn't really see that many birds until I started listing them. They add up.

    1. Christine, yes I did. I have visited here several times. What a differnce a season makes! I am glad you like the bluebird. As for counting the birds, it always surprises me too!

  6. Looks like a wonderful spot to visit, Kathie. I especially love the summer meadow photo. Reminds me of a blissful (at least in retrospect) childhood. Sorry you are leaving New England!

  7. What a beautiful place to share with a friend, looks like it was a wonderful day there for you both. Nice catch on that cormorant!


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.