Friday, July 26, 2013

Birding with the Brownstone Birder

1. cedar waxwing-kab Cedar Waxwing in Portland, CT 6-29-13
On the morning of June 29th I drove to Portland, Connecticut to go birding with Larry of the Brownstone Birding blog. As a blogger I have known Larry since January of 2008. When I lived in Andover, MA I met him in person for the first time at a gathering of the Birders who Blog, Tweet, and Chirp in Wilton, CT. However, this would be my first time going birding with him by myself. I always consider Larry my eBird mentor since he is the one who first turned me on to eBird when I first started blogging. His birding treks around his hometown of Portland are legendary and I was looking forward to seeing some of his favorite spots for myself. I was also hoping to see some of his favorite birds! After a brief stop at the Portland County Fairgrounds, we headed for some power lines on a back road.
2. powerlines-kab As we headed up the steep trail a small family of Wild Turkeys scurried out of our way! They were too quick for me and my camera!
3. damp and gray-kab While the heavy gray skies threatened to open on us, we kept walking.

4. prairie warbler-kab It was worth it when we saw and head this Prairie Warbler sing!
This was a new Connecticut species for me!

5. common yellowthroat-kab We saw and heard several Common Yellowthroats!

6. blurry blue-winged-kab I was only able to get one blurry shot off of a Blue-winged Warbler, yet another new species for my Connecticut Life List!

7. field sparrow-kab We saw several Field Sparrows. This one has a mouthful of something.
We also saw and heard Blue jays, crows, and a Rose-breasted grosbeak while here. Though we didn’t walk very far, we saw lots of birds. when it started to sprinkle we headed back to the car. After a quick drive we stopped at the Portland Reservoir.
8. portland reservoir-kab Here the drizzle continued. the temperature was rising and the humidity with it. Still, we ventured on. We followed a trail around the edge of the reservoir with a blog on the left and the reservoir on the right. Tree swallows swooped over the bog. An Eastern Phoebe called from the fence near the water.
9. frog-kab And in weather that was only fit for ducks and frogs, a frog sat in the mud!

10. mosquito alley-kabThe trail took us through the woods in what I call mosquito alley. After resisting using bug spray, this spot forced Larry and I to give in. There were so many mosquitoes! I’m glad we went because it was down this trail that we heard the least flycatcher, a Life Bird for me. I so wanted to see it but it was hidden high in the leafy tree tops and it never did come down into sight. Even with the bug spray the mosquitoes soon drove us away.
11. song sparrow-kab Back out in the open a song sparrow serenaded us from a fence post.

12. brook-kab Before leaving the reservoir we took a short walk up another trail where we found American Redstarts in  the trees.
13. color-kab I loved seeing these colored leaves, though it seemed a bit early for them to be changing. I don’t think it was autumn chill that made them change, however. On this warm and muggy day it certainly didn’t feel like it!

14. flooded fields-kab Larry and I knew we didn’t have much time before the weather became unbearable, so we headed back to the flooded fields of the Portland Fairgrounds. This time we tried to walk around the grounds without getting our feet wet!
15. ducks-kab These mallards didn’t have to worry about that!

16. Larry-kab I’m sorry to say that this is the only picture I got of Larry. We were both too busy birding! The Connecticut River flows along one edge of the fairgrounds. Larry led me down a trail to see if we could get in view of the river. We had to dodge several puddles along the way, but finally we made it!
17. cowbirds-kab I found these cowbirds in a brush pile along the riverbank.

18. bald eagle-kabAcross the river from the cowbirds I spotted an adult Bald Eagle. A bit lower in the trees we found a juvenile. Larry told me this is a well known nesting sight for them. Larry’s knowledge of the local birds is outstanding and his sense of humor is quirky and fun. As the sun started to break through the overcast the temperature and humidity started to rise and we both knew we were done for the day. I had a great time and I so appreciated his taking the time to show me around.
19. fair skies-kab Clearing skies over the Portland Fairgrounds 6-29-13
Thanks Larry!

Birds seen while Birding with Larry on June 29, 2013:
  1. Mallard-Portland Fairgrounds 7:50 AM
  2. Great Blue Heron
  3. Mourning Dove
  4. Red-winged Blackbird
  5. Common Grackle

  1. Wild Turkey-Portland Powerlines 8:10 AM
  2. Great Blue heron
  3. Chimney Swift
  4. Northern Flicker
  5. Blue Jay
  6. American Crow
  7. Veery
  8. American Robin
  9. Gray Catbird
  10. Cedar Waxwing
  11. Blue-winged Warbler
  12. Common Yellowthroat
  13. Yellow Warbler
  14. Prairie warbler
  15. Chipping Sparrow
  16. Field sparrow
  17. Song sparrow
  18. Rose-breasted grosbeak
  19. Indigo bunting
  20. Red-winged Blackbird
  21. Common Grackle

  1. Great Blue Heron-Portland Reservoir 9:11 AM
  2. Mourning Dove
  3. Ruby-throated hummingbird
  4. Downy Woodpecker
  5. Northern Flicker (yellow-shafted)
  6. Pileated Woodpecker
  7. Least Flycatcher
  8. Eastern Phoebe
  9. Warbling Vireo
  10. Red-eyed Vireo
  11. American Crow
  12. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  13. Tree swallow
  14. Tufted Titmouse
  15. White-breasted Nuthatch
  16. Wood Thrush
  17. American Robin
  18. Gray Catbird
  19. Cedar Waxwing
  20. Ovenbird
  21. Common Yellowthroat
  22. American Redstart
  23. Yellow Warbler
  24. Pine Warbler
  25. Eastern Towhee
  26. Chipping Sparrow
  27. Field Sparrow
  28. Song Sparrow
  29. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  30. Indigo Bunting
  31. Red-winged Blackbird
  32. Common Grackle
  33. American Goldfinch

  1. Canada Goose-Portland Fairgrounds 10:45 AM
  2. Mallard
  3. Great Blue heron
  4. Black Vulture
  5. Turkey vulture
  6. Bald Eagle
  7. Great black-back gull
  8. Downy Woodpecker
  9. Great Crested Flycatcher
  10. Eastern Kingbird
  11. Yellow-throated Vireo
  12. Warbling Vireo
  13. Blue Jay
  14. Tree Swallow
  15. Tufted Titmouse
  16. White-breasted Nuthatch
  17. American Robin
  18. Gray Catbird
  19. European Starling
  20. Cedar Waxwing
  21. Common Yellowthroat
  22. Yellow Warbler
  23. Song Sparrow
  24. Northern Cardinal
  25. Red-winged Blackbird
  26. Common Grackle
  27. Brown-headed Cowbird
  28. American Goldfinch


  1. Hi Kathie. What a grand birdy day you had together in spite of the changing weather and all those nasty mosquitoes.

    1. Frank, yes it was and I had the bites as proof for a few weeks afterwards!

  2. Hi Katie... A most productive birding outing !!
    Many to see and, and some nice area scenes!! Now if there hadn't been mosquitoes it might have been better!! : )

    1. grace, I knew they would be a problem but I didn't let it stop me!

  3. Kathie, what a thrill for you to go birding with Larry and it is like travelling anywhere, when someone who knows and loves the place shows you around you gain so much more than trying to find the best places from maps and books. It is really tops when someone who shares your interest but knows more than you do, takes you around and shares that knowledge. I am so happy for you having this wonderful birding day + Larry's sense of humour.
    Sorry I have not been visiting as much as I would like. During daylight hours i have been outside working in my garden and after dark, too exhausted to even think.

    Hugs . . . Arija

    1. Arija, thank you for your visit and do not worry! I will love you whether you comment or not!

  4. Wow you found lots of great birds on this trek. It's great birding with different people in their own areas. I always learn something new. It sure did rain there. I think even more than Guatemala. Or at least the rain waited for us until we were done:)

  5. Great Prairie Warbler shot Kathie.
    The mosquitoes seem to be a common theme right now!

    1. Celeste, thanks! and too true about the mosquitoes since you know they are even here in AZ!

  6. Nice report from your outing with Larry! I love the warbler shots! Congrats on your lifer also! Happy birding and have a great weekend!

    1. Eileen, you are always so sweet to comment! Thank you!

  7. Wow! You sure came away with some nice Warblers (and great pictures!).

    That's one area wherein I have been, and was again largely disappointed, in my New England/Pennsylvania birding.

    Lovely post

    1. Laurence, I do find it is a bit harder to find bird there. You really do need to know where to go, but I have found some really good birds in some really strange places!

  8. Beautiful photos, Kathy! You see so many wonderful birds and your photos are great.

  9. Looks like it was a GREAT Day for birds :)

  10. Nice list of birds Kathie - looks like a great time birding!

    1. Dan, does it make you miss CT? Probably not! LOL!

  11. WOW, what a list. I wish I would have been with you. I would have increased my life list by a big number, which is now at 352. What fun you always seem to have! Love it!

    1. Sheila, I do have fun and it would have been fun for you too!

  12. Looks like you had a great trip, so many wonderful birds!

  13. Incredible day!! So many birds and such lovely pictures.

    1. Thanks Karen! so different from Tucson as well!

  14. Hi Kathie-
    Somehow I passed by this post. I'm surprised at how many good pictures you have of that day. I really enjoyed the day-thanks for coming out birding with me.

    1. Larry, glad you found it and THANK YOU for taking me birding! I had a great time in spite of the mosquitoes, heat and humidity!


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.