a blog about what interests me! birds, baskets, butterflies, moths, biking.............

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Birding the NH coast to Plum Island

   Even though it was raining when we left Vermont, the weather was supposed to clear and become sunny and warm by mid-morning.........and it did.  A perfect day for birding!

   Our main goal was the Curlew Sandpiper, a very rare bird that breeds in Siberia and the non-breeding season is spent in Africa, Asia and Australia. It is a widespread vagrant that appears in small numbers on the North American coast in the spring and fall. This "first hatch" juvenile bird had been seen for a few weeks at Sandy Point on Plum Island (Parker River National Wildlife Refuge).

   We had great views of the curlew sandpiper, this juvenile was moving about the beach looking for food, digging in the sand and got very close to where we were standing for some good pictures.

This picture shows the curlew's long legs and facial markings. Similar to a Dunlin but slimmer and longer legged, the curlew has a white rump which the Dunlin does not.

   I spotted this Piping Plover, an endangered species, on the same beach. It's quite late for this plover to be here, they usually depart for warmer climes by the end of September.

   Lots of white-rumped sandpipers were also trolling the shores.

Semipalmated plovers (on right) and semipalmated sandpipers were also everywhere. What does semipalmate mean, you might wonder. Here's the definition: having partial or reduced webbing between the toes, as some wading birds do. Of course, that feature is rather difficult to see!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blue Grosbeak

   Blue Grosbeaks are pretty rare in Vermont, for that matter, all of New England. They breed from New Jersey to California southward and spend winters in the tropics. But for some reason during migration, New England gets a few errant Blues! Most sightings in New England occur along the coast, so this sighting along the Connecticut River in Vernon was very surprising. And we had 2 females! (That's why they're not blue)