Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
May 2015 bring you all good tidings, Joy and laughter throughout the year!
Mardi & Townsend Dickinson
Since Christmas Day, December 25, 2014, Manhattan has been a buzz throughout the birdwatching community far and wide! Thanks to New York City birder and Naturalist Educator for the New York City Audubon, Gabriel Willow who was contact by a resident of the West Village in Manhattan, Zack Winestine., who sent him a photograph on Christmas Day 2014 of what is now known as the famed Couch’s Kingbird (Tyrannus couchii). The First State Record ever in New York State and only the third ever to show up in the northeast.
A large, brightly colored flycatcher of southern Texas and Mexico, the Couch’s Kingbird is very similar to the more widespread Tropical Kingbird. The two were considered the same species for nearly one hundred years, but they can be separated by voice and very subtle morphological characters.
Food: Flying insects, some fruit.
Habitat: Lives in thorn forest, brushy clearings in tropical forest, abandoned agricultural fields overgrown with shrubs, riparian areas, and suburbs.
Live link updates on locations of the Couch’s Kingbird http://tinyurl.com/oxdvd3z
Additional links and press on the Couch’s Kingbird:
12/29/14 6;57pm – A Rare Find, Couch’s King Bird Makes Appearance In The West Village « CBS New York http://cbsloc.al/1ztWRqL
12/29/14 – Couch’s Kingbird spotted for first time in New York | New York Post. http://nypost.com/2014/12/29/couchs-kingbird-spotted-for-first-time-in-new-york/
Finally I get to see my lifer of a Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi) with Townsend! How sweet is that?
It is very easy to get to by car, about three and a half hours from southern Connecticut. Directions to Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary: 98 Risley Road, Marblehead MA. For those that are unfamiliar with the area, you will need to go over the causeway from Marblehead proper onto Marblehead Neck to the sanctuary.
Once over the causeway entering onto Marblehead Neck. As you turn on to Risley Road (a dead end), there will be a small parking lot to the left, with the entrance to the sanctuary ahead of you. See Map below.
Once parked. Enter the sanctuary and take the path to the left. You’ll pass a small pond on your right after a few minutes of walking, and keep bearing to the left. You’ll then be near the “south entrance” to the sanctuary, and the feeders will be on the right side of the path. There are a few small evergreens near the feeders that the warbler frequents. Looking at the feeders, there’ll also be a path up a small hill to your right that has a few more evergreens that the warbler has been seen in.
Current location is also at the very top of hill by fence over looking private residence that has hung a suet feeder for the Townsend’s Warbler.
A huge shout out goes to several new friends Mathew Clark, Davis Noble, Kyle Wilmarth, Gabby and several ladies I met (forgive me on your names) for their intel and details about the area including places to eat. A hat tip goes to Andrew Sanford for finding this wonderful Townsend’s Warbler to share with all of us and for your techie information too.
Lots of places to eat afterwards. Here are a few suggestions on Bird Food For People™ https://kymry.wordpress.com/bird-food-for-people/
History of the Christmas Bird Count Prior to the turn of the century, people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt”: They would choose sides and go afield with their guns; whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.
Conservation was in its beginning stages around the turn of the 20th century, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition-a “Christmas Bird Census”-that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them.
So began the Christmas Bird Count. Thanks to the inspiration of Frank M. Chapman and the enthusiasm of twenty-seven dedicated birders, twenty-five Christmas Bird Counts were held that day. The locations ranged from Toronto, Ontario to Pacific Grove, California with most counts in or near the population centers of northeastern North America. Those original 27 Christmas Bird Counters tallied around 90 species on all the counts combined.
The First Christmas Bird Count was on December 25, 1900. About 18,500 individual birds and 27 total participants Cumulative bird species list: 89 species total.
Counts conducted in first Christmas Bird Count: 25 total counts
Scotch Lake, York County, New Brunswick Toronto, Ontario
Keene, New Hampshire
Belmont and Cambridge, Massachusetts Arnold Arboretum, Boston, Massachusetts Winchester, Massachusetts Bristol, Connecticut Norwalk, Connecticut Auburn to Owasco Lake, New York Central Park, New York City, New York Englewood, New Jersey Moorestown, New Jersey Newfield, New Jersey Baldwin, Louisiana Pueblo, Colorado Germantown, Pennsylvania Wyncote, Pennsylvania Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Oberlin, Ohio Glen Elyn, Illinois North Freedom, Sauk County, Wisconsin La Grange, Missouri Pacific Grove, Monterey County, California Neshaminy Creek & Upper Delaware River, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Delaware River Meadows, Tinicum Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Join in the fun and help us count for the Westport CT CBC Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 21, 2014., how many birds you might see in your own Backyard Bird Feeder. Some birders choose to stay home instead of going out into the field. You too can participate by observing your backyard bird feeders and counting local visitors in the comfort and warmth of your own home drinking Hot Chocolate. These counts have certain guidelines but are a welcome and very important addition, to the science that 115 years of continuous data collection is done and supported by the National Audubon Society.
Feel free to print out the Backyard Birds Feeder list Click Here. or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional questions or I will send you a PDF copy by email. This Feeder Form applies only to the Westport CBC Count Circle. For detailed information about the Westport CT CBC Christmas Bird Count 2014 Click here.
This year is the 68th Annual Westport Christmas Bird Count, and the 115th Anniversary of the National Audubon CBC concept. This fall has been pretty exciting for Connecticut birders with a number of unusual species being seen in our area. CBC participants are looking forward to finding the unusual and the commonplace too, as all birds count on a CBC.
The CBC tradition has volunteer bird watchers at all levels of experience spend all or part of one day, around the holiday season, going out into the field in various locations within the local Count Circle. Teams of observers will canvas many local hot spots. The object is to identify and count each species of bird they see and to record how many of each type they see in one day.
The Westport CT Christmas Bird Count is conducted during a 24-hour period (rain, sleet, snow, or shine) from midnight to midnight, Sunday, December 21th, 2014. The intent of the count is to locate, identify, and count all wild birds found within a 15-mile diameter count circle, centered at Westport’s twin Bridges on Route 57. The Westport Count also includes Norwalk, Weston, Easton, Fairfield and New Canaan. Small groups of birdwatchers, led by a Captain, scour pre-assigned territories in order to maximize coverage. Others conduct backyard feeder counts in the same areas. Data collected (as well as totals from 18 other counts in Connecticut) is submitted to the National Audubon Society.
Count participants (observers) range in birding ability from pigeon-feeders to “Olympic Champions”. ALL ARE WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE. Westport CBC Count Week is Thursday 12/18 through Wednesday 12/24. Generally experienced birders are paired with those who have less experience. Most observers start looking for birds at sunrise (7am), but some go out several hours earlier searching for owls and rails. Some make a daylong affair, land & boat., others participants for just two or three hours. Field activity tends to wind down at sundown.
Remember the CBC is supposed to be fun, so stay safe. Drive carefully; watch your step, stay off private property unless arrangements have been made, wear appropriate clothing and footwear. If you are just getting started in birding or have tons of experience and think you want to join a CBC field team.
For additional information about the Westport CT CBC Christmas Bird Count 2014 Backyard Birds Feeder PDF list Click Here. Christmas Bird Count Attire Click Here. Christmas Bird Count History Click Here
Backyard Feeder Counts: Some birders also choose to stay home, but they too can participate by observing their backyard bird feeders and counting local visitors. These counts have certain guidelines but are welcome additions to the science that 113 years of continuous data collection supported by the National Audubon Society. Feeder forms can be obtained by clicking here on Westport CT Backyard Bird Feeder Form.
The CBC results are published in AMERICAN BIRDS online magazine along with the input from 2200 other counts conducted nationwide and throughout the Americas. This is the longest running annual census of bird populations in the country, thanks to over 63,000 thousand birdwatchers who volunteer their efforts.
After the count this year the Westport CT CBC observers then will gather at 6pm to tally the results and join in on a potluck dinner celebration to discuss the highlights of the day.