Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This and that

I haven't been out checking the islands on the boat in a while, I'm waiting for the for the wave of winter migrants to arrive, in the meantime I had a blast catching Blue Crabs off the pilings in the marina, I just about filled a five gallon pail with the tasty little critters, but after culling the shorts and females, I only had a few dozen left. The Mrs.and I enjoyed them on the patio, with some nice cold beers and a bottle of homemade champagne. I also had a few soft shells, and OMG they were spectacular.

Tautog season starts Oct 1st, I won't be here, but look forward to some great fishing in October and November.
We are off to New Hampshire this weekend, to friends  Dave and Aldonna's Cabin,"The Wilderness" a dozen or so miles north of Concord, and way off the beaten path, just an incredible place... loons on the pond, owls hooting, coyotes howling, black bear and moose tracks around the pond, hopefully I will catch one of the mammals this trip, and not just find their tracks... I forgot to mention the "stars" there is absolutely no light interference in this neck of the woods. The moths are phenomenal, I'll be spending many hours after dark photographing these little cuties, and calling owls, or in this case, they may be calling me, yes its a cabin in the wilderness, there is no TV and thank God for that!

Till then, check out the first summer American Redstart taking a dip at one of my bird baths in the above photo.
Several stop by each day, and love the water.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

American Oystercatcher Pre-Migration Staging

I have been following this with great interest over the past three years,
American Oystercatchers grouping together in numbers on Crow Island Bar,
a small sand bar between  Copps and Chimmons Islands in Norwalk, CT.
They start to group together at the very end of August and peak during the first few weeks of September.
Over the past few years, the number of Oystercatchers staging here prior to their southerly migration has been growning, in 2008, there was a high of thirty eight birds on this sand bar, last year on Sept 6th we had fourtyfive, this year, 2010 the number increased to fifty seven. 

This is a small part of the group, up and about, before landing again on Crow Island.
It's been impossible to get the whole flock together for a photo, but this is a partial shot of the group of
forty five from 2009.
Besides the Oystercatchers, the departing numbers of Terns, Gulls, Cormorants, Osprey and Herons have left a deafening silence around the islands. This will be the course for the next month or two.
I think it's time for some fishing, or hawkwatching...or both!
A Big Thank-You to everyone that stopped by and visited me at the Norwalk Oyster Festival under the
Oyster Pavilion Tent, it was a fun time!!!  

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One Last Tern!

We went out to Cockenoe Island to remove the tern fencing before Earl potentially does that for us.
Although there were still several hundred Common Terns along the shoreline, with almost all being this years juveniles, there was no activity in the nesting area, and we felt all the chicks must have fledged by now.

As we were untying the knotted roping and removing the stakes, I noticed something very small and gray,  hiding in the vegetation.
 Wow! There is still one last chick on the island, that had not fledged, but something else was wrong, there were no adults defending this chick, none of the others birds seemed to care in the least that we were on the island, as they would normally be very upset, and dive bombing us, did something happen to it's parents?
I went back to the boat and grabbed my camera, took a few shots of this little darling, when all hell broke loose, seems the parents were out feeding, and upon their arrival back to the island, were not at all happy with us being there.

We cleaned up the rest of the gear, loaded it onto the boat.
This is the last photo, of the last Common Tern chick on the island.
They have been incredible to follow for the past several months, four hundred or so birds fledged on this tiny sand spit. I will miss them, and hope they return next spring.