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Avocet Milestone at Milford Point

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"A Mid-summer and a Mid-wood Bird"

(Originally published by Connecticut Audubon in their online "Birdfinder" series.)
Walking along my regular birding/hiking route at Whittemore Sanctuary in Woodbury in late Spring, two ubiquitous birds demand my attention:  Red-eyed Vireo and Ovenbird.  Red-eyed Vireos may be the most common woodland songbird in the Northeast, but looking over my eBird data for Whittemore (a 680 acre mixed forest preserve) over the last two years, Ovenbirds lead there by about 2:1.

Ovenbirds breed from South Carolina through New England and eastern Canada all the way to northern British Columbia in northwest Canada.  They are known to be sensitive to forest fragmentation and most kinds of forest disturbance, such as timbering, and they tend to require large forest blocks for breeding habitat.  While forest fragmentation remains a significant concern here in Connecticut, recent population trends for this bird, based on Breeding Bird Surveys throughout its range, appear to show stable or even…

Maine Coast Birds

Last year I wrote about my solo camping trip to Baxter State Park and how much I enjoyed feeding the mosquitos and blackflies while photographing some cool Northwoods birds.This year I took a brief trip to visit my Maine friends who had signed us up for a boat trip to Seal Island for puffins and other seabirds.
I had hoped to add Little Egret to my life list of birds on my way north last summer, but extensive traffic jams in Massachusetts used up all my time on the way up and the bird chose to be absent on the day I was leaving.  By the way, Massachusetts traffic is nothing to be trifled with; poor drivers, bad construction management, and just plain volume make any trip through Mass a real s**tshow.  
Little Egrets are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa but they have been making inroads in the western hemisphere and wander to North America regularly but in very small numbers – a few each year. In fact, Connecticut just added its very first record of Little Egret last year.  They are …

Lifers, Specialties, and Rarities – South Florida

Friend Ed Hagen planned and organized our week-long trip around southeast Florida and the Florida Keys out to Dry Tortugas National Park.  Not much new likely for Ed, but I had a potential lifer list of 27 and a potential new photo list of 58.  I ended up with 18 lifers, including eight eBird rarities as well as a few exotics, and 28 new photos.  We had a total of 127 species and Ed even added a  bird to his USA list.  A most satisfying and enjoyable trip.

Inauspiciously, our first stop out of the airport Tuesday morning yielded zero of the White-winged Parakeets and Common Mynas that are known to hang around a nearby bank building.  We stopped at the bank days later to see about 30 White-winged Parakeets bust out of a palm tree nesting site first thing in the morning.  And we found Mynas later in their natural habitat, picking crumbs in a Circle K parking lot:


We were soon on our way to a menagerie of waders and waterbirds at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, including a life first, the G…