This weekend was a mixture of good luck and bad luck. On Saturday we swung by Burying Hill Beach to see a Lesser black-backed Gull that usually hangs around. Last winter it seemed to be much more visible, as it always gave great looks, but for 2011 so far, we couldn’t find it. It was not a wasted trip though, as I picked up some seabirds I was missing for my year list- Long-tailed Duck and Great Cormorant. Then I went to Junior Staff for a short time at Earthplace, where Black Vultures hanging around in the silent, snowy woods was a cool sight.
Soon it was time to head up to Mystic, where my mom had to do some stuff, but no complaining! This meant more birding. We instantly set off to find a reported Barrow’s Goldeneye in Groton. I had never seen one on the East coast before (I had seen them out West, on Yellowstone Lake), so I was excited. But we couldn’t find it. Arrrgh! Still, many great birds were hanging around. There were Black-bellied Plovers and a really nice Red-shouldered Hawk, plus Cedar Waxwings, Common Grackles, and Belted Kingfishers. A Northern Harrier was also a nice Y.B. We finished the day at Stonington Point, where we got really beautiful views of Black Scoters, Surf Scoters, and Common Eiders.
On Sunday, we went to Harkness State Park in Waterford, which was really slow except for nice looks at Purple Sandpiper and which, even in winter, is a really beautiful bird. We then went to Hammonasset, and just upon arriving we were bombarded with dozens of Horned Larks, one of my favorite birds.
As we walked we came across the highlight of the weekend- 50 American Pipits – around the marshes of Willard’s Island. It was an amazing sight to see so many of these uncommon birds in one place. The weekend went from bad luck to good luck! I hope everyone had a great winter birding weekend.