Sights from CT.

My trip to Connecticut is winding down, and I’ll be back in Wisconsin tomorrow. Before I go, however, I’ve got some pictures for you. There is a nice rails-to-trails linear park that follows the old Farmington Canal through town, and I was pleasantly surprise by the variety of wildlife I found there.

There is a pond near the north end, bigger than the one in Estabrook Park, which is supporting a pair of mute swans, a slew of Canada geese, a few mallards, and this pair of ring-necked ducks. I’ve only ever seen a single hen once before, on the Milwaukee River back in November, so it’s nice to see the pair together.


When I visited that pond again this morning, the ring-necked ducks appear to have moved on, but they have been replaced by two pairs of hooded mergansers, and here’s one pair.


The biggest treat for me, however, was spotting my first northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), just chillin’ on a branch beside the trail. No song today, I’m afraid.


At the south end, I found another spectacle. From afar, it looked like a large clump of leaves, or even a squirrel drey high up in an oak tree, but I gave it a look with the binoculars anyway, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a hawk who appeared to be drying itself out. Sure enough, you can still see its wet breast feathers in the image below.

I believe it is a red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), which would be another first for me, if my ID holds up. It is not easy to distinguish it from a Cooper’s hawk in this image, but the fact that it just got itself wet and is drying off in a tree across the path from a long narrow pond fits the description: “you may find them hunting from a perch along stream or pond. “


Meanwhile, in that long narrow pond across the path from the hawk, here are a pair of American black ducks keeping a close eye on it.


Finally, there were also plenty of the regulars from Estabrook; downy, hairy, and red-bellied woodpeckers, chickadees, juncos, white-throated sparrows, nut hatches, cardinals, blue jays, crows, etc.; but the ones that eluded my camera, despite my best efforts, were the plentiful tufted titmice. The good news is that I got to hear plenty of their calls, and now I’m better equipped to spot one in Estabrook. At least I can hope, right?

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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