Saturday, October 29, 2011

BwBTC Connecticut Trip- Allen's Meadow & Schenk's Island

I believe this is Vincent, Townsend, Diana and Dawn Fine (our organizer)

Love this shot of Cindy & Dan as the sun started coming out.Group shot in front of the community garden: Townsend, Catherine, Cindy, Vincent, Mardi & Dawn.

Back on October 16th we had our Connecticut annual BwBTC trip (Birders who Blog, Tweet, Chirp), organized by Dawn Fine of Dawn's Bloggy Blog and led by Luke Tiller of Under Clear Skies.

We met at Allen's Meadow in Wilton, CT. This is right near Steve's parents' house in Fairfield so it worked out really well. We just drove down Friday night so it wouldn't be a problem getting up for the 7:30am meet time.

We spent our time at Allen's Meadow looking for sparrows in the community garden that was past its peak now that summer's over. We also walked around the outskirts, near the edge of the woods. There were lots of soccer games going on (incidentally Steve's mom said she used to bring his little sister there for games when she was a kid), and some British parents even came over to see what we were doing and what kinds of birds we were seeing- I believe the word "twitching" might have been used.

Dawn put it best when she titled her trip recap "Birding and Chatting" because there was lots of chatting and catching up going. That's what I like about these trips- you get to connect with your social media birding friends and do some birding while you're at it. I think my favorite moment of the day was when we were waiting for the rest of our group to come out of Starbuck's, which happened to be right next to a movie theater. There was a poster up right behind us for The Big Year, which came out the night before. As everyone's standing around chatting about the movie there happened to be some hawks overhead so we all got our binoculars up to take a look. It was pretty hilarious and Dawn even managed to snap a pic- check out her recap to see it.

As for the birds- I'm not very good when it comes to identifying sparrows, but I try to learn more each time I do fall birding. That's what I like about trips with more experienced birders- they'll share their tips and each time I learn something new. Obviously the ones with the vibrant colors are easier for me to identify (white-crowned sparrow, white-throated sparrow) but I'm trying to get better with the all-brown ones.

Here are some of my sparrow pictures from the day- they're all from Allen's Meadow. I did make it to the second stop on the trip- Schenk's Island, but didn't take any pictures there. (I couldn't make it to the third stop- Sherwood Island- because we had an engagement party in Nyack, NY later that afternoon.)

White-crowned sparrow

Please take a moment to check out the amazing photos, read the full bird lists, and enjoy the witty recaps from the other BwBTC birders on this Connecticut trip. Til next year!

Vincent Mistretta- BWBTC Outing in Wilton, Connecticut
Dawn Fine- Birding and Chatting ~ BwBTC ~ Wilton, Connecticut
Larry- Fall Camping At Pawtuckaway & BWBT&C
Cindy- Birders Who Blog Tweet And Chirp
Dan- Lovely Little Sparrow
Cynthia Cage- Sparrows and More, Allen's Meadow with the BwBTC Gang

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bird Photo Contest- Close Encounters

Cornell Lab of Ornithology just announced a fun photo contest. It's called Close Encounters and it's all about showcasing memorable and interesting encounters between humans and birds, birds and birds, and even birds and other creatures.

What's even more interesting is that entries can take various forms:
  • Photographs
  • Stories
  • Artwork
  • Sculpture
  • Video
  • Other??
I've had some interesting birding adventures that come to mind, although I'm not sure how suitable they are for this contest. I imagine most of the entries will be photos, although videos will also be popular I bet.

The deadline for the contest is November 15, 2011. Here are the instructions for how to enter your photos, videos etc. I imagine if you do one of the alternative entries (sculpture/artwork) you can submit it as a photograph.

1. Email entries to If you submit a video, post it on YouTube and send the link.
2. Write "CloseEncounter_yourfirstname yourlastname_yourstate" in the subject line.
3. Include both your mailing address and the location where you saw the bird(s) in your email.
4. Explain why you submitted your entry and what it shows.
5. One entry per person, please.
6. Read the terms of agreement.

Good luck photo contest entrants! If I decide I have something worthy to enter I'll share it here too.