As we are headed into the fall and the leaves begin to change colors, Connecticut nature-lovers should start re-tuning their adventures for the upcoming winter. A lot of changes happen this time of year. Besides the trees dropping the leaves, pretty much all of the non-evergreen foliage dies and the forests and fields get pretty boring. While we do get some late autumn fungi, mushrooms for the most part are dormant and not likely to be seen. Even the insects go into hiding as the weather gets cooler. So what is there to do?
Birds! The winter birds will be arriving soon, such as the hooded merganser and the ring-necked duck. In fact, Connecticut can get some pretty rare bird visitors during the fall and winter. In November of 2011 we even saw a brown pelican. As a birder, you will generally have the most luck finding birds along the shoreline or on lakes and ponds. While not much will be seen in most forests, as the weather turns colder we should hear the owls calling at night.
Birding in the winter with a camera can be very rewarding and somewhat challenging. On one hand, there are no leaves on the trees, allowing for more visibility. However the cold weather can be hard to work in. Many cameras do have temperature limits, however you can usually get quite a few good shots along the shore line by just driving with your window rolled-down and the heater on full. Having some thing gloves can help with the cold air blowing off of the ocean. But persistence usually pays off in the winter and you’ll likely be able to add a few new birds to your list.
The website is moving along slowly but surely. I have populated all of the bird photos just in time for the winter. So you should be able to use the website as a good reference for identifying birds. Just scroll-down below the long list of bird species to all of the photos to browse and help identify your birds. Click on a photo for additional information about that species as well as additional photos if available. I will be working of the next few weeks to cross-link the bird photos to specific nature centers where they can be found. After that we are moving on to fungi!
Progress on other areas of the website are on hold for now but will eventually get completed. Some are high priority items like the feedback form and the ability to report an error on the website. We look forward to your feedback and help but first we need to focus on rebuilding the species database.