Archive for the ‘Welcome’ Category

Summer Surprise

August 14, 2012

5th August, Sandy Point, West Haven

After last weeks surprise adult BAIRD’S SANDPIPER – only my 2nd adult ever in late summer/fall, numbers of shorebirds continue to rise. A private guided walk yielded the usual suspects but also a nice adult ROSEATE TERN. Difficult to pick out of the hordes head on, but the tell-tale primary pattern was useful – more on that in a later post.

Surprise was an adult and juvenile Least Sand – my earliest juvenile ever! The tern colony is looking really healthy and good numbers of Common Terns abounded.

Southbound Semis…despite a thorough grilling no Red-necked or Little Stint could be found. Mid-July-early August is the best time for these Eurasian vagrants to show up in the north-east.

Interview on BirdCalls radio

April 17, 2012

Here is the archive of the Sunday, April 8, 2012, BirdCallsRadio show with yours truly as the special guest.

There’s discussion on wildlife photography and art, as well as birdwatching tips, the CT Avian Records Committee, and coming to America from England and birding in Cape May, N.J.

Click here for the archive BCR 4-8 julian hough

April 8 Bird Calls Radio

April 7, 2012

I will be the next guest on BirdCallsRadio on April 8, 2012. It will air on Sunday from 1 to 2 p.m EST on 1490am WGCH & WORLDWIDE internet Streaming
Check out:

Hope you will listen in!

From the Archives..on this day in 1984!

March 23, 2012

While birding is at a slow-ebb, I thought I’d post a page out of my journal from this day back in 1984 when i was a rabid twitcher at the naive age of 16.

Sociable Plover, London, March 1984 (Julian Hough, age 16)
(click for larger image)

This crippling Sociable Plover (or Sociable lapwing as it is often called) was present on the London/Kent, UK  border. In those pre-mobile, pre-internet days, word of such megas was spread by the telephone grapevine. This bird had been present the week before, unbeknownst to us, as we drove past it on the way back from seeing another top-class vagrant at the time, a confiding female Little Crake in Sussex. So, the following week we had to drive the 4 1/2 hours back down but had superb views of this bird as it foraged in a small grassy area. Still a rare bird, I have seen a few more in the UK, but always a classy vagrant.

NY Oriole-a solution

December 16, 2011

I’m not that familiar with fall Bullock’s as vagrants in the east (the only one I have seen is an adult male in Goshen, CT in the 90s) but I think this is a first-winter female Baltimore. Worn brownish flight feathers and pointed, worn tail feathers age it as a first-year and the predominantly yellowish-orange tones and clean, unmarked mantle imply it’s a female. Female Baltimore’s can be really variable, but the coloration is strong on the breast and has an orange tinge – good for Baltimore and bad for Bullock’s. The mantle is brown-toned, the ground color of Bullock’s being more grey (often washed with olive), so again good for Baltimore. Also, the undertail coverts, while variable, are bright orange-yellow, another feature, while not diagnostic, is supportive for Baltimore.

HY (First-winter) female Baltimore Oriole, Central Park, NY, Dec. 2011 (David Speiser)

The upper, median wingbar is clean white and seems to lack the pointed dark centres typical of HY Bullock’s (even allowing for the scaps covering the upper wingbar, I think you’d see the pointed centres poking out from underneath). The feathering in front of the eye is slightly ruffled, but I don’t think there is a dark loral line, the kind I’d want to see on a putative Bullock’s. Also, the crown is fairly uniform without a subtler, paler supercilium. In Bullock’s the malar and sides of the earcoverts are often the brightest yellow (rather than the breast) superficially reminiscent of a fall Cape May Warbler.

HY (First-winter) female Baltimore Oriole, Central Park, NY, Dec. 2011 (David Speiser).The areas of the head, upper breast and vent are predominantly orange-toned, which is good for Baltimore,not clearer yellow as in Bullock's. The head pattern, lacking dark lores and a paler, contrasting supercilium are also pro-Baltimore features.

To compare, here’s a link to a similar-plumaged Bullock’s in New Brunswick, that has the appropriate credentials. Thanks to Louis Bevier for comments and bringing this link to my attention and to David for allowing me to use his great shots!


Hendrix – before and after

December 4, 2011

No sooner had I arrived at daycare to pick up Alex,  he ran up to me, beaming and proudly thrust his drawing he had done into my hands.  Encouragingly, I said “Awesome”, but realized as someone of an artistic background (i.e. someone who used to draw) that I was obviously failing my offspring in the drawing department.

Before Lesson

One night when we got home, I said “Hey, why don’t we do some drawing?” He said he liked to draw planes and I said “We can do that!”. So, sketch pad and biro in hand, on the spur of the moment we started off with simple shapes e.g. a circle and figured he could follow my lead. He’s four, so even holding the pen at this point takes some dexterity. However, within an hour I was amazed at what he threw down on the paper!!!!!

"Daddy..this drawing thing is easy...I bet you could do it too. Who's Jimi Hendrix.. is he in the Wiggles?"

After Lesson

There’s hope yet! Now, if I can only get him to pick up a pair of binoculars!

A nice pair of breasts!

September 14, 2011

Buff-breasted Sandpiper - one of my favourite shorebirds!(click for larger image)

A beautiful pair of Buff-breasts watched running inbetween myself and ace photographer Paul Fusco this evening. Just exquisite birds watched at sunset actively feeding away, unconcerned by the parade of  ‘fun-runners’ doing laps around the field!

Spoon-billed Sandpipers hatch in the UK!

August 19, 2011

One of  the  ultimate “species i want to see before I die” has had success from a innovative breeding project. The quickly declining Spoon-billed Sandpiper population has spurred a group to raise them in captivity before the population is expunged forever.

Read about it here:


July 10, 2011

I’ve wanted to spend more time taking portraits, something I’ve always been inspired to do but never found enough time to pursue it. I’m hoping to spend more time doing non-bird photography and hope to get to a point where I can really concentrate on lighting techniques. Here’s a shot of my neighbors from last night – enjoy!

A Day in My Life

July 10, 2011

With little else going on, a doodle of mine  that may elicit a chuckle..