May 23 – 27: As the last of the migrants pass through and the resident species settle in for breeding season, my focus, besides simply enjoying the “morning chorus,” becomes trying to improve on the photos I have of any given species. Hammonasset State Park this spring has seen especially good numbers of Canada Warblers, allowing for “best of species” photos for this migrant, a particularly fidgety warbler that is in constant motion and never seems to sit still. All along the Willard Island trail the “fitz-bew” chirp of numerous Willow Flycatchers rings out from perches on the tall reeds at the edge of the marsh. Killdeer also are abundant here, and a pair of adults already tending one pair of new chicks, seemed intent on wasting no time producing another brood.
At East Rock Park in New Haven I happened to spot a Wood Thrush fly into a shrub, and was thus treated to the rare view of a female sitting on her extremely well-concealed nest, no more than four feet off the ground, but nestled into the very center of the shrub such as to render it virtually invisible from every direction. Meanwhile the colors of the myriad migrant warblers were complemented by Baltimore Orioles, Indigo Buntings, and the always endearing Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
Dunlins are numerous along the shore in fall when they are an unexciting drab gray, but along the Guilford/Madison line, where the boat ramp road is always worth a visit for Salt Marsh and Seaside Sparrows, I found a striking springtime specimen resplendent in brilliant full breeding plumage, as well as some in-flight Willets showing off their distinctive wing pattern.
Hartman Park in Lyme is one of the most reliable Connecticut spots for nesting Cerulean Warblers. They are easy to hear but hard to see, as the mature trees are very tall here and this bird tends to remain high in the treetops such that photos are more often than not by necessity looking up from below. I’ve had better photos of them in prior years.