Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bear Ends Up Empty Pawed

We put the trail cam out near the driveway facing the bird feeders..a lot of John and Ryan putting up and taking them down. It looks like someone forgot to put them away one day and we caught a bear checking them out. Luckily they were empty.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bobcat Sightings Galore

Over the last couple of months we've been seeing bobcats fairly frequently.  I myself have seen one, or I think is the same one, on three separate occasions.  Twice I spotted the smaller cat between Benedict Pond and our beaver pond in the afternoon.  The third time the animal casually walked right in front of the window at the office, also in the afternoon, but earlier.  I was lucky enough to get a picture of it, though from a less than desirable angle.  The regularity of this one might be attributed to catching it making its habitual rounds through Aton Forest.  A larger bobcat has also been spotted at least twice on the property in recent times.

- Ryan Williams (Conservation Assistant)

Photo: Ryan Williams

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Golden Eagle Flies Overhead

It came as a surprise when I noticed a golden eagle was logged on our newly created Aton Forest eBird "hotspot".  Here is a screengrab of the observation (click to enlarge):

So it turns out that the observation stemmed from the fact that a radio collared bird flying south to its wintering location in the southern Appalachians flew over Aton Forest.  Pretty cool!  It's too bad no one got to actually see the eagle.  There's a number of groups researching the eastern population of golden eagles, especially their routes they take from northern Canada down to the mountainous states of the south.  To learn more check out the Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group.

- Ryan Williams (Conservation Assistant)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Moose on the Loose & Bears on a Tear

I am quite a bit late in reporting this but better late than never...

Aton Forest had a particularly large visitor throughout the summer - a bull moose was spotted on three separate occasions on the preserve.  It is becoming less and less rare to spot a moose in northwestern Connecticut these days, though still uncommon. Great Mountain Forest has a number that roam about, one was unfortunately struck by a vehicle on Route 44 in Norfolk this year, and another was viewed for a while in Canaan Valley, also this year.  The moose seen here was first noted on June 27th by myself while pulling into the office around 6:45am before a breeding bird survey.  I noticed a large brown furry object about 100 yards up from the driveway and proceeded to follow with my car.  The "object" began to run and then turned uphill to tear through the forest.  I got a good look at the animal, noticing its velvet rack, but not long enough to snap a picture.  The second occurrence was by John Anderson and Fran Zygmont while conducting a breeding bird survey on Chimney Hill at about 10:00am on July 13th.  Fran managed to snap some photos (one posted below with a circle around the hard to see moose) and a video.  Lastly, Ryan Carrigan spotted the moose from John's house off of State Line Hill Rd at about 11:00am on August 6th.  This moose was the first ever noted on the property by Aton Forest staff (others in the area had reported them to us as recent as last year).

Also this summer a sow bear and her three cubs were spotted in John's field off of State Line Hill Rd.  They were observed by Jeff Merritt in the early morning on July 30th.  Apparently they had been aggressively rooting in certain areas.

- Ryan Williams (Conservation Assistant)

Photo: Fran Zygmont

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sandhill Cranes Return

The cranes made a return to a nearby location this summer.  Just when we thought we wouldn't see them!

Photo: Patrick Comins

Monday, February 3, 2014

Winter Birds

On Saturday January 18th we headed out for a walk around the property in hopes of finding some of the birds that call Aton Forest home for the winter.  Joining John and myself were Mike Aurelia (AF President) and birder Ayerslea Denny.  Here's what we saw (and heard):

  1. Great horned owl
  2. Downy woodpecker
  3. Blue jay
  4. American crow
  5. Black-capped chickadee
  6. Tufted Titmouse
  7. Red-breasted nuthatch
  8. White-breasted nuthatch
  9. Eastern bluebird
  10. American robin
  11. Dark-eyed junco
  12. Purple finch
  13. American goldfinch

- Ryan Williams (Conservation Assistant)

A male Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)