Field Trip Report—Rhode Island Coast—February 25, 2017
Seventeen club members ventured east to our neighboring state of Rhode Island for a full day of birding. We drove through a fog, but it cleared as we arrived at our first destination: Beavertail State Park in Jamestown. The visibility was fine and it was unseasonably warm, making the birding easier than usual at this coastal location. Here, we saw Harlequin Duck, Common Eider, and all three scoter species, with Black Scoter being the most abundant. We also saw a lone Purple Sandpiper and a Northern Gannet. Some of us were fortunate to see a Razorbill as it flew out of the harbor and out to the sound. Our next stop was at Easton and Green End Ponds in Newport. There, we saw Ruddy Duck, Lesser Scaup, and all three merganser species. It was a short drive from there to Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. There, we saw more Harlequin Duck, Common Eider and scoters, and a large flock of Purple Sandpiper. It was pleasing to see so many of this species as it has been in a steady decline for years. We added Ruddy Turnstone to our trip list at Third Beach just west of the refuge and then were pleased to find the drake Barrow’s Goldeneye off Seaside Drive in Jamestown during our brief stop there. Our next stop was Moonstone Beach where we observed a light phase Rough-legged Hawk perched on a radio antenna out in the marsh. We didn’t stay there long, as we decided that we would observe the birds in Trustom Pond from the observation platform at the refuge rather than from the beach. That turned out to be a good decision as we were able to see the waterfowl well from that vantage point. And, there were lots of waterfowl, including a number of rare species. Highlights included four Tundra Swans (two adults and two juveniles), Redhead, and a drake Eurasian Wigeon. There were also Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Ruddy Duck, and both Great and Double-crested Cormorant. We observed a total of 21 species of waterfowl at Trustom Pond. It was a memorable experience and the highlight of our day. We were also able to observe the Rough-legged Hawk that we had seen earlier, but now it was also soaring and hovering over the marsh. It is a beautiful bird, indeed. The walk to and from the observation platform added some additional species to our list, including Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, and Field Sparrow. From there, we went to Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. By then, the fog had rolled in again, limiting our visibility. We were able to briefly see, though, the adult Lesser Black-backed Gull that is once again wintering there. Our last birding location was Weekapaug Marsh, but the fog was pretty dense there. We got good looks at a few Common Loons that were riding the currents in the canal but didn’t see much else. As we drove home, we counted up the number of species observed on the trip and found that we had seen 70 species in total, an impressive and satisfying number, fitting for such a memorable day. We look forward to returning to these excellent birding locations in Rhode Island again next year.
Mega Bowl Summary
The first annual Mega Bowl of Birding in New Haven County was held on February 5, 2017 (Super Bowl Sunday). Twenty four birders participated in the event and a good time was had by all. Birders teamed up in groups of 3-5 people and went to birding locations throughout the county, from Southbury to New Haven and from Milford to Madison. They saw an impressive total of 103 species and garnered 237 points in doing so. Birders got creative in coming up with names for their teams. The names of the teams were as follows: the Abominable Snow Buntings, the Avianophiles, the CT Young Birders’ Club Darth Waders, the Suet Blockers, Winging It, and the Winter Wrenegades! By a narrow margin, the CYBC Darth Waders pulled off an upset and came up with the most species and earned the most points of any team. Their team’s name has been inscribed on the Mega Bowl Trophy! They saw a total of 82 species on the day and amassed 175 points. At the end of the day, the participants met at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby for a scrumptious dinner (prepared expertly by my wife, Marianne) and to receive awards and prizes. Wil Schenck won an award for being the youngest participant and Bill Batsford won an award for being the most senior participant (all of the other participants were very young, according to Bill). Prizes were given to every participant through the generosity of the proprietors of The Fat Robin in Hamden and The Audubon Shop in Madison. A number of rare and uncommon birds were seen during the day, including: Eurasian Wigeon, Black Scoter, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Ring-necked Pheasant, Rough-legged Hawk, Killdeer, Iceland Gull, Long-eared Owl, Brown Creeper, White-crowned Sparrow, Black-crowned Night-heron, Wilson’s Snipe, and Eared Grebe. Although all birds are equally valuable in the eyes of a birder, for this event species were given a point-value from 1 to 5 based upon their abundance or rarity in early February in New Haven County. Collectively, the teams saw 100% of the 1-point birds, 90% of the 2-point birds, 80% of the 3-point birds, 30% of the 4-point birds, and 3% of the 5-point birds. Seeing the Eared Grebe earned each team 7 points (and every team went to see this rarity at Nathan Hale Park in New Haven) as the species had not been recorded previously in New Haven County in February.
We are looking forward to running the Mega Bowl again next year. It will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018, the day before the Super Bowl. I hope that many bird club members will participate in this fun and friendly event.
Fargeorge Wildlife Refuge Trip Report: 22 people attending the New Haven Land Trust – New Haven Bird Club joint fieldtrip on Saturday Nov 5, 2016 to the New Haven Land Trust’s Fargeorge Wildlife refuge off of Quinnipiac Ave in New Haven. The weather was chilly and a little cloudy to start. Temperature = 30F to 45F Beginning to End. The Tide was Dead Low to start. We had no wind at all so there were no active migrators.
Some of the highlights were: lots of Ruby and Golden Crowned Kinglets – See Picture below, a Woodcock, and a Purple Finch. A grand time was had by all. A great thank you goes to the good folks at the New Haven Land Trust.
The following is a list of bird species seen and /or heard by the attendees:
American Black Duck
Great Blue Heron
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – See photo below
Total Species Seen = 43
Species order from: “A Checklist of the Birds of New Have County Connecticut”. Rev of 2009 for the New Haven Bird Club by Chris Loscalzo
Report submitted by Mike Horn 11/5/2016
On a rainy September 1st Thursday morning at Milford Point, ten weather-defying birders headed out
to the main sandbar, targeting especially its western end, to search for migrating shorebirds. On the
way out we found a singing Marsh Wren that posed nicely in the Spartina near the beach. More
entertainment was provided by at least 4 juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Herons hunting at the
Spartina edges. Small numbers of Semipalmated Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers (mainly
juveniles), and Sanderling were scattered on the main sandbar’s southern edge, and a few hundred
Tree Swallows passed heading west, but the far western fugitive sandbars (sandbars that are tidal
and disappear with every high tide) had our sought-after migrants in good numbers and variety. We
counted 52 American Oystercatchers (they gather here each fall before migration) and around 125
Black-bellied Plovers. Mixed in were 4 Short-billed Dowitchers , 2 juvenile Red Knots, 6 Ruddy
Turnstone, and 2 American Golden Plover. After we found a first Golden Plover, a rather uniform
brown-buff bird with small bill and dovish head–a good contrast to the adjacent Blackbellied
Plovers–we were alerted by Frank Mantlik, who was scoping the sandbars from
Short Beach in Stratford, to the presence of an adult with with dark back and under parts
dark from neck to vent, a dark cap with a striking white supercilium and descending white
line down the side of its face and neck. On our return, made exciting by a water hazard
created by the inrushing tide washing over part of the sandbar, we were treated to the sight
and sound of a pair of dueling Peregrine Falcons. Not bad for a rainy morning.
There were fifteen participants on this mid-afternoon walk on the Massaro Farm property in Woodbridge. The farm is community-supported and is open to the public. There are weedy fields, farm fields, and wet woodlands. We hiked through some of the fields, and then walked the nature trail through the woods. Despite the cool, blustery day, we saw a number of interesting birds, including Broad-winged Hawk, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, Wood Thrush, Northern Parula, and Savannah Sparrow. A total of 31 species were observed. Many of the participants were beginning birders, so they were quite delighted to see all of these showy representatives of the avian world. They’ll be out birding again!
Fifteen birders had a fine morning at this beautiful and wild locale. We hiked from Hunters Mountain Road, down through the ravine, up Forest Road, and then across to the fields north of our starting point. It was a windy and cool day, but we saw lots of good birds. Highlights included: Hooded Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Yellow-throated and Blue-headed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Field Sparrow. All of these birds were seen in the State Forest. We also saw some good birds at our meeting place at the commuter lot off Route 8 at exit 25, including Black Vulture, Chimney Swift, and Belted Kingfisher. We observed a total of 64 species, including 18 warbler species. A good time was had by all, and it was good exercise, too!
Twenty six early rising birders met at 7 am Saturday morning at the Keeny Road entrance to the Nehantic State Forest, to be greeted by both Turkey and Black Vultures warming their wings in the morning sun. During the next three and a half hours we birded the road, stopping at Falls Brook crossing, Uncas Pond and the Keeny Marsh. We heard or saw fifty six species in the Forest, including nine species of warbler, plus orioles, vireos, thrushes and flycatchers. From there the group moved on to Hartman Park, where the highlight was three Cerulean Warblers seen chasing each other and singing in the tops of several oak trees. The Gungy road power cut yielded the expected Prairie and Blue-winged Warblers plus Indigo Bunting, as well as a surprise pair of Orchard Orioles and Broad-winged Hawks. A total of sixty three species were found on the trip, on a warm spring morning with birdsong heard throughout the trip.
Reported by Paul Wolter
Rhode Island Coast Field Trip Report
February 27, 2016
We had a very good day. Twenty-five birders strong, our resolute group invaded the state to our east for a full day of birding. We started our day at Beavertail State Park in Jamestown. It was seasonably cold, but pleasantly calm and clear, and there were lots of birds. Most notably, there were several Razorbills just off the point at the south end of the park. We saw two or three at a time as they rested on the water’s surface or dove in their characteristic way into its depths. We also got great looks at an adult Iceland Gull on the rocky shore. All the while, we were being serenaded by the whistling calls of the numerous Black Scoters that were there, along with Common Eider, Surf Scoters, and the spectacular Harlequin Ducks. We also saw Common and Red-throated Loon, Great Cormorants, and Horned Grebes. Our next stop was Easton Pond in Newport. We saw Lesser Scaup, all three merganser species, a Ruddy Duck, a Kingfisher, and a drake Canvasback there. Then we went to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown. There, perched on a log by the shore, was a Snowy Owl. It seemed undisturbed by our presence (it must be used to people gawking at it) and we noted that it was fitted with a radio tag attached to its back. There were more scoter, eider, and Harlequin Ducks there. A brief stop at nearby Third Beach netted a flock of Sanderlings. Then it was time for us to head west along the coast. Some of us were lucky to see a Northern Gannet as it flew past the bridge that connects Jamestown to Narragansett (others kept their eyes on the road). We stopped at Moonstone Beach and walked the beach to the south end of Trustom Pond (the trip leader makes us take this trek every year) where we saw Greater Scaup, Ruddy Ducks, Great Cormorants, and a wintering Double-crested Cormorant. From a distance, we spotted a Northern Harrier, two Common Ravens, and a Red-tailed Hawk flying over the fields and marsh. To our dismay, we found a dead seal pup washed up on the beach. Life and death are always intermingled. Our next destination was the Burlingame Park campgrounds area, but a locked gate thwarted our efforts to see the Red-headed Woodpecker that had been seen there. So, we went to Ninigret Park instead where we saw our old friend the Lesser Black-backed Gull (it’s been wintering there for several years) as well as a first-year male White-winged Scoter, close to shore. Our final stop was the Weekapaug Marsh. It was quiet there, but as the sun was setting behind us, we saw four Great Blue Heron bedding down for the night. It was time for us to head off into the sunset, too, satisfied that we had succeeded in our quest. We saw a total of 62 species of birds. Not bad, for a group of out-of-state birders. We’ll be back again next year, to see if we can conquer our neighbors again. J
1/9/16 Hammonasset Beach SP, Madison, CT.
The first New Haven Bird Club weekend walk of the year saw 25 participants find 43 different species over four hours this morning in the park while negotiating an extremely high tide. The weather was perfect given the date. Highlights included two first winter Baltimore Orioles, a single Purple Sandpiper and a Dunlin with ten Ruddy Turnstones on the jetty, a Fox Sparrow and a close Northern Harrier.
Photo by Kelvin W. Cole
Our trip to Lake Chamberlain and the Cooper farm was a splendid fall day. 25 People, including a number of new birders, gathered by the marshy field to watch robins, cedar waxwings and white throated sparrows. Our trip across the dam was rewarded with a flock of 5 bluebirds posing on a bush so that we all got a great look at this beautiful bird. To top off our walk across the dam a mature bald eagle spent several minutes circling above the lake and took a couple of attempts at having duck for lunch! There were mallards and buffleheads on the lake. There is also a large flock of ringneck ducks in the area but not visible this morning. The hike up to the top of the Cooper farm was a little quieter than usual but a red shouldered hawk and red tailed hawk gave us good views. We found several woodpeckers including a pair of Yellow bellied sapsuckers. We did review some of the new material covered in Tom Wessels’ presentation at the indoor meeting. We were looking for evidence of the history of the farm lands as Tom had explained. The views from the upper fields of the west river valley and Long Island sound are breathtaking. The wind had picked up on the way back across the dam to speed up the pace. We had a total of 29 species
Lake Chamberlain, New Haven, Connecticut, US
Nov 14, 2015 7:30 AM – 10:30 AM
Comments: New Haven Bird Club field trip led by Pat Leahy.
Turkey Vulture 1
Bald Eagle 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 5
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 12
Black-capped Chickadee 12
Tufted Titmouse 6
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Eastern Bluebird 6
American Robin 30
Gray Catbird 1
Cedar Waxwing 12
Dark-eyed Junco 6
White-throated Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 1
Common Grackle 6
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 1
House Sparrow 6
There were 11 of us that braved the Beautiful Fall Weather and went on the joint trip with the New Haven Land Trust and our Bird Club. The big features were lots and lots of Cedar Waxwings and Loads of Robins plus a roosted up American Bald Eagle. The tide was dead low so Hemingway Creek was empty, so no ducks. It was, however, a really fun trip with a great time had by all.
The following is a list of bird species seen and /or heard by the 11 people attending the New Haven Land Trust – New Haven Bird Club fieldtrip of Saturday Oct 31, 2015 to the New Haven Land Trust’s Fargeorge Wildlife refuge:
American Black Duck
American Bald Eagle
Great Black-backed Gull
Cedar Waxwing – Lots
Total Species Seen = 39
Weather: Lovely Fall Day – Sunny with a Light Breeze
Tide: Dead Low to start
Temperature = 34°F to 45°F Beginning to End
18 birders took advantage of a spectacular fall day for a walk through a number of Hammonasset spots. A total of 42 species were seen on a birdy day. Highlights included a cooperative Pied-billed Grebe on Swan Pond with several Killdeer on the field across the road. Willard’s Island held many Kinglets, both Golden and Ruby-crowned as well as a plethora of Yellow-rumped Warbler. Seeing two cooperative Brown Creeper was a treat. Some birders got photos of a Brown Thrasher as well. The walk along the edge and trail to Cedar Island had many of the common sparrow species as well as a Hermit Thrush. As a special treat to finish the walk two Royal Tern were seen from the platform at the end of Cedar Island. The day was beautiful and was enjoyed by all. It was especially fun to have some newer birders along, adding some new species to their lists.
Eighteen enthusiastic birders went to the Nehantic State Forest and Hartman Park in Lyme on May 17th for a full and satisfying morning of birding. We drove on Keeny Road from west to east in the Forest, stopping numerous times along the way. Noteworthy sightings in the Forest were: Great Blue Heron, Yellow-billed Cuckoo (two separate birds at the northeast section of the Forest), Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Swainson’s Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, a first-year Orchard Oriole (at the Uncas Pond picnic area), and 14 warbler species, including: Blackburnian, Magnolia, Pine, Worm-eating, and Canada. We also heard several Northern Waterthrush. At Hartman Park, it took some effort, but we eventually saw a Cerulean Warbler. Other observations of interest included a White-eyed Vireo (in the brush at the power line cut), Yellow-throated Vireo (heard only), Eastern Wood Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, Prairie and Worm-eating Warbler, and Indigo Bunting. For the day, we saw about 63 species. These are two beautiful locations in the heart of our fine state that we will go back to year after year.
About 16 club members went to the Naugatuck State Forest on May 16th for a fine morning of birding. We had to wait out the rain for about an hour or so, and it was a bit wet as we started on the trails, but it dried up eventually and we saw great birds everywhere we went. We started out at the parking lot at the end of Hunters Mountain Road, hiked the trail south from there through the woods and past the pond, and then took the scenic trail through the gorge. We then walked up Forest Road up to Hunters Mountain Road, and walked through the fields on the north side of the road. In taxonomic order, we saw the following birds of interest: a pair of Wood Ducks (they flew out from behind the log cabin at the corner of Forest Road and Hunters Mountain Road), two Great Blue Heron (remarkably observed flying through the woods over the stream that parallels Forest Road), a Green Heron (a flyover over the fields north of the road), a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (on a tree near the cabin), an ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (probably the rarest bird of the day, seen first over the river in the gorge and then over Forest Road), a Winter Wren (heard at its usual location in the gorge), a pair of Eastern Bluebirds (in the field north of Hunters Mountain Road) and fifteen warbler species, included Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Prairie, Worm-eating, Hooded, Canada, and Louisiana Waterthrush. We also got glimpses of the LAWRENCE’S WARBLER at the same location as last year: at the power line cut on Forest Road. We also saw and heard numerous Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, and Indigo Buntings. Talk about colorful plumages! All total, we observed 63 species on this fine spring day.
28 birders participated in the Mother’s Day bird walk at the Racebrook Tract in Orange and Woodbridge. We walked through beautiful deciduous and mixed coniferous woodlands, through the open brush of a power line cut, and along picturesque woodland streams. We were treated to fine looks at several beautiful and striking birds, including Baltimore Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Scarlet Tanagers. We also were pleased to see and hear a male Pileated Woodpecker. Ovenbirds were plentiful in the woods, but easier to hear than see. We heard several Louisiana Waterthrushes and saw several other warbler species, including Pine, Blue-winged, and Black and White Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and Northern Parula. We saw and heard Wood Thrushes and heard a Veery. Other species of note observed on the trip included: Wood Duck, Red-tailed Hawk, Chimney Swift, Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Towhee, and Field Sparrow. All total, 45 species were observed on the walk. This was a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Rhode Island Coast Field Trip Report
Five brave club members ventured to the RI coast on this cold and wintry day, despite the threat of an approaching storm. Confident that there’d be time for some good birding before the snow began to fall, we met at the commuter lot in Branford at 7 am and headed northeast. We were not disappointed. We saw lots of great birds.
Our first stop was at Seaside Drive in Jamestown. A drake Barrow’s Goldeneye had been seen there several times earlier this winter. When we arrived, we were discouraged to find much of the bay frozen over. However, after a short search, we found the Barrow’s Goldeneye in a small patch of open water. He was a handsome bird, with distinctive markings. We also saw Surf Scoter at this location. Our next stop was at Beavertail State Park. Here, we were treated to excellent views of Common Eider, Black Scoter, and Harlequin Duck, all feeding and floating in the water close to shore. We also saw Brant, Great Cormorant, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Bufflehead, Red-throated and Common Loon, Horned Grebe, and Purple Sandpiper here. We made a good study of an adult Iceland Gull that has been wintering at the park and compared and contrasted it with the nearby Herring Gulls. We were pleased to see two Killdeer on the beach as we drove north away from the park on the way to our next destination.
Given the forecast, we elected to head west along the coast next, rather than go further from home by going to Sachuest Point. We probably missed out on seeing a Snowy Owl by doing so, but we ensured that we would get back to CT before the blizzard hit. So, we drove west, stopping on Cards Pond Road on our way to Moonstone Beach. The road has several farm fields and is a good place to see grassland species and sparrows. We saw a Snow Bunting in a flock of Horned Lark along the road and some of us got to see a coyote run across the road, too. We didn’t stay long at Moonstone Beach, but we did see a Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, and Red-shouldered Hawk flying over the marsh while we were there. Our next stop was the nature center at Trustum Pond NWR. Uncommon species seen there included a male Purple Finch, a male Eastern Towhee, and a flyover Black Vulture.
A visit to Ninigret NWR led to our seeing the Lesser Black-backed Gull there. Presumably, this is the same individual that has been there for the past several winters. Much of the bay was frozen over there, but the small amount of open water was full of waterfowl, mostly Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, and Bufflehead. There were Greater Scaup and American Wigeon, and a few other species as well.
Our last stop was the best and most surprising. We visited Weekapaug Ponds and Canal and the nearby farm on Noyes Neck Road. Once again, there was limited open water, but the waterfowl were concentrated into a small area, making for some exciting viewing. We were delighted to see eight (!) Redhead duck at this location, as well as a drake Eurasian Wigeon. There was also a pair of Northern Pintail, a female Common Merganser in the pond, and a Snow Goose that flew in briefly to join the Canada Goose flock there. At the farm, there was a huge grain pile that was partially uncovered and was mobbed by hundreds of birds desperate for food, given the snow covered fields and frozen waters. We saw hundreds of geese and ducks there, including the Snow Goose, five Northern Pintail, and American Black Ducks. There was also a huge flock of Horned Larks there. It took a while, but we eventually found some rarities in that flock, namely a Lapland Longspur and an American Pipit. The number and variety of birds seen at this grain pile was truly astounding.
So, on a trip where we didn’t see alcids or owls, we had a great time and saw lots of great birds. We saw a total of approximately 70 species on this cold and threatening day.
First Wednesday Walk 2/4/15
Greg Hanisek lead the walk at Hammonasset Beach State Park attended by ten enthusiastic birders.The deep snow cover was a challenge and we had to work hard for the 38 species seen by most of the group. We managed to find 12 waterfowl species on open fresh water and a relatively calm Long Island Sound.The highlights included nice views of two Fox Sparrows near the nature center and two Bald Eagles,one which flew right over our heads in the campground area of the park.
Thanks to those who attended and to our leader,Greg Hanisek!
Subject: eBird Report – Hammonasset State Park, Madison, CT, Feb 4, 2015
Hammonasset State Park, Madison, CT, New Haven, US-CT
Feb 4, 2015 8:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Comments: overcast; low 30s; heavy snow cover,New Haven Bird Club First Wednesday Walk lead by Greg Hanisek
38 species (+2 other taxa)
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 300
American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) 85
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 2
American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid) (Anas rubripes x platyrhynchos) 1
Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) 3
Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) 2
White-winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca) 1
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) 8
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) 2
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) 10
Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata) 15
Common Loon (Gavia immer) 3
Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) 4
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 1
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) 4
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 2
Dunlin (Calidris alpina) 12
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 60
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 50
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 5
gull sp. (Larinae sp.) 20
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 5
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 8
Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) 1
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) 50
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 10
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 6
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) 4
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 10
American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) 3
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) 2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 12
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 5
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 1
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 3
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) 15
New Haven Summer Bird Count: June 7 & 8 (Sat. & Sun.) 2014
Totals: 128 species, 8,565 individual birds. Forty observers in 18 Parties spent 139 party hours in the field. Since the Count was founded in 1991, 187 count day species have been confirmed here with the addition this year of Olive-sided Flycatcher.
Weather: 6/7– daytime: N/W winds shifting S/W, 0-10 mph, 60° to 76°F., clear, nighttime: S winds, 5 mph, partly cloudy. 6/8– N winds shifting S, 0-8 mph., 61° to 82°F., partly cloudy, nighttime: S/SW winds, 3 mph, 75° to 72°F., mostly cloudy.
Count (15-Mile diameter circle) Center: 41°18´N 72°56´W. Elevation: Sea level to 700 feet. Area covered: Branford (western), East Haven, Milford, New Haven, North Haven, Orange, West Haven, and Woodbridge (in part).
Can Goose 393, Brant 4, Mute Swan 67, Wood Duck 350, Gadwall 3, Am Black Duck 9, Mallard 135, MallardXBlack Duck 1, Com Goldeneye 1, Wild Turkey 20, Com Loon 1, Double-crested Cormorant 165, Least Bittern 1, Great-Blue Heron 36, Great Egret 28, Snowy Egret 12, Green Heron 8, Black-crowned Night Heron 17, Yellow-crowned Night Heron 3, Glossy Ibis 2, Black Vulture 17, Turkey Vulture 39, Osprey 91, Blad Eagle 4, Sharp-shinned Hawk 1, Cooper’s Hawk 3, Red-shouldered Hawk 13, Red-tailed Hawk 26, Peregrine Falcon 2, Clapper Rail 3, Virginia Rail 1, Semipalmated Plover 1, Piping Plover 12, Killdeer 16, Am Oystercatcher 11, Willet 14, Spotted Sandpiper 6, Ruddy Turnstone 1, Semipalmated Sandpiper 41, Ring-billed Gull 252, Herring Gull 282, Greater Black-backed Gull 42, Common Tern 24, Least Tern 71, Rock Pigeon 123, Mourning Dove 237, Monk Parakeet 41, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 21, Black-billed Cuckoo 10, Barred Owl 2, Com Nighthawk 2, Chimney Swift 117, RT Hummingbird 6, Belted Kingfisher 5, Red-Bellied Woodpecker 59, Downy Woodpecker 84, Hairy Woodpecker 16, N Flicker 54, Pileated Woodpecker 6, Olive-sided Flycatcher 1, E Wood-Pewee 76, Willow Flycatcher 47, E Phoebe 24, Great Crested Flycatcher 55, E Kingbird 44, Yellow-Throated Vireo 4, Warbling Vireo 111, Red-eyed Vireo 130, Blue Jay 129, American Crow 139, Fish Crow 14, Com Raven 6, Purple Martin 7, Tree Swallow 115, N Rough-winged Swallow 58, Cliff Swallow 16, Barn Swallow 163, Black-capped Chickadee 87, Tufted Titmouse 96, Red-breasted Nuthatch 5, White-breasted Nuthatch 33, Car Wren 21, House Wren 80, Winter Wren 2, Marsh Wren 52, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 5, E Bluebird 13, Veery 19, Wood Thrush 58, Am Robin 724, Gray Catbird 192, N Mockingbird 64, Brown Thrasher 1, Euro Starling 569, Cedar Waxwing 147, Blue-winged Warbler 22, Yellow Warbler 130, Magnolia Warbler 1, Black-throated Blue Warbler 1, Black-throated Green Warbler 3, Pine Warbler 31, Prairie Warbler 14, Black and White Warbler 38, Am Redstart 12, Worm-eating Warbler 28, Ovenbird 136, Louisiana Waterthrush 5, Com Yellowthroat 57, Hooded Warbler 1, Scarlet Tanager 46, E Towhee 24, Chipping Sparrow 81, Field Sparrow 5, Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow 1, Song Sparrow 193, N Cardinal 146, Blue Grosbeak 1, Rose Breasted Grosbeak 27, Indigo Bunting 47, Red-winged Blackbird 585, Com Grackle 384, Brown-headed Cowbird 72, Orchard Oriole 12, Baltimore Oriole 123, House Finch 66, Am Goldfinch 103, House Sparrow 204.
Participants: Marion Aimsbury, Ralph Amodel, Mark Aronson, Dan Barvir, Bill Batsford, Larry Bausher, Steve Broker, Gail Cameron, Cheryl Cape, Elena Coffey, Patrick Comins, John Farley, Mike Ferreri, Mike Horn, Laura Lawrence, Patrick Leahy, Mary Ann Lewis, Christ Loscalzo, Steve Mayo, Florence McBride, Pat McCrelless, Ann Meacham, Bob Mitchell, Mike O’Brien, John Oshlick, Frank Ragusa, Nancy Ragusa, Jason Rieger, Arne Rosengren, Dan Rotino, Lee Schlesinger, Mark Scott, Arthur Shippee, Nancy Specht, Charla Spector, Steve Spector, Deborah Tenney, Marianne Vahey, Lisa Wahle, and Paul Wolter.
For additional information including totals trends for our New Haven CBC, refer to the October 2014 of the COA’s Connecticut Warbler, Volume 34, No. 4.
Lighthouse Point Park Hawk Watch, August to December
The hawk flight schedule seemed to have “moved to the right”, this year. We had a record slow August, with no real cold fronts, and then the worst September since full coverage began in 1980. October totals rebounded, although the traditional peak Columbus Day weekend failed to bring huge numbers. Our peak season day was later; 1159 hawks on October 19. November’s totals were well-within the 10-year averages and we had a record breaking December.
But it’s not just about the numbers. Everyone who visited has a memory of the afternoon “falcon follies” or an occasional Golden Eagle, or even the Goshawk which barreled, low, past onlookers from the south, and just a few feet above ground.
And, it’s not just about the hawks. Although there seemed to be fewer neotropical migrants, Gnatcatchers, hummingbirds, Dickcissels, thousands of Tree Swallows and even Purple Finch flew past, in September. October brought late Nighthawks, a good flight of nuthatches, woodpeckers (including a Red-Headed on 10/10), Siskins and Purple Finch as well as those ubiquitous Blue Jays. A Sandhill Crane was seen on 10/11, 2 more were spotted on 11/2, and an amazing 23 were seen on 11/28! November brings Robins, Bluebirds and Grackles – a lot of Grackles. On 11/8, an estimated 3-5 million blackbirds flew over in clouds that lasted for minutes. This far surpasses the previous record estimate of 1.5 million on 11/9/2013.
Additional information including detailed daily notes and trend analysis can be found on Hawkcount.org.
Twelve intrepid club members braved a cold, wet day to go on a whirlwind birding tour in Milford and Stratford. We went to Milford Point first. There were several species of waterfowl in the marsh, including Gadwall and Bufflehead. On the sound side of the point, we saw Common Goldeneye, Long-tailed Duck, and Red-breasted Merganser. A drake Northern Pintail was a pleasant surprise, seen in a flock of American Black Ducks. A flock of Dunlin flew along the sandbar and several Great Black-backed Gulls fed on a duck carcass on the ice. A flock of Snow Buntings delighted us as they fed on the sandy beach directly in front of the viewing platform.
Our next stop was the Birdseye Boat Ramp in Stratford, where we saw the best bird of the day. An American Bittern was observed in the marsh there. It blended into the marsh grass well, but afforded us excellent looks as it stayed out in the open for a remarkably long period of time. We also observed a Northern Harrier, Green-winged Teal, American Coot, and a Belted Kingfisher at this location.
We stopped at Frash Pond next and saw Hooded Merganser and a Great Blue Heron there. The pond was mostly frozen over, however. By now, the rain was coming down a bit harder, but we continued on to Long Beach in Stratford. We saw plenty of Long-tailed Duck and Common Goldeneye at this location, close to shore. We also saw Sanderlings and Dunlin here and there was a large flock of Brant in the marsh.
Our final stop for the day was Short Beach. We saw American Wigeon and Gadwall along the shore and a few Common Loons in the bay.
All in all, we did quite well, given the less than ideal weather conditions. We are fortunate to have so many good birding spots in our local area.