Trip Report – Milford Stratford -1-18-2015

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.

Chris Loscalzo

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