Results from 2014 Breeding Bird Count

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

2014 Hawk Watch at Lighthouse Point, New Haven

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.

 

YR HRS BV TV OS BE NH SS CH NG RS SW 2014 730 17 373 1190 290 403 3706 1548 7 259 0 2013 681 39 416 715 173 282 3077 843 6 209 0 2012 593 3 297 1055 226 383 4105 1440 9 154 0 2011 569 13 713 844 114 258 4721 1544 4 154 2 2010 655 1 388 1039 99 549 6528 1580 13 365 0

 

YR BW RT RL RL GE AK ML PG Unid. Total 2014 475 518 0 0 4 1046 389 232 566 11025 2013 2676 486 3 3 10 906 393 147 469 10840 2012 1724 449 2 2 4 1267 286 244 328 11936 2011 3365 550 3 3 5 1235 216 212 369 14322 2010 831 740 1 1 7 1790 374 191 617 15113

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

Field Trip Report - Christmas Bird Count 2014

New Haven CBC Summary

On December 20th, 2014, 84 birders, most of them club members, participated in the 115th annual New Haven Christmas Bird Count.  It was a cool, calm, and gray day without precipitation.  The birding was good along the coast and inland.  A number of interesting and uncommon birds were seen.  Notable sightings included Snow Goose (in Bethany), Cackling Goose (two in Orange), Northern Pintail, Redhead (a drake, in Konolds Pond in Woodbridge), Northern Gannet (two off the Branford coast), Black-crowned Night-heron, Clapper Rail, Virginia Rail, Greater Yellowlegs, Iceland Gull (along the Mill River in New Haven), Eastern Phoebe (at the edge of the Beacon Hill Marsh in East Haven), Red-breasted Nuthatch, Marsh Wren, Brown Thrasher, Pine Warbler (in Woodbridge), Palm Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Vesper Sparrow (with six in one location in North Haven!), Lincoln’s Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Rusty Blackbird, and Pine Siskin.   A total of 128 species were observed.  The complete results are as follows:

Snow Goose, 1; Brant, 1,100; Canada Goose, 4,569; Cackling Goose, 2; Mute Swan, 60; Wood Duck, 11; Gadwall, 182; American Wigeon, 165; American Black Duck, 424; Mallard, 1,289; Northern Pintail, 3; Green-winged Teal, 31; Redhead, 1; Ring-necked Duck, 99; Greater Scaup, 2,935; Lesser Scaup, 230; White-winged Scoter, 5; Long-tailed Duck, 124; Bufflehead, 444; Common Goldeneye, 475; Hooded Merganser, 278; Common Merganser, 55; Red-breasted Merganser, 372; Ruddy Duck, 11; Ring-necked Pheasant, 1; Wild Turkey, 80; Red-throated Loon, 10; Common Loon, 42; Pied-billed Grebe, 4; Horned Grebe, 50; Northern Gannet, 2; Double-crested Cormorant, 7; Great Cormorant, 11; Great Blue Heron, 18; Black-crowned Night-heron, 2; Black Vulture, 34; Turkey Vulture, 22; Bald Eagle, 13; Northern Harrier, 10; Sharp-shinned Hawk, 11; Cooper’s Hawk, 24; Red-shouldered Hawk, 26; Red-tailed Hawk, 72; American Kestrel, 2; Merlin, 4; Peregrine Falcon, 5; Clapper Rail, 2; Virginia Rail, 1; American Coot, 26; Black-bellied Plover, 7; Killdeer, 3; Greater Yellowlegs, 3; Ruddy Turnstone, 2; Sanderling, 25; Purple Sandpiper, 13; Dunlin, 7; American Woodcock, 2; Ring-billed Gull, 1,908; Herring Gull, 1,915; Iceland Gull, 1; Great Black-backed Gull, 104; Rock Pigeon, 834; Mourning Dove, 613; Monk Parakeet, 148; Eastern Screech Owl, 36; Great Horned Owl, 13; Barred Owl, 4; Belted Kingfisher, 28; Red-bellied Woodpecker, 139; Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 20; Downy Woodpecker, 243; Hairy Woodpecker, 39; Northern Flicker, 57; Pileated Woodpecker, 4; Eastern Phoebe, 1; Blue Jay, 541; American Crow, 2,225; Fish Crow, 195; Common Raven, 11; Horned Lark, 20; Black-capped Chickadee, 607; Tufted Titmouse, 349;

Trip report - Bombay Hook NWR... 11/29/14

A Trip Too Far

This is the first and LAST time I schedule a fieldtrip on the worst driving weekend of the year – Thanksgiving. I’m rolling it back to Veteran’s Day. The traffic was awful.

The birding, however, was great. We got 86 species including about 15,000 Snow Geese, 60 Tundra Swans, 2 groups of Eastern Meadowlarks – a flock of 5 and a flock of 10 and lots of other flying objects which made the trip great in spite of the traffic.

The snow made it as far as Princeton, NJ. Bombay Hook NWR is on Delaware Bay was unaffected. Our hosts at the Catnap Inn invited us to their Thanksgiving Dinner. We have been staying with them since 1995 so they are family now.

Regards of the seasons to all,

Mike and Pat Horn

 

Field Trip Report - Sherwood Island State Park - 11/22/2014

On November 22nd, 2014, several bird club members and a few other birders met at the entrance to Sherwood Island State Park in Westport for a full morning of birding.  We saw a number of interesting birds at the edge of the woods at the entrance to the park while we waited for the gate to be opened.  The highlight was a Swainson’s Thrush.  This is a late date for this fall migrant.  Other notable observations there included Brown Creeper, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Northern Flicker.  We entered the park and went to the point to look for birds on the sound.  Although there weren’t a lot of waterfowl, we did see Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Long-tailed Duck, Brant, and Red-breasted Merganser.  A flock of Snow Buntings flew around us and landed and fed on the lawn by the beach.  Oddly, a lone Brown-headed Cowbird was in the flock of buntings.  We were delighted to see a male Northern Harrier, a “gray ghost,” fly over the water on its southward migration.  We then went to the western end of the park, where there is a mixture of woods, fields, marsh, and bay.  We saw a variety of birds in this area including: Wilson’s Snipe, Red-tailed Hawk, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, and Fox Sparrow.  In or by the water we saw American Wigeon, Common and Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, and Great Blue Heron.  A Bonaparte’s Gull flew past us as it headed towards the dam to join some other gulls.  We stopped by the pine stand and were rewarded with good views of one of the resident Great Horned Owls.  We then walked past the open fields and model airplane field.  We saw American Tree and Savannah Sparrows there.  We walked to the east end of the park but didn’t see many birds.  We looked, without success, for the Lesser Black-backed Gull that has been a regular winter visitor to that area the past few years.  All in all, we had a very nice trip at this fine birding location.  We saw a total of 59 species.  Late fall is an excellent time of year for birding.

Chris Loscalzo

Field trip reports

Leaders are encouraged to send me a bird list from their walks.  We can post these and other participants can comment on the walks once the list is published.