Snowy Owls and a Fork-tailed Flycatcher are grabbing all the headlines in Connecticut this week _ and deservedly so. Snowy Owls are being found up and down the coast and that flycatcher has been entertaining birders in Hadlyme.
I haven’t seen either species yet this fall/winter, but I thoroughly enjoyed a canoe trip on Long Island Sound this weekend. I launched from Pear Tree Point in Darien and canoed over to Green’s Ledge Lighthouse and back along the Darien coast. Common and Red-throated Loons were abundant. Long-tailed Ducks were constant companions and even uttered their unique song over and over.
But, for me, the highlight was Purple Sandpipers. I came across two flocks _ one a sizable flock of about two dozen; the other just two birds. Purple Sandpipers are hearty birds that live on rocky islands and breed in the Arctic. They winter on isolated rocks off the coast of New England, including Long Island Sound.
(Way more photos below. Click on “continue reading.”)
Why is it called Purple Sandpiper if it’s mostly gray and white? Good question. It’s winter plumage does show a slight purple tinge when the light hits it right.
So, while it may not be a Snowy Owl or Fork-tailed Flycatcher, I’ll take a Purple Sandpiper sighting any day.
Enjoy the rest of the photos.
This photo gives an idea of the numbers of sandpipers out there.
And a Dunlin, too.