Here’s another shot taken on or near Long Island Sound, in recognition of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s 2019 State of the Birds report. The press release that summarizes the findings may be found here. The full report will be available via PDF on January 1.
Here’s some good news from Connecticut Audubon regarding the success of shorebirds nesting on CT beaches. The nesting areas are monitored by volunteers and staff of the Audubon Alliance, a partnership with Connecticut Audubon Society(standalone organization), Audubon Connecticut (state chapter of national Audubon), CT DEEP, and Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History. The main focus of the monitoring and study are piping plovers and least terns, as well as American oystercatchers.
I was a monitor years ago when I worked nights and loved it. There’s nothing being the first one to discover a piping nest. I use the word “nest” lightly as it’s nothing more than a slight indentation in the rocky/sandy beach. The birds and eggs Continue reading
Here’s the latest For the Birds column …
This moment existed only because of the heavy rains we experienced last week. The body of water was small, shallow, algae-ridden and not at all something to behold.
OK, it was a puddle. No more, no less … your typical run-of-the-mill puddle.
Until a least sandpiper showed up and transformed the puddle into an exotic waterscape. The small shorebird was migrating south earlier this week and saw the puddle as the perfect place to rest and perhaps find an easy meal.
It had flown in from somewhere up north and was on its way to points south. But for a few hours anyway, home was a puddle in New England.
The bird paid little attention to me as I watched and photographed it for several minutes. Migrating birds can be like that. They are intensely focused on fueling and resting for their long journey.
The funny thing about the sighting was the location of the puddle. It exists on and off — depending on the weather — at a dirt parking area that Continue reading
The spring migration is under way and many birds have made appearances in New England already. Birds such as red-winged blackbirds started showing up in February but the spring migration here is still in the beginning stages. By the end of April and into May, we’ll be hitting full stride.
Today I heard my first eastern phoebe. That, to me, is a true sign of spring. I’ve also seen a few American woodcock, thousands of mergansers, a handful of hawks, and several great blue herons flying with large sticks in their bills.
Eventually, all the talk will be about warblers and other songbirds. But we have a few weeks before that happens. To me, the large flocks of shorebirds that move through New England is an underrated aspect of spring migration. Shorebird migration is underrated in general, probably because it is so spread out. The northward movements start in late March and April and continue all the way into June. The southward movements start in July and continue into November. Of course, many shorebirds remain in New England throughout the winter.
So while we are excited to see the ducks, songbirds, hawks and other birds return to New England, don’t forget about the shorebirds dotting our saltwater and freshwater shorelines.
The wild ponies are coming next, I promise. But first a few more shots of the semipalmated plover I spotted at Assateauge Island National Seashore.
Semipalmated plovers are fairly common sightings up and down the coast, including New England, but I got a good look at this bird as it hunted the shoreline of a marsh at Assateague Island National Seashore. I even caught him pulling a worm of some sort out of the mud.
An important press release from American Bird Conservancy
Washington, D.C. — As millions of vacationing Americans head to their nearest beach destination for surf and sun this summer, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is urging beachgoers to be mindful of the many beach-nesting birds that will be tending to their nests and newly hatched young.
“Young birds have a tough go of things during their early days, so they really need our help. They face being trampled by unaware beachgoers, run over by motorized vehicles, or killed by predators. Even people simply getting too close can cause nest abandonment,” said Kacy Ray, Gulf Conservation Program Manager for ABC’s Gulf Beach-Nesting Bird Conservation Program.
“The best thing for beachgoers to do is to avoid getting close to areas where larger congregations of birds are gathered, and to always respect areas that are roped off or marked with signs designating an area that is used by nesting birds,” said Ray. “The habitat for these birds is diminishing every year Continue reading