PIPL

PIPL

Monday, May 22, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #7

This is the seventh weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern, and Common Tern through 4:00 p.m. on May 22 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since the previous update on May 15.

Informational updates:

Please exercise caution when deciding if you should go out to monitor during this upcoming week with frequent rain, cool temperatures, and perhaps some windy days. This is a very critical time period with many nesting pairs of Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers - and some renesting after tidal washouts or other nest failures - and we never want to add to the distractions or disturbances they face during inclement conditions when beaches will be relatively devoid of visitors.

However, next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and the weather should return to sunny skies and seasonable temperatures. The holiday will mean busier beaches with a lot more traffic, especially if the forecast holds. Many visitors, including some from out of state, will not know about our birds or why they're important and need to be educated on what is happening on the beach. If you have any extra time to monitor outside of your usual shifts please try to visit any of our beaches next Saturday, Sunday and Monday during this nesting time at the unofficial beginning of summer. Even a quick stop for some education or a scan of the beach can be helpful, and you do not need to schedule it in advance.

Sandy/Morse Points parking passes have been received in the mail by some of our monitors and staff, so if you submitted your vehicle information directly to AAfCW when asked, you can expect to hopefully see yours in the mail from West Haven soon. As always thank you so much for all of your efforts!

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/15
1 pair, 1 nest at East Broadway/Shell Ave on 5/15
1 pair, 1 nest at Sherwood Island State Park on 5/15
1 pair, 4 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
9 pairs, 1 adult, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/15
5 pairs, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/15
1 pair, 6 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
1 pair, 6 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 6 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/16
6 pairs, 5 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/16
1 pair, 7 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/16
5 adults at Long Beach on 5/17
8 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
4 pairs, 2 nests at Hammonasset on 5/17
2 pairs, 6 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/17
4 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/17
10 adults at Milford Point on 5/17
2 pairs, 8 adults, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/18
3 pairs, 3 adults at Sandy/Morse on 5/18
3 pairs, 6 adults, 6 nests at Long Beach on 5/18
1 pair at Waterford Town Beach on 5/18
1 pair, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/19
4 pairs, 3 nests at Bluff Point on 5/19
1 pair at Short Beach on 5/19
5 pairs, 5 nests at Milford Point on 5/19
2 pairs, 6 adults at Bluff Point on 5/19
10 pairs, 2 nests Milford Point on 5/20
1 pair, 1 nest at East Broadway on 5/20
5 pairs, 3 adults, 3 nests at Milford Point on 5/20
5 adults, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
10 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/21
2 pairs, 3 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
6 pairs, 6 nests at Long Beach on 5/21
1 pair, 2 adults, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
4 pairs, 10 adults, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
19 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/21

American Oystercatcher

1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/15
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/15
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/16
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Griswold Island on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/17   
1 adult at Short Beach on 5/17
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/17
3 pairs, 4 adults, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/17
3 pairs at Milford Point on 5/17
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/17 
2 pairs, 2 nests at Hammonasset on 5/17
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/17
2 pairs, 7 adults, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/18
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/18
2 pairs at Ocean Beach Park on 5/18
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/18
1 pair, 1 adult at Branford Harbor Channel Marker on 5/18
1 pair, 3 hatchlings at Green Island on 5/18
1 pair, 3 hatchlings at Umbrella Island on 5/18
2 pairs, 1 nest at Kelsey Island on 5/18
5 pairs, 2 hatchlings at Menunketesuck Island on 5/18
1 pair, 4 adults, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/19
4 adults at Short Beach on 5/19
1 pair at Lewis Island, Thimbles on 5/19
1 pair, 3 hatchlings at Thimble Island # 18 on 5/19
1 pair, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/19
1 pair at Horse Island, Thimbles on 5/19
1 pair at Hen Island, Thimbles on 5/19
3 pairs, 4 hatchlings, 1 nest at Falkners Island on 5/19
1 pair at Bluff Point on 5/19
3 pairs, 2 adults, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/20
1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
3 pairs at Milford Point on 5/20
1 adult, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/21
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
2 pairs at Silver Sands State Park on 5/21
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/21
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/21
3 pairs, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/21

Least Tern
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
20 adults at Long Beach on 5/15
4 pairs, 25 adults at Long Beach on 5/15
1 adult at Pleasure Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 12 adults at Long Beach on 5/16
2 adults at Mouth of 4 Mile River on 5/16
20 adults at Long Beach on 5/16
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
6 pairs, 2 adults at Milford Point on 5/17
8 adults at Long Beach on 5/17
11 adults at Hammonasset on 5/18
35 adults at Milford Point on 5/18
1 pair, 6 adults at Long Beach on 5/18
2 adults at East Broadway/Shell Ave, Milford on 5/18
1 pair at Pleasure Beach on 5/19
4 adults at Bluff Point on 5/19
3 adults at Milford Point on 5/20
1 pair, 8 adults at Long Beach on 5/21
1 pair, 4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
3 pairs at Milford Point on 5/21
10 pairs, 55 adults at Long Beach on 5/21

Common Tern
2 adults at Compo Beach on 5/15
1 adult at Pleasure Beach on 5/16
4 adults at Long Beach on 5/16
2 pairs, 8 adults at Long Beach on 5/17
1 adult at Milford Point on 5/17
2 adults at Short Beach on 5/17
1 pair, 1 adult at Sherwood Island State Park on 5/17
4 adults at Milford Point on 5/17
7 adults at Hammonasset on 5/17
2 adults at Milford Point on 5/18
4 pairs at Umbrella Island on 5/18
5 pairs at Green Island on 5/18
3 adults at Kelsey Island on 5/18
2 adults at Bluff Point on 5/19
2 adults at Short Beach on 5/19
2 adults at Milford Point on 5/19
9 adults at Thimble Islands on 5/19
2 adults at Sasco Hill Beach on 5/20
2 adults at Milford Point on 5/20
5 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
3 adults at Milford Point on 5/21

This concludes update #7 through 5/22/17 as of 5:30 p.m.

Monday, May 15, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #6

This is the sixth weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern, and Common Tern through 1:00 p.m. on May 15 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since the previous update on May 8.

Informational updates:

We are continuing to discover and exclose Piping Plover nests. These exclosures are very effective against mammalian and avian predators, and serve as a terrific teachable moment while on the beach and speaking with visitors. Please keep in mind that if you see an exclosed nest that it has four eggs and is complete, and we do not need to know any details about the eggs or to have a close look at the adults. Their safety and incubation is most important. You may find nests that are not attended to immediately because we want the birds to complete it before being exclosed. American Oystercatcher nests do not get exclosed, and they are working on nesting in many areas after a lot of frequent washouts as our weather has been uncooperative thus far this spring.

If you have to cancel your monitoring due to the weather there is no need to make it up, and that would be strictly optional. Additionally, there is no need to worry about a minimum hours per month. Please remember whether it is a marked bird, a disturbance of note that however does not reach "take" status, a new nest, and other significant information, please email CT DEEP (Laura.Saucier@ct.gov and Rebecca.Foster@ct.gov) and AAfCW directly about it with all the information you can as soon as possible.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/8
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 5/8
9 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/8
1 pair, 2 adults, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/8
5 pairs, 4 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/9
5 pairs, 1 adult, 4 nests at Milford Point on 5/9
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 5/9
5 pairs, 1 adult, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/9
10 pairs, 1 adult, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/9
1 pair at Short Beach on 5/9
5 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/9
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 5/9
2 adults, 2 nests at Long Beach on 5/10
11 adults, 6 nests at Long Beach on 5/10
1 pair, 5 adults, 6 nests at Long Beach on 5/10
2 pairs, 7 adults, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/10
11 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/10
3 pairs, 4 adults, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/10
2 pairs, 2 adults, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/11
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/11
7 pairs, 5 nests at Milford Point on 5/11
8 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/11
1 pair, 5 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/12
2 pairs, 3 adults, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 5/12
5 pairs, 4 adults, 6 nests at Long Beach on 5/12
1 pair, 2 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/12

American Oystercatcher
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/8
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/8
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/8
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/9
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/9
3 pairs at Milford Point on 5/9
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/9
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/9
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/10
5 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
4 pairs at Milford Point on 5/10
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/10
2 pairs, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/10
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/11
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/11
3 pairs at Milford Point on 5/11
1 pair, 1 adult, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/12
3 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/12
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/12

Least Tern
4 adults at Cedar Beach on 5/8
1 pair, 1 adult at Long Beach on 5/8
2 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/8
10 adults at East Broadway Milford on 5/8
3 adults at Short Beach on 5/8
14 adults at Long Beach on 5/9
4 adults at East Broadway Milford on 5/9
7 adults at Long Beach on 5/9
8 adults at Long Beach on 5/9
3 adults at Short Beach on 5/9
2 adults at East Broadway Milford on 5/9
14 adults at Milford Point on 5/9
15 adults at Milford Point on 5/10
10 adults at Milford Point on 5/11
15 adults at Long Beach on 5/12

Common Tern
12 Common Terns at Long Beach on 5/10
1 adult at Bluff Point on 5/10
2 adults at Bluff Point on 5/12

This concludes update #6 through 5/15/17 as of 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

A Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there! We wanted to give a special mention to our soon to be Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher mothers, and especially to our dear friend pink-flagged 5E who is still doing well with her mate. Here she was in the middle of having some snacks on a recent afternoon.


We also ask that everyone keeps them in mind when visiting the beach on these holiday weekends. With Memorial Day and the unofficial start to summer coming up soon we have to always remember to share the shore with our avian pals, with positive education leading the way in our successful conservation efforts thanks to our intrepid volunteers and super staff...not to mention the great parenting by moms like her!

Monday, May 8, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #5

This is the fifth weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, and Least Tern through 1:00 p.m. on May 8 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since the previous update on May 1.

Informational updates:

We had some surveys canceled in the last week because of the weather, and this may continue with chilly mornings, windy days, and rain. Please do not hesitate to cancel if the conditions are not conducive - you are helping to protect the birds and there will likely be fewer beachgoers at your location as well. Flushing birds off nests at this time of year can be deadly to the eggs, and nests may not all be exclosed immediately, so please be mindful of where you walk and stay near the water as much as you can.

Between widespread Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher nests plus the arrival of Least and Common Terns there is a lot to look at out there! However, we always want to observe the birds with binoculars and spotting scopes from a distance, never entering fenced areas even if we are trying to help. Photos can be taken but at such a distance that the bird pays us no mind (e.g. running away or a broken wing display are not good!), and we do not require them if you are a monitor or a volunteer. It is often best to leave the birds be as much as possible and hold the photography until after nesting has ended in the late summer. Walking out and lingering on a thin and soon to be busier nesting bar, for example, can be very disruptive even if we are monitoring.

This is a delicate balance, but considering we have set all-time success records repeatedly during the past several years of our work in AAfCW, we know our volunteers are the best and our methods seem to be working well. Thank you all so much!

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
2 pairs, 4 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/1
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/1
4 pairs, 5 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/1
1 pair at Shell Avenue Milford on 5/1
10 pairs, 5 nests at Long Beach on 5/1
4 pairs, 3 nests at Milford Point on 5/1
1 pair at Hammonasset, Cedar Island on 5/1
1 pair, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/2
4 pairs, 3 nests at Milford Point on 5/2
5 pairs, 1 adult, 3 nests at Long Beach on 5/2
6 pairs, 1 adult at Milford Point on 5/2
3 pairs, 3 adults, 3 nests at Long Beach on 5/2
3 pairs, 2 adults, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 5/3
11 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/3
2 pairs, 6 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/4
2 pairs, 2 nests at Harkness Memorial State Park on 5/4
4 pairs, 2 adults, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/4
1 pair, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/4
10 pairs, 7 nests at Milford Point on 5/4
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/4
4 adults, 3 nests at Long Beach on 5/4
14 adults, 3 nests at Milford Point on 5/4
4 pairs, 5 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/4
5 pairs, 8 adults, 2 nests at Griswold Point on 5/4
4 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/7
6 pairs, 1 adult, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/7
6 pairs, 3 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
1 pair, 6 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
2 pairs, 2 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7

American Oystercatcher

2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/1
1 pair, 2 adults at Shell Ave/East Broadway on 5/1
1 pair at Hammonasset, Cedar Island on 5/1
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/2
1 pair, 1 adult at Long Beach on 5/2
4 pairs, 1 adult at Milford Point on 5/2
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/2
2 pairs, 1 adult, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/3
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/3
2 pairs, 1 nest at Fish Islands on 5/3
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/4
1 pair, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/4
1 pair at Grass Island on 5/4
3 pairs, 3 nests at Falkners Island on 5/4
3 adults at Short Beach on 5/4
1 adult at Pleasure Beach on 5/4
3 pairs, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/4
3 pairs, 3 adults, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/4
5 adults at Griswold Point on 5/4
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/4
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
1 pair, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7

Least Tern
2 adults at Milford Point on 5/2
2 adults at Hammonasset on 5/3
2 adults at Short Beach on 5/4
4 adults at Milford Point on 5/4
1 adult at Griswold Point on 5/4
8 adults at Milford Point on 5/4
5 adults at Long Beach on 5/7
6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7

This concludes update #5 through 5/8/17 as of 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Piping Plover Protection

I wanted to speak more about sharing the shore today, especially when it comes to our Piping Plovers. These little shorebirds have a lot to say about how you can help them, their nests, and their young stay safe all spring and summer, and it is very easy, too!



We all know that we should clean up after ourselves and leave nothing but footprints on the beach, preferably at or below the tidal line and away from nesting areas higher in the dune. Flushing birds off nests at this time of year can be deadly to the eggs, and nests may not all be exclosed immediately, so please be mindful of where you walk. Our dogs do have to stay at home, and they are not permitted on Connecticut beaches. We realize they are sweet family members, but the birds see them as vicious predators no matter their demeanor. We always want to observe the birds with binoculars and spotting scopes from a distance, never entering fenced areas even if we are trying to help. Photos can be taken but at such a distance that the bird pays us no mind (e.g. running away or a broken wing display are not good!), and we do not require them if you are a monitor or a volunteer. It is often best to leave the birds be as much as possible and hold the photography until after nesting has ended in the late summer, and to go birding in other locations during the most critical time in places where we can end up unintentionally intruding. Walking out on a tern nesting bar, for example, can be very disruptive.

Please keep in mind we have a formal monitoring system in place that is overseen by our regulatory agencies, and if you would like to volunteer with us at the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds to help the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in monitoring Piping Plovers, terrific! Email ctwaterbirds@gmail.com to register, undergo training, and sign-up for a schedule at one of our public beaches. We have to be very careful not to hug the birds too tightly, going to a beach frequently or allowing ourselves to become a distraction or disturbance to the very same birds we are trying to protect. This is a delicate balance, but considering we have set all-time success records repeatedly during the past several years of our work in AAfCW, we know our volunteers are the best and our methods seem to be working well. Thank you all for your efforts and your passion for our avian neighbors.

Scott Kruitbosch
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator
RTPI Conservation & Outreach Coordinator