Friday, November 3, 2017

Share waterbird checklists please!

We wanted to take a moment to ask that folks please share any eBird checklists that include shorebirds, terns, herons or egrets with the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com whenever you can. We have requested this help in previous years, and please keep them coming in 2017!

There is a button on eBird to "share checklist with others in my party", and if click that and paste in ctwaterbirds@gmail.com you can easily do so with applicable checklists. Even old checklists can be sent if you have any from earlier in the year. This helps us record the staging and nesting areas for these birds - those that we do not monitor every pair in CT as we do for Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers - and also helps us track volunteer hours for folks who are recording shorebird activity. Please be sure to estimate your time spent in the field in your reports to help track level of effort.

Thanks so much!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Volunteers Needed for Milford Point Beach Cleanup on November 9th

The Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, the City of Milford, the Friends of the Stewart B. McKinney Refuge, the Connecticut Audubon Society and the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds are collaborating to conduct a beach cleanup at Milford (a.k.a. Smith's) Point on Thursday, November 9th. Volunteers are needed to help remove trash and marine debris from the beach and collect it in bags and piles so it may be easily removed by trailer. Participants will meet at 10am at the CT Audubon Coastal Center, 1 Milford Point Rd., Milford, 06460. Gloves, trash bags and other essential will be provided, however it is advisable to bring your own water and bagged lunch. Email shaun_roche@fws to sign up.

Shaun Roche
Visitor Services Manager
Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge

Friday, September 29, 2017

2017 AAfCW Preliminary PIPL/AMOY numbers

We wanted to pass along some preliminary estimates for our Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers from the very successful 2017 season. At the moment we believe 66 pairs of Piping Plovers fledged 100 chicks, with the pair total being the most all-time for Connecticut and the chicks the fourth highest total ever. Widespread nest washouts and predators certainly had an impact on the fledge count, but being able to successfully host that many pairs is a tremendous accomplishment and speaks to your superb stewardship efforts.

American Oystercatchers did very well once again this season with 63 pairs fledging 63 chicks. Connecticut also had 63 pairs last year, and we have now tied that all-time high. The chick total is second all-time to the 2015 count of 64. Your participation in AAfCW helps them on our beaches as well as offshore islands that are not regularly monitored by volunteers because you allow our staff more time to concentrate on ensuring their success in these remote areas. Once again, these are the preliminary numbers, and later in the season CT DEEP will verify the totals and provide counts for other species such as the Least Tern. Thank you all so much for your incredible work this year!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Black Skimmer

Here's a different type of waterbird sighting in the form of the funky Black Skimmer. This uncommon species is even more scarce this late in the season, especially when found hanging out in a parking lot with a bunch of gulls.

The unique bird flies low over the water and opens that enormous bill to drag it under the surface to catch small fish. This young one may not be feeling as good as it should, though the bird still flies well and seems to be physically fit. We hope it heads south soon.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Pleasure Beach Fencing Removal

Audubon Alliance staff will be headed out to Pleasure Beach on Sept. 11th  to take down the string fencing that protected nesting plovers this summer.  We will catch the water taxi at 10am from the dock at the intersection of Central and Seaview Ave. in Bridgeport and expect to be on the island for 2-3 hours.  If you haven't yet been to Pleasure Beach, here is your chance to visit this unique stretch of shoreline.

As has been mentioned previously, taking down fencing can be physically demanding because of the potential heat and humidity, and those who join us should remember a few things:
-wear sunscreen and a hat
-drink plenty of water or sports drink and bring a snack
-do not attempt to carry too many stakes as there will be enough volunteers and staff members so that no one should overexert themselves
-anyone who needs to limit physical exertion should stick to winding up string rolls
-take as many breaks as needed

Please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you can join us, and thank you!