PIPL

PIPL

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

AAfCW 2018 Volunteer Update #3

This is the third regular weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2018 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern and Common Tern from May 14 through 8:00pm on May 21 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning the period.

Informational updates:

Our weather continues to be up and down but our birds are nesting successfully in many locations. Please keep monitoring as usual and submitting your data and information as soon as you can. 

This upcoming weekend is Memorial Day, and if the weather continues to be warm and sunny the holiday will mean busier beaches with a lot more traffic. 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. Thank you very much!

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
5 pairs, 2 nests at Long Beach on 5/14
4 pairs, 4 adults, 3 nests at Bluff Point on 5/14
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/15
7 pairs, 3 adults, 2 nests at Long Beach on 5/15
1 pair, 1 nest at Short Beach on 5/15
7 pairs, 3 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/15
13 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/16
1 pair, 1 adult at Silver Sands State Park on 5/16
7 pairs, 5 nests at Milford Point on 5/16
1 adult, 1 nest at Short Beach on 5/16
6 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
2 pairs, 4 adults, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
5 adults, 5 nests at Milford Point on 5/17
3 pairs, 4 adults, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 5/18
1 pair, 6 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/18
2 pairs, 1 nest at Silver Sands State Park on 5/18
5 pairs, 1 adult, 5 nests at Milford Point on 5/19
2 pairs, 1 adult, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
6 pairs, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
5 pairs, 5 nests at Hammonasset State Park on 5/20

American Oystercatcher
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/14
2 pairs, 2 adults, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 5/14
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/15
2 pairs, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/15
8 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/16
3 pairs, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/16
2 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
6 pairs, 1 adult, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/17
1 pair, 1 adult, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 5/18
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/18
2 pairs, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/19
1 pair, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
2 pairs, 1 adult, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
2 pairs, 1 adult, 1 nest at Hammonasset State Park on 5/20

Least Tern
2 pairs at Long Beach on 5/14
8 adults at Bluff Point on 5/14
14 adults at Long Beach on 5/15
12 adults at Long Beach on 5/15
1 adult at Milford Point on 5/17
2 adults at Bluff Point on 5/18
2 adults at Long Beach on 5/18
1 pair, 8 adults at Milford Point on 5/19
3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
3 pairs, 5 adults at Hammonasset State Park on 5/20

Common Tern
9 adults at Long Beach on 5/14
6 adults at Long Beach on 5/15
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/15
2 adults at Milford Point on 5/19
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
17 adults at Hammonasset State Park on 5/20

This concludes update #3 through 5/22/18 as of 2:00 a.m.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Wet Weather Continues

We have not been in the field for much time this spring despite the fact we have hundreds of monitors who have joined us for the 2018 season. Wet weather continues to hammer Connecticut on a regular basis, keeping everyone indoors and away from the shore. On the plus side this allows our birds to go about nesting with fewer disturbances of all kinds. However, cool temperatures, rain, and a lot of high tides make it difficult to protect eggs. The photos below of a soaking wet Piping Plover were taken from a beach parking lot during a quick check of the area, not while walking the beach monitoring.



Remember that we ask monitors to stay home if the temperature is below 50 degrees or above 90 degrees, if it is very windy, or if it is raining. It can be helpful for our staff to keep an eye on things even while in their vehicles - spotting dogs down the beach, kite boarding/parasailing entering string fenced areas, verifying fencing and signage have not been knocked down by the tides, and so forth. Good luck to our birds during this critical period!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Sharing Our Shores

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.

We all share the same space

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.

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. Please keep in mind we have a formal monitoring system in place that is overseen by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Wildlife Division. 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

Monday, May 14, 2018

AAfCW 2018 Volunteer Update #2

This is the second regular weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2018 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern and Common Tern from April 30 through 8:00pm on May 13 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning the period.

Informational updates:

This coming Friday, May 18th, Audubon Connecticut, in partnership with the Menunkatuck Audubon Society, the West River Watershed Restoration Committee, and the City of West Haven, will be hosting a volunteer habitat restoration event (removing invasive plants, picking up trash, and hopefully planting some native plants) at Sandy Point around the viewing platform from 5-7pm. Staff will be ordering pizza (arriving at ~6:30pm) as a thank you to the volunteers. RSVP to Bird Conservation Programs Associate Genevieve Nuttall at gnuttall@audubon.org. The event will be canceled if there is heavy rain, but will go forward with drizzle or showers, so please RSVP!

We continue to find new nests regularly now that the weather has turned and our Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers have started breeding. Please remember to also report these nests directly to rsuzf@hotmail.com and Laura.Saucier@ct.gov. However, rain continues on a frequent basis, and please remember to stay home on inclement weather days.

Least and Common Terns have returned at their usual May date and are slowly trickling into the state. Expect to see a handful turn into larger groups soon. They will take some time to court before nesting, and it will be a couple weeks before we get to that point. Please report them in the same way you do our plovers and oystercatchers.

Reporting monitoring observations using the online data entry form is still the best method to submit your information. Please remember to email us directly at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you have any questions or run into any problems. Thank you all for all your hard work!

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
8 pairs, 3 adults at Long Beach on 5/1
10 adults, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/1
4 pairs, 1 adult at Milford Point on 5/1
9 pairs, 6 adults at Long Beach on 5/1
5 pairs, 3 adults at Bluff Point on 5/1
3 pairs, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/2
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/2
1 pair, 1 adult, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/2
6 adults at Milford Point on 5/2
6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/2
5 adults at Long Beach on 5/2
4 pairs, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/2
5 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/2
4 pairs, 3 adults at Long Beach on 5/3
1 pair, 4 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/3
2 pairs, 1 adult at Pleasure Beach on 5/3
3 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/4
5 pairs at Bluff Point on 5/4
5 pairs, 3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/5
1 pair at Griswold Point on 5/5
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/5
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/5
1 pair, 2 adults at Milford Point on 5/6
1 pair, 9 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/6
1 pair at Shell Avenue Milford on 5/7
5 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 5/7
2 pairs at Silver Sands State Park on 5/7
6 pairs, 3 adults at Long Beach on 5/8
2 pairs, 10 adults, 2 nests at Long Beach on 5/8
3 adults, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/8
6 adults at Milford Point on 5/8
5 pairs, 5 adults at Long Beach on 5/8
1 pair, 7 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/8
1 pair, 7 adults, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/9
8 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/9
4 pairs, 1 adult, 4 nests at Milford Point on 5/9
2 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/9
3 pairs, 5 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
2 pairs, 1 adult, 1 nest at Griswold Point on 5/10
5 pairs, 5 nests at Milford Point on 5/10
4 pairs at Sandy Point Island on 5/10
3 pairs, 2 adults, 3 nests at Bluff Point on 5/11
1 adult at Bluff Point on 5/11
2 pairs, 2 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/13
7 pairs, 3 adults at Long Beach on 5/13
4 pairs, 4 nests at Milford Point on 5/13

American Oystercatcher
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/1
3 pairs, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/1
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/1
2 adults, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/1
1 pair at Milford Point on 5/2
2 adults at Bluff Point on 5/2
1 pair, 1 nest at Salt Island on 5/2
1 pair, 1 adult at Long Beach on 5/2
6 pairs, 4 nests at Menunketesuck Island on 5/2
3 pairs, 1 nest at Duck Island on 5/2
3 pairs, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/2
2 pairs, 2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/2
5 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/2
2 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/3
1 pair at Compo Beach on 5/3
14 pairs, 9 nests at Cockenoe Island on 5/3
2 pairs, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/4
1 pair, 1 nest at Lewis Island on 5/4
1 pair, 1 nest at House Chimney Island on 5/4
1 adult at Governor Island on 5/4
1 pair at East Stooping Bush Island on 5/4
1 pair, 1 nest at Smith Island on 5/4
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/5
1 pair, 5 adults, 1 nest at Griswold Point on 5/5
3 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/5
2 pairs, 1 adult at Milford Point on 5/6
2 pairs, 1 adult, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/6
1 pair, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/6
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/7
1 adult at Sherwood Island State Park on 5/7
1 pair, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/8
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/8
6 adults at Milford Point on 5/8
1 pair, 2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/8
1 pair at Bluff Point on 5/9
7 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/9
2 pairs, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/9
1 pair, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/9
14 pairs, 11 nests at Sandy Point Island on 5/10
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
3 pairs, 1 adult, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/10
2 adults at Griswold Point on 5/10
1 pair, 1 adult, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/11
1 adult at Bluff Point on 5/11
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/13
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/13
4 pairs, 2 adults, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/13

Least Tern
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/1
1 adult at Milford Point on 5/6
2 adults at Shell Avenue Milford on 5/7
4 adults at Long Beach on 5/7
12 adults at Long Beach on 5/8
3 adults at Milford Point on 5/8
8 adults at Milford Point on 5/9
8 adults at Milford Point on 5/10
2 adults at Sandy Point Island on 5/10
10 adults at Griswold Point on 5/10
1 adult at Bluff Point on 5/11
3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/13
12 adults at Long Beach on 5/13
1 pair, 3 adults at Milford Point on 5/13

Common Tern
1 pair at Peck Ave. West Haven on 5/7
22 adults at Long Beach on 5/7
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/8
1 adult at Milford Point on 5/9
1 pair at Milford Point on 5/10
2 adults at Sandy Point Island on 5/10
20 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/13
12 adults at Long Beach on 5/13
1 adult at Milford Point on 5/13

This concludes update #2 through 5/14/18 as of 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Nesting Begins

Piping Plovers are finally getting down to nesting now that the weather has turned from what felt like winter to what seems like summer. Our monitored beaches are full of birds forming pairs. Monitors and staff have been noting courtship, copulation, nest scrapes, and now eggs. There are a couple things to keep in mind while walking the beach during this period.

It is always best to stay between the water and the high tide line in the wet sand. You will be able to see the Piping Plovers higher on the beach feeding along the wrack line or down at the water foraging at the shore without the chance of getting too close to a nest.





Many of our monitors help clean the beaches by picking up trash and taking it with them. This can be very helpful and kind, but please remember that we still do not want to endanger the birds while doing so. Please remain out of string fenced areas at all times, and to not approach the birds too closely. 


All of the photos here were taken with a 500mm lens and cropped from a full frame camera. You are welcome to photograph the Piping Plovers, but please keep in mind this should also be done from a distance while allowing them to behave as if you were not even there. Here's to another week full of new nests!

Scott Kruitbosch
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator
RTPI Conservation & Outreach Coordinator