Monday, April 24, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #3

This is the third weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher through 2:00 p.m. on April 24 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since the previous update on April 17.

Informational updates:

Identification badges are currently being received by monitors if you signed up at training. For those who did not your forms will be ready soon and then you can submit them to CT DEEP at which time they will mail you a badge. Please see the PDF "2017 Piping Plover Monitoring Program" in the right-hand column of this blog as a refresher if you were at training and as required reading for those who were not. It includes a program overview, how to be a good witness, various contact information, dog laws, and more. The second PDF to note is a CT DEEP volunteer time form that you can fill out and return to DEEP at the end of our season in August if you are a registered monitor.

Our beaches are filling up with birds and nests are beginning to be discovered now. 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.

Both Least and Common Terns begin returning to Connecticut usually right around May 1, so do not expect to see any for another week or more. Remember, if the temperature is below 50, it is raining, or it is especially windy, you should stay home on these stressful days for the birds.

Survey and monitoring updates:


Piping Plover
2 pairs, 2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
3 pairs, 1 adult at Long Beach on 4/17
4 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
8 pairs at Milford Point on 4/17
1 pair at Pleasure Beach on 4/18
3 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 4/18
5 pairs, 6 adults at Milford Point on 4/18
7 pairs at Long Beach on 4/18
1 pair, 1 adult at Long Beach on 4/18
2 pairs, 3 adults at Long Beach on 4/18
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/19
6 pairs at Hammonasset on 4/20
6 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
2 adult at Long Beach on 4/20
4 pairs, 2 adults at Milford Point on 4/20
5 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
3 pairs, 2 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
1 pair at Short Beach on 4/22
1 pair at Short Beach on 4/22
1 adult at Greenwich Point Park on 4/22
2 pairs at Long Beach on 4/22
1 pair, 4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/22
3 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 4/22
6 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 4/23
1 pair at East Ave, West Haven on 4/23
1 pair, 7 adults at Long Beach on 4/23
1 pair, 8 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/23

American Oystercatcher

2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/18
1 pair, 1 adult at Long Beach on 4/18
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/18
1 pair at Pleasure Beach on 4/18
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 4/18
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/18
2 adults at Compo Beach on 4/18
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/18
1 pair, 1 nest at Lewis Island, Thimbles on 4/18
1 pair at Governor Island, Thimbles on 4/18
1 pair at Island # 18, Thimbles on 4/18
1 pair, 1 adult at Grass Island on 4/19
1 pair at Chaffinch Island on 4/20
1 pair, 1 adult at Horse Island, Joshua Cove on 4/20
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
1 pair at Hammonasset on 4/20
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/20
1 pair at Short Beach on 4/21
1 adult at Greenwich Point Park on 4/22
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/22
1 adult at Greenwich Point Park on 4/23
3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/23
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 4/23
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/23
3 pairs, 1 adult, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/23

This concludes update #3 through 4/24/17 as of 5:30 p.m.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Clean Our Shores

As our waterbirds season enters the nesting period here on the Connecticut coast we ask that when you visit a beach you please keep in mind the same ideals that you do whenever you are immersed elsewhere in nature - leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories. We successfully share the shore with the various endangered nesting species, such as this Piping Plover, each year without closing off entire beaches for months as some other states do. Our work, and the health and success of our birds, is helped greatly by beachgoers taking their trash home with them. It reduces the number of predators attracted to the beach and the threat of garbage directly injuring or killing birds. Our volunteer monitors and staff remove many bags of trash every week. If you can clean up a few pieces of garbage - safely and outside of string fenced areas - that may have been left by someone else or have washed up onshore, then we will love you all the more! Pass it on and protect our plovers...and thank you!


Scott Kruitbosch
RTPI Conservation & Outreach Coordinator
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator

Monday, April 17, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #2

This is the second weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher through 1:00 p.m. on April 17 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since the previous update on April 10.

Informational updates:

Thank you all very much for your help with spring fencing dates. CT DEEP and AAfCW staff will continue to finish up fencing and signing a few more beaches, and all will be set for the soon to be nesting birds. If your beach does not have any Piping Plovers or American Oystercatchers yet then you can keep monitoring for now to see if any do show up. If in the next few weeks we still not do have any then switching to a busier beach would be best. However, please do submit "negative" data from any monitoring you conduct where you find none of our focal birds. The importance of this is outlined in detail here in our blog: http://ctwaterbirds.blogspot.com/2017/04/submit-negative-data.html

Identification badges are currently being distributed by CT DEEP and are going out to be mailed tomorrow. Paperwork for those who did not get a chance to sign up at training in March will be ready later this week and sent via email as well as posted publicly in our blog. When you submit this information DEEP will mail you a badge.

Once again please remember to provide your license plate and mailing address by email to ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you are going to monitor at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven and do not have a resident sticker. We will be submitting the list to the City soon! If you do not submit your information you will have to acquire and pay for a sticker directly from West Haven.

There are a few banded and flagged Piping Plovers at our beaches, and more could still be found. 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.

Both Least and Common Terns begin returning to Connecticut usually right around May 1, so do not expect to see any for a couple of weeks. Please keep monitoring as usual during conducive weather, and we should have mostly great days to be at the beach this week.

Survey and monitoring updates:


Piping Plover
3 pairs, 3 adults at Bluff Point on 4/10
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/10
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/10
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/11
4 pairs at Milford Point on 4/11
5 pairs, 3 adults at Long Beach on 4/11
3 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 4/12
4 pairs, 5 adults at Long Beach on 4/12
3 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
3 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
5 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/13
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/13
5 pairs at Bluff Point on 4/14
2 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 4/14
1 pair, 7 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/14
7 pairs, 4 adults at Milford Point on 4/14
1 adult at Long Beach on 4/14
1 pair at East Broadway, Milford on 4/14
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/15
3 pairs, 6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/15

American Oystercatcher
1 pair at Bluff Point on 4/10
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/10
4 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/10
1 pair at Hammonasset on 4/10
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/11
1 pair, 1 adult at Long Beach on 4/11
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/11
3 pairs, 1 adult at Milford Point on 4/11
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
1 adult at Silver Sands State Park on 4/12
4 pairs at Milford Point on 4/12
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/13
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/13
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/14
1 adult at Bluff Point on 4/14
2 pairs, 2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/14
2 pairs at Milford Point on 4/14
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/15
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/15
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/15

This concludes update #2 through 4/17/17 as of 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Submit Negative Data

Please remember that we want to hear from you at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com after every trip you take to your beach during volunteer monitoring. Even when you make a visit to the shore and do not see any Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Least Terns or Common Terns - or any other notable waterbirds - we need this "negative data". Knowing about a lack of birds is just as important as an abundance of birds.

Negative data is important to us in several ways. It lets us know that you were there on the beach at your scheduled time and that birds were simply not there instead us thinking you may have had to miss your monitoring that day and wondering what was or was not present. We can still learn from you about any disturbances and human activities on the beach even if there are no birds to report. We will target our field staff to sites more appropriately with a more complete picture of what is or is not going on. We can also add to historic data from past years - for example, if a given beach now has no Piping Plovers during the entire 2017 season and this is the third year in a row after decades of the species breeding there then we will know with even more certainty that there is a problem that needs to be addressed at that site.

Please remember this throughout the season and send us a report each time after you monitor. While we would much rather read a wonderful account of so many of our species being recorded by all of you we still need to receive monitoring data even when no birds are found whatsoever. That negative data goes a long way in helping us understand, protect and help Connecticut's coastal waterbirds.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Fencing Completed at Pleasure Beach

While we have a few public string fencing and signage dates - including at Bluff Point State Park in Groton on Thursday, April 13 at 10:00am which all are welcome to attend and help with - we also have our staff hard at work doing the same at other locations. Today we completed Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport, getting it all set for the birds that we were fortunate to find already there.




 
This male Piping Plover was with his mate on the western end of Pleasure Beach, and hopefully we will have a pair nesting there once again this spring. They looked as if they were making the spot their home, and while we only saw them foraging along the water we noted plenty of tracks in the dune. 
 




Three American Oystercatchers, two males competing for one female, were also very vocal and seen throughout our time on the beach. We are hopeful our Bridgeport WildLife Guards will have plenty to watch at Pleasure Beach later this summer, and that you visit us all in a few months!