Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 AAfCW Totals

I thought it would be a terrific time to update everyone on our Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher numbers for 2016 as we near the end of our year. Audubon Connecticut and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History are proud to be partners for the upcoming Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds' (AAfCW) sixth season in 2017, and over the past few years we have had a number of tremendous success stories. Our incredible 2014 season included an all-time record high number of fledged Piping Plovers for Connecticut with 116 birds aided by our volunteers, partners and staff. Results from the phenomenal 2015 season indicated we had the second highest number of fledged chicks ever at 112, right behind our own 2014 record. We also set the all-time record number of breeding pairs of Piping Plovers for the state in 2015 at 62, but this was broken in 2016 with 63 pairs!


Piping Plovers can be found feeding near the tidal line and nesting right above it, a sometimes precarious position for eggs and young

These birds produced 87 fledged chicks for a productivity rate of 1.38 chicks per pair, well above the federal recovery goal of 1.2 chicks per pair. High tide events, storms, predators and unfortunate human incidents all led to a decline in fledged chicks from the previous two seasons, but it was nevertheless the fourth highest total ever for our state.

A resting migrant Piping Plover

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is still finalizing the official numbers for Least Terns nesting in 2016. However, we have completed our report for the American Oystercatcher, and it is yet more great news as a record high number of 63 pairs nested in Connecticut in 2016. These birds produced 53 fledglings for a productivity rate of .84 chicks per pair, the second highest total of chicks fledged and the second highest productivity rate ever recorded in the state. Our daily work to protect breeding areas, from the beaches to remote offshore islands, is undoubtedly behind this increase in nesting attempts and success.

American Oystercatcher nesting pair by RTPI President Twan Leenders

We would like to thank our hundreds of volunteers for putting in approximately 4,000 volunteer hours as tallied through only the first three quarters of 2016! None of this work could be done without these dedicated citizen scientists. Remember that our efforts extend through the end of the year as we survey for birds such as the Black-bellied Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Killdeer, Ruddy Turnstone, lingering egrets, herons and more that spend the winter with us.

Audubon Connecticut and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History are looking forward to what will be a very busy and extremely important 2017 field season – starting in less than three months – after Hurricane Matthew tore through the Bahamas and the wintering grounds of many Piping Plovers. Hundreds or more may have perished, and we may have fewer pairs returning to us, making our stewardship and outreach efforts all the more important for those that have survived and will depend on Connecticut to recover from these losses. As always, if you have questions about the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds or wish to volunteer, please email us at ctwaterbirds ‘AT’ gmail.com or contact me directly via skruitbosch ‘AT’ rtpi.org.

Scott Kruitbosch
RTPI Conservation & Outreach Coordinator
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sandy Point Cleanup

Want to help Piping Plovers? Consider helping out this Saturday from 9a-12p at a coastal clean-up at Sandy Point and other locations in West Haven. A clean site prevents predators, attracted by food and litter, from becoming accustomed to visiting Sandy Point, one of the most important nesting locations in the state for Piping Plover. More info can be found at: http://www.newhavenbirdclub.org/calendar/ 
 
Thank you for your help!!!


Monday, August 29, 2016

AAfCW 2016 Volunteer Update #23

This is the twenty-third weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2016 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern and Common Tern from August 22 through 11:00 a.m. on August 29 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff.

Informational updates:

This is the final regular weekly update for the 2016 season. If you have yet to submit any data please do so as soon as possible. We thank you all once again for the tremendous and invaluable work you have done all spring and summer long. We will email numbers on bird totals for the season later in the autumn/winter once they are finalized by CT DEEP.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
1 juvenile at Silver Sands State Park on 8/23
1 adult, 1 fledgling at Long Beach on 8/23
1 adult/fledgling at Long Beach on 8/23
1 fledgling at Long Beach on 8/24
1 juvenile at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/24
1 fledgling at Long Beach on 8/24
1 juvenile at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/25
1 juvenile at Silver Sands State Park on 8/25
2 adults/juveniles at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/26

American Oystercatcher
2 adults, 1 juvenile at Mouth of Oyster River, West Haven/Milford (Baybrook Beach) on 8/22
49 adults at Short Beach on 8/23
1 adult at Long Beach on 8/24
4 adults at Milford Point on 8/24
1 adult at Long Beach on 8/24
35 adults at Milford Point on 8/25
2 adults at Griswold Point on 8/25
1 adult, 1 juvenile at Bluff Point on 8/25

Least Tern
15 adults/juveniles at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/24
4 adults/juveniles at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/25

Common Tern
500 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/22
125 adults at Short Beach on 8/23
3 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 8/23
5 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/23
50 adults/juveniles at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/24
150 adults/juveniles at Milford Point on 8/25
150 adults/juveniles at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/26
38 adults/juveniles at Sasco Hill Beach on 8/28

This concludes update #23 through 08/29/16 as of 12:00 p.m.

Monday, August 22, 2016

AAfCW 2016 Volunteer Update #22

This is the twenty-second weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2016 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern and Common Tern from August 15 through 2:00 p.m. on August 22 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff.

Informational updates:

Tomorrow should be a gorgeous day after a night of strong avian migration, and it is our final string fencing removal date with CT DEEP. The Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds would appreciate any volunteers who could help us out at:

Long Beach in Stratford - Tuesday, August 23rd at 10:30 a.m. We will meet at the west end of the parking area, and the lot attendant will be notified that volunteers will be coming through to assist with plover work.

Assisting not only helps AAfCW but it also greatly aids those at CT DEEP who have extremely limited time. It also limits the stress on young, feeding and migrant birds. Please remember that taking down fencing in August 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

In general we look for everyone we can to help out even if you are not a past monitor or volunteer - the more the merrier. It also makes for a more pleasant morning of bird watching and discussions on the beach. Come enjoy the birds there, at adjacent Stratford Great Meadows, or nearby Short Beach/Stratford Point with us before or after the fencing party. Please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you can join us at Long Beach, and thank you!

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
3 juveniles at Bluff Point on 8/15
3 juveniles at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/15
1 adult, 2 fledglings at Hammonasset on 8/16
1 adult, 1 fledgling at Long Beach on 8/16
7 adults at Long Beach on 8/17
4 fledglings at Milford Point on 8/18
6 adults, 1 fledgling at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/18
1 adult, 2 fledglings at Hammonasset on 8/19
2 fledglings at Milford Point on 8/19
1 adult, 1 fledgling at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/20

American Oystercatcher
5 pairs, 1 adult, 2 fledglings, 4 juveniles at Menunketesuck Island on 8/15
40 adults at Short Beach on 8/16
1 pair, 1 juvenile at Hammonasset on 8/16
1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/17
35 adults at Milford Point on 8/18
1 pair, 1 juvenile at Compo Beach on 8/18
7 pairs, 30 adults, 4 juveniles at Cockenoe Island on 8/18
1 pair, 1 juvenile at Goose Island on 8/18
37 adults at Milford Point on 8/19
1 pair, 1 juvenile at Hammonasset on 8/19
1 pair, 1 adult at Hammonasset on 8/21

Least Tern
9 adults, 2 fledglings, 8 juveniles at Menunketesuck Island on 8/15
11 adults at Long Beach on 8/17
3 adults at Milford Point on 8/19

Common Tern
25 adults at Hammonasset on 8/16
300 adults/juveniles at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/17
20 adults/juveniles at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/18
200 adults/juveniles at Milford Point on 8/18
11 adults at Cockenoe Island on 8/18
51 adults at Goose Island on 8/18
152 adults at Sheep Rocks on 8/18
100 adults/juveniles at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/20

This concludes update #22 through 08/22/16 as of 4:00 p.m.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Long Beach Fencing Removal 8/23

Next week is our final string fencing removal date with CT DEEP. The Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds would appreciate any volunteers who could help us out at:

Long Beach in Stratford - Tuesday, August 23rd at 10:30 a.m. We will meet at the west end of the parking area, and the lot attendant will be notified that volunteers will be coming through to assist with plover work. The rain date is Thursday, August 25th at 10:30 a.m.

Assisting not only helps AAfCW but it also greatly aids those at CT DEEP who have extremely limited time. It also limits the stress on young, feeding and migrant birds. Please remember that taking down fencing in August 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

In general we look for everyone we can to help out even if you are not a past monitor or volunteer - the more the merrier. It also makes for a more pleasant morning of bird watching and discussions on the beach. Please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you can join us at Long Beach, and thank you!