Earlier this week Lucas Coe-Starr observed a Whimbrel at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven, and after passing on word of the cool bird, he sent us these photos he took as well.
Whimbrels are rare in Connecticut in spring, though they are seen enough to be labeled as uncommon at selected sites along the coast during fall migration. So far this season, apart from West Haven and New Haven sightings, we have observed them at Bluff Point and at the mouth of the Housatonic River in Milford and Stratford. Seeing more than one or two is also a rare sight, and for the most part this happens only because of a storm (such as after Tropical Storm Irene). Their long, curved bill and large lanky size makes them a distinctive sight even in flight at a considerable distance. They have a lengthy and loud rolling call that can also allow you to identify them from afar.
One exciting way to learn about Whimbrel movements, from staging areas to their incredible sustained flights for thousands of miles, is to follow the satellite-tracked birds from the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William & Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University. You can check it out on their website here: http://www.ccb-wm.org/programs/migration/Whimbrel/whimbrel.htm
If you navigate to the tracking maps section, you can view where past birds have been and where currently transmitting individuals are right now! Be warned, keep track of them is highly addictive and will make you want to go out and see some Whimbrels for yourself.
Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.