Thursday, June 28, 2012

Volunteers needed at Milford Point and Sandy/Morse Points on July 3

We are looking for volunteers to assist the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in monitoring beaches on the evening and night of July 3. This is the night of the fireworks displays in both West Haven and Stratford. Since the Stratford fireworks are set off near Short Beach, this means a great deal of traffic comes on Milford beaches surrounding Milford Point. The Coastal Center at Milford Point will be closed from Tuesday, July 3 at 4:00 pm until Thursday, July 5 at 7 a.m. to all foot and vehicle traffic, but many people still take to the beaches and general area. West Haven's display will create a lot of traffic on Sandy/Morse Points.

Essentially we are seeking monitors to keep an eye on our birds and talk to any beachgoers who may not realize the importance of providing a little room for the nesting species on this active evening. We will have seasonal and full-time staff posted at both of these locations at the same time. CT DEEP staff will also be present all along the coast, and police officers will be patrolling both locations. However, the more eyes the better in these large areas! We really need all the help we can get considering the number of people that will be on the beaches. This is a stressful night for Piping Plovers, Least Terns, American Oystercatchers, and Common Terns, and anything we can do to ensure their safety is vital to their overall success for the season.

If you can make it to Sandy/Morse Points or the Milford Point area on July 3, in the early evening before sunset or after dark during the display, we would love to have you join us. Please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com to tell us you will be there or if you have any questions.

Thank you so much for the consideration and all your efforts this successful season! We hope to see you then.


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Piping Plovers growing older

While there are still some re-nesting Piping Plovers across our state, much of Connecticut has chicks. Some of the earliest nesting pairs, that had eggs in April, now have chicks starting to resemble their parents. After hatching in May these birds grew quickly and are to the point now that they can be called fledglings, having gained the ability to fly (mostly!) and become independent from mom and dad.

Steve Spector sent us this nice photo of a couple young ones from East Broadway in Milford.


They were 34 days old when this was taken. They and one more sibling have made it through the busy beach season in the area thanks to volunteers like the Spectors monitoring them, speaking to visitors and providing those interested with our brochures on Piping Plovers. Beachgoers and residents of their "home" beach have been very helpful as well, watching out for the birds whenever possible and giving them the room they need to thrive.

It is certainly possible to successfully share the beach with Piping Plovers even when large numbers of people are on it simply by taking a few precautions, allowing the birds some space, and following the existing ordinances of the municipality. With that said, none of this would be possible without the dedication of all of our amazing volunteers, so thank you again for your service. We hope there will be many more chicks turning into juveniles in our final two months of monitoring.


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds update #15

This is the fifteenth update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2012 season. It includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern, and Common Tern received from 12:00 p.m. on June 18 through 12:00 p.m. on June 25 with sightings of birds spanning June 18 through June 24 by our staff and volunteers.

Informational updates:

Thank you all for nonstop surveys and monitoring, especially as the summer heats up. We ask that you bear in mind that temperatures over 90 can be both dangerous to you and the birds, so if you could avoid the hottest days that would be best. It is always OK to miss some time if the weather does not cooperate. Also, keep an eye out for thunderstorms, as they will be encountered more frequently from now through July and August. Remember, if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning and should vacate the beach immediately.

As we enter July, many more people will be at the beach in the summer sun and with children out of school. Independence Day and the weekends surrounding it will be a busy beach time if the weather is warm and sunny as it should be for at least this upcoming weekend. If you could spare any time to monitor then and on July 4 we would greatly appreciate it. This can be for however long and outside of your scheduled monitoring – whatever works for you works for us. Our staff will be out and on the beaches nearly 24/7 during the week surrounding the holiday.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover

Volunteer and staff surveys:
6 pairs, 10 chicks at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/18
5 pairs, 1 adult, 7 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/18
1 adult, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/18
4 pairs, 3 adults, 6 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/18
2 pairs, 4 adults, 4 chicks at Bluff Point on 6/18
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/19
2 pairs, 8 adults, 9 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/19
3 pairs, 6 chicks at Long Beach on 6/19
4 pairs, 2 adults, 5 chicks, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/19
3 pairs, 9 adults, 8 chicks at Milford Point on 6/19
2 adults, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/19
2 adults, 6 chicks at Long Beach on 6/19
3 pairs, 8 adults, 9 chicks, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/20
11 adults, 5 chicks at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/20
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/21
15 adults, 3 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/22
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/22
4 pairs, 7 adults, 8 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/22
4 pairs, 3 adults, 6 chicks, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/22
2 pairs, 5 adults, 3 chicks at Long Beach on 6/22
7 pairs, 2 adults, 3 chicks, 1 nest at Griswold Point on 6/23
2 pairs, 1 adult, 6 chicks, 1 nest at Long Beach on 6/23
1 pair, 2 adults, 2 chicks, 2 nests at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/23
3 pairs, 5 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/23
5 pairs, 8 adults, 1 chick at Bluff Point on 6/23
6 adults, 9 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/24
5 pairs, 3 adults, 12 chicks, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 6/24

American Oystercatcher
Volunteer and staff surveys:
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/18
2 pairs, 6 adults, 2 nests at Milford Point on 6/18
1 adult at Barn Island on 6/18
1 adult at Mystic Islands on 6/18
1 pair, 5 adults at Bluff Point on 6/18
1 pair, 1 adult at Griswold Point on 6/18
2 pairs at Milford Point on 6/18
2 pairs, 2 nests at Milford Point on 6/19
1 pair, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/19
1 pair at Chopps Island on 6/19
9 pairs, 1 adult at Cockenoe Island on 6/19
1 pair at Betts Island on 6/19
1 adult at Long Beach Sand Spit (Norwalk Islands) on 6/19
1 pair at Sheffield Island on 6/19
2 adults at Grassy Island on 6/19
1 pair at Shea Island on 6/19
3 pairs, 5 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/20
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/20
1 pair at Long Beach on 6/21
2 pairs, 1 adult, 2 nests at Milford Point on 6/21
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/21
1 pair, 4 adults, 1 chick at Bluff Point on 6/21
2 pairs, 3 adults, 2 nests at Milford Point on 6/22
2 pairs, 3 adults, 2 nests at Milford Point on 6/22
1 pair, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/22
1 adult at Branford Harbor on 6/22
1 pair, 1 adult, 1 nest at Menunketesuck Island on 6/22
1 pair at Salt Island on 6/22
1 adult at Long Beach on 6/23
2 pairs, 2 nests at Milford Point on 6/23
1 pair at Great Captain's Island on 6/23
1 pair, 1 adult at Bluff Point on 6/23
2 pairs, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/24
1 pair, 1 chick at Bluff Point on 6/24

Least Tern
Volunteer and staff surveys:
20 adults at Long Beach on 6/18
152-202 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/18
6 adults at Milford Point on 6/19
22 adults at Long Beach on 6/19
4 adults at East Broadway Milford on 6/19
3 pairs, 25 adults, 5 nests at Long Beach on 6/19
25 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/20
50 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/20
3 adults at Milford Point on 6/22
1 adult at Milford Point on 6/22
2 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 6/22
150-200 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/22
10 adults at Long Beach on 6/23
50-60 adults at Griswold Point on 6/23
2 adults at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/23
45 adults at Bluff Point on 6/23
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 6/23
4 pairs, 20 adults at Long Beach on 6/24
4 adults at Stratford Point on 6/24
40+ adults at Bluff Point on 6/24

Common Tern
Volunteer and staff surveys:2 adults at Long Beach on 6/18
10 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/18
1 adult at Milford Point on 6/18
6 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 6/19
2 adults at East Broadway on 6/19
9 adults at Milford Point on 6/19
2 adults at East Broadway Milford on 6/19
1 pair at Long Beach on 6/19
27 adults at Stratford Point on 6/20
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/20
6 adults at East Broadway Milford on 6/21
17 adults at Milford Point on 6/22
3 adults at East Broadway Milford on 6/22
13 adults at Milford Point on 6/22
4 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 6/22
5 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/22
32 adults at Griswold Point on 6/23
3 adults at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/23
10 adults at Milford Point on 6/23
2 adults at Bluff Point on 6/23
2 pairs, 50 adults at Long Beach on 6/24
41 adults at Stratford Point on 6/24
2 adults at Bluff Point on 6/24
This concludes update #15 through 6/25/12 as of 4:00 p.m.


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Friday, June 22, 2012

American Oystercatcher/Common Tern joint nest update

Recently we told you about a Common Tern nest that had an American Oystercatcher egg in it out on Falkner Island. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had sent us the information and was monitoring the situation. You can see that blog entry by clicking here. The Common Tern female was incubating both her own three eggs plus the other Oystercatcher egg. We did not know what would come of the odd situation, but we have some answers now.

As of the last update from Wildlife Biologist Kristina Vagos, two of the three Common Tern eggs have hatched. Unfortunately, one of these chicks died, likely from ants. Most significantly, yes, the American Oystercatcher chick hatched! Here it is in the hand of one of their staff.



Having just occurred we do not yet know what will ultimately happen to it, but USFWS will keep us updated to see if the Common Tern mother raises this chick. Take a look at both chicks in another photo from USFWS.



Apparently this has happened before according to a note that Jeff Spendelow sent to Kris, with a Common Tern taking over an American Oystercatcher nest on Falkner in 1992. That egg never hatched, though. By the next update we should have an idea of whether or not mom will try to bring up the young Oystercatcher as one of her own...


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Extreme heat - safety first!

We wanted to remind all of you terrific monitors as well as our staff to put your safety first when it comes to being on the beach. This week's hazard will be extreme heat and poor air quality. Apart from the heat index nearing 105 as the temperature creeps to 95 or 100 in some areas, the entire Connecticut coastline has an air quality alert through Thursday. It is really not a good time to be outside at all in the next few days. We definitely want to keep an eye on our birds, but their safety is a consideration, too. We always ask everyone to be mindful of the birds in cold temperatures, but this magnitude of heat plus the sun on eggs or very young birds can be fatal. The less traffic we have out there the better so that the adults can tend to nests without being disturbed in the slightest. This goes for all of our birds - Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Least Terns, and Common Terns. Please feel free to disregard any surveys and take a well deserved rest.

Thank you all again for a stupendous job thus far in 2012. We have had a great deal of success because of your efforts, and we are certain it will continue through the end of August.


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds update #14

This is the fourteenth update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2012 season. It includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern, and Common Tern received from 12:00 p.m. on June 11 through 12:00 p.m. on June 18 with sightings of birds spanning June 11 through June 17 by our staff and volunteers.

Informational updates:

This past Thursday, June 14, Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds staff and volunteers assisted the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Wildlife Division in repairing fencing on Charles Island. The island is one of Connecticut's few nesting areas for state-threatened Snowy and Great Egrets, as well as Glossy Ibis and Black-crowned Night-Herons. You can see photos and more information about the work on our Facebook page by clicking here.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
Volunteer and staff surveys:
3 pairs, 7 adults, 8 chicks at Sandy/Morse Point on 6/11
4 pairs, 4 chicks, 1 nest at Long Beach on 6/11
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/11
4 pairs, 2 adults, 10 chicks, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/11
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/11
5 pairs, 2 adults, 5 chicks at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/12
6 pairs, 1 adult, 5 chicks, 1 nest at Griswold Point on 6/12
5 pairs, 1 adult, 6 chicks at Long Beach on 6/12
1 pair, 1 adult, 1 nest at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/12
3 pairs, 2 adults, 6 chicks at Bluff Point on 6/12
1 pair, 3 chicks at  East Broadway Milford on 6/12
6 pairs, 9 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/12
3 pairs, 2 adults, 7 chicks at Long Beach on 6/12
3 pairs, 2 chicks, 1 nest at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/12
4 adults, 5 chicks at Long Beach on 6/13
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/14
4 pairs, 2 adults, 10 chicks, 2 nests at Milford Point on 6/14
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/14
4 pairs, 2 adults, 9 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/14
1 pair, 7 adults, 5 chicks, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/14
1 pair, 4 adults, 8 chicks at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/15
2 pairs, 1 adult, 2 chicks, 2 nests at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/15
4 pairs, 1 adult, 14 chicks, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 6/15
3 pairs, 1 adult, 4 chicks at Long Beach on 6/16
2 chicks, 2 adults, 5 chicks at Long Beach on 6/16
14 adults, 4 chicks, 2 nests at Milford Point on 6/16
3 pairs, 1 adult, 3 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/17
4 pairs, 10 chicks at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/17
2 pairs, 6 adults, 4 chicks, 1 nest at Long Beach on 6/17

American Oystercatcher
Volunteer and staff surveys:
3 pairs at Sandy Point Stonington on 6/11
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/12
1 pair, 1 chick at Bluff Point on 6/12
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 6/12
2 pairs at Milford Point on 6/12
3 adults at Long Beach on 6/12
1 pair, 2 adults at Thimble Islands on 6/12
2 adults at Tuxis Island on 6/12
2 pairs at Menunketesuck Island on 6/12
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/13
2 pairs at Milford Point on 6/13
1 adult at Silver Sands State Park on 6/13
2 adults at Long Beach on 6/13
3 pairs at Milford Point on 6/14
1 pair at Milford Point on 6/14
1 adult at Charles Island on 6/14
3 pairs, 1 possible nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/14
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/15
1 pair, 1 chick at Bluff Point on 6/15
1 pair at Stratford Point on 6/16
1 adult at Long Beach on 6/16
1 pair at Pleasure Beach on 6/16
3 adults at Milford Point on 6/16
4 adults at Milford Point on 6/17
2 pairs, 1 chick at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/17
1 pair at Great Captain’s Island on 6/17

Least Tern 
Volunteer and staff surveys:
80-100 adults at Long Beach on 6/11
4 adults at Silver Sands SP on 6/11
152 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/11
20 adults, 39 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/12
44 adults at Bluff Point on 6/12
72 adults at Long Beach on 6/12
55 adults at Long Beach on 6/13
130 adults, 19+ nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/14
50 pairs, 50 nests Sandy/Morse Points on 6/15
40-50 adults, 17 nests at Bluff Point on 6/15
3 adults at Stratford Point on 6/16
12 adults at Long Beach on 6/16
1 pair, 3 adults, 1 nest at Long Beach on 6/16
200 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/17
11 adults at Long Beach on 6/17

Common Tern
Volunteer and staff surveys:
7 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/11
2 adults Sandy/Morse Points on 6/12
3 adults Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/12
7 adults Long Beach on 6/12
5 adults Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/12
1 pair, 2 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/14
3 pairs, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/17
1 adult at Great Captain’s Island on 6/17

Up to 13 Black Skimmers were seen in the mouth of the Housatonic River repeatedly in the past week, a higher than usual count than is typically expected, especially in June. They have been reported in several locations by observers in pairs as well, including frequent sightings at Silver Sands State Park.

This concludes update #14 through 6/18/12 as of 4:00 p.m.


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Helping CT DEEP fencing on Charles Island

This past Thursday, June 14, Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds staff and volunteers assisted the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Wildlife Division in repairing fencing on Charles Island. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was also on hand to help carry materials to the island with one of their boats. The island is one of Connecticut's few nesting areas for state-threatened Snowy and Great Egrets, as well as Glossy Ibis and Black-crowned Night-Herons. The entire island is closed to the public in the nesting season to protect the nesting birds. Much of the fencing was knocked down by Tropical Storm Irene and had to be replaced.

You can check out AAfCW on Facebook by clicking here for our main page and right here for photos and more information on this effort.

Along with reading our blog please visit it frequently!


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

American Oystercatcher/Common Tern joint nest

After looking at that title you probably have no idea what we are talking about. To begin this very strange tale, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist Kristina Vagos emailed us the below photo and information.


That is an American Oystercatcher egg on the left, the larger and more lightly colored one, and three Common Tern eggs, darker and smaller, on the right. She told us this was from a weird nest out on Falkner Island. The Common Tern female is actually still incubating this nest! Another American Oystercatcher egg was found nearby, though it had cracked. No one is sure what is going to happen with this nest but USFWS staff is watching it closely. There is a pair of American Oystercatcher on the Island this year, though no one has found a nest of their own.

This has definitely not happened to them before on Falkner Island, but it goes to show you how unpredictable monitoring these coastal waterbirds can be. We will keep you updated on how this turns out.


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds update #13

This is the thirteenth update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2012 season. It includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern, and Common Tern received from 2:00 p.m. on June 4 through 12:00 p.m. on June 11 with sightings of birds spanning June 4 through June 10 by our staff and volunteers.

Informational updates:

We created some simple identification badges for Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds staff and volunteers. If anyone would like to have one they can be picked up from the Coastal Center at Milford Point, or we can make more specific arrangements to allow you to pick them up from somewhere closer to where you live. We may even be able to pass them on to you in the field. They are not necessary but we thought it could be helpful to have yet another way to identify yourselves to people on the beach. If any volunteers run into problems accessing their beach (without a car sticker for the town they are monitoring, being asked to pay a fee to enter the beach, etc.) please let us know and we will help you out as soon as possible.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
Volunteer and staff surveys:
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/4
4 pairs, 4 adults, 13 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/4
6 pairs, 10 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/5
2 pairs, 1 adult, 2 chicks, 1 nest at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/5
2 pairs, 5 adults, 7 chicks, 1 nest at Griswold Point on 6/5
8 adults, 3 chicks at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/5
2 pairs, 1 adult, 5 chicks, 3 nests at Long Beach on 6/5
1 pair, 4 adults, 2 chicks, 3 nests at Long Beach on 6/5
3 pairs, 6 adults, 3 chicks, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/5
2 pairs, 7 adults, 9 chicks, 1 nest at Griswold Point on 6/5
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/6
2 pairs, 1 adult, 6 chicks, 3 nests at Long/Pleasure Beach on 6/6
6 pairs, 10 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/6
4 pairs, 2 adults, 7 chicks, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 6/6
1 pair, 1 adult at Waterford Beach on 6/6
1 pair, 1 adult, 2 chicks, 1 nest at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/6
4 pairs, 13 chicks, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 6/7
3 pairs, 2 chicks, 1 nest at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/7
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/7
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/7
2 pairs, 4 adults, 8 chicks at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/7
6 pairs, 10 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/7
2 pairs, 3 adults, 6 chicks, 1 nest at Long Beach on 6/8
6 pairs, 10 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 6/8
4 pairs, 1 adult, 5 chicks at Long Beach on 6/9
3 pairs, 4 adults, 7 chicks at Milford Point on 6/9
1 pair, 2 adults, 3 nests at Long Beach on 6/10

American Oystercatcher
Volunteer and staff surveys:
1 adult at Barn Island on 6/4
1 pair, 2 chicks at Bluff Point on 6/4
4 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/4
3 pairs, 2 nest at Milford Point on 6/4
1 pair at New Haven Harbor on 6/4
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/4
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/5
2 pairs at Milford Point on 6/5
9 pairs, 5 chicks at Cockenoe Island on 6/5
1 pair, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/5
1 adult at Long Beach on 6/5
1 pair at Pleasure Beach on 6/5
1 adult at Long Beach on 6/5
2 pairs, 2 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/5
1 adult at Fayerweather Island on 6/5
3 pairs, 1 adult at Chimon Island on 6/6
1 pair at Long Beach Sandspit Norwalk on 6/6
2 pairs at Betts Island on 6/6
2 pairs at Cockenoe Island on 6/6
1 pair at Long Beach on 6/6
2 pairs at Milford Point on 6/6
1 pair, 3 adults at Bluff Point on 6/6
1 pair at Calf Islands on 6/7
1 adult at Great Captain's Island on 6/7
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/7
2 pairs at Bluff Point on 6/7
2 pairs, 4 adults at Milford Point on 6/7
2 pairs at Milford Point on 6/8
2 pairs at Menunketesuck Island on 6/8
1 pair at Stratford Point on 6/9
1 adult at Long Beach on 6/9
2 pairs at Milford Point on 6/9

Least Tern 
Volunteer and staff surveys:
34 pairs, 32+ nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/4
139 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/4
2 pairs at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/5
30 adults, 13 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/5
104 adults at Long Beach on 6/5
76 adults at Long Beach on 6/5
70 adults, 7 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/5
40-60 adults at Griswold Point on 6/5
20-30 adults at Bluff Point on 6/6
20 adults, 15 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/7
34-44 adults, 17-22 nests at Bluff Point on 6/7
2 pairs at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/7
2 pairs, 51 adults at Long Beach on 6/8
44 adults at Long Beach on 6/8
74 adults at Long Beach on 6/8

Common Tern
Volunteer and staff surveys:
5 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/4
1 adult, 1 nest submerged by tide at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/4
5 adults at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/5
1 adult at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/6
3 adults at Harkness Memorial State Park on 6/7
1 adult at Stratford Point on 6/7
55 adults at Stratford Point on 6/9
2 adults at Long Beach on 6/10


This concludes update #13 through 6/11/12 as of 4:00 p.m.


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Piping Plovers growing up

Steve Spector sent us the following photo one of the three Piping Plover chicks from East Broadway in Milford. It is around two weeks old and serves as a preview of what some of the other hatchlings and current eggs will look like.


It is a little more than just a ball of fluff now, growing longer and taller, gaining that Piping Plover shape. They grow up so fast...

Our thanks to Steve for his constant monitoring and the shot.


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Griswold Point Piping Plovers

Valerie Bannister sent us a couple of wonderful photos from Griswold Point we wanted to share. Take a look at how cool the adult looks set against the beautiful scenery and see if you can try to find the hatchling!



OK, so that hatchling may not be very tough to find for our eyes, but people and predators alike may have quite the difficult time were it to step back on to the sand and crouch down in a depression. Our thanks to Valerie for her photos and her survey efforts, and all of yours as well! We always appreciate a good story and some beautiful shots, so please feel free to send us either.


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Higher than high tides

As you are already aware we are now at some of the highest tide cycles we will face in the season. It is a critical time for Least Terns as they have nests all over the state. Piping Plovers were largely able to escape too many tidal washouts, but those who had to re-nest due to predation or who abandoned for some other reason have experienced some more destroyed nests.

Tides are one of those factors beyond our control - mostly. Climate change and sea rise mean these events will only happen on a more frequent basis. The way we mold our beaches and shorelines to fit our needs, often modifying them beyond what has been naturally sculpted, also sometimes makes them more susceptible to high lunar tides and storm tidal surges.

Check out this unfortunately timed Coastal Flood Advisory from the National Weather Service with tides that should come in far above already sizable projections:


Coastal Flood Advisory
COASTAL HAZARD MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
445 AM EDT TUE JUN 5 2012

...LOCALLY MINOR COASTAL FLOODING THIS MORNING...
...WIDESPREAD MINOR TO LOCALLY MODERATE COASTAL FLOODING EXPECTED
TONIGHT...

CTZ009-010-NYZ071-073-078-176-177-052030-
/O.NEW.KOKX.CF.Y.0009.120606T0300Z-120606T0700Z/
/O.NEW.KOKX.CF.S.0010.120605T0845Z-120605T1800Z/
SOUTHERN FAIRFIELD-SOUTHERN NEW HAVEN-SOUTHERN WESTCHESTER-BRONX-
NORTHWESTERN SUFFOLK-NORTHERN QUEENS-NORTHERN NASSAU-
445 AM EDT TUE JUN 5 2012

...COASTAL FLOOD ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 11 PM THIS EVENING TO
3 AM EDT WEDNESDAY...

* LOCATIONS...ALONG THE SHORELINE OF WESTERN LONG ISLAND SOUND.
* TIDAL DEPARTURES...AROUND 1 1/2 FT ABOVE ASTRONOMICAL TIDES.
* TIMING...LOCALLY MINOR COASTAL FLOODING IS EXPECTED IN THE MOST
  VULNERABLE LOCATIONS DURING THE TIMES OF HIGH TIDE THIS
  MORNING...BUT WIDESPREAD MINOR TO LOCALLY MODERATE COASTAL
  FLOODING IS EXPECTED ALONG VULNERABLE LOCATIONS DURING THE TIMES
  HIGH TIDE TONIGHT.
* IMPACTS...MAINLY MINOR ROADWAY FLOODING AND MINOR OVERLAND
  INUNDATION IS EXPECTED IN VULNERABLE AREAS TONIGHT. LOCALIZED
  AREAS MAY SEE ROADS BECOME IMPASSABLE AND MODERATE OVERLAND
  INUNDATION.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A COASTAL FLOOD ADVISORY INDICATES THAT ONSHORE WINDS AND TIDES
WILL COMBINE TO GENERATE FLOODING OF LOW AREAS ALONG THE SHORE.
&&
...WESTERN L.I. SOUND WATER LEVELS FOR TONIGHT...

COASTAL............TIME OF......FORECAST TOTAL.....FLOOD.....
LOCATION...........HIGH TIDE.....WATER LEVEL.......CATEGORY..
...................................(MLLW)....................
KINGS POINT NY......1257 AM.........10.7...........MINOR.....
GLEN COVE NY.........104 AM.........10.6...........MINOR.....
STAMFORD CT.........1258 AM.........10.6...........MINOR.....
BRIDGEPORT CT.......1255 AM.........10.0...........MINOR.....
NEW HAVEN CT........1250 AM..........9.2...........MODERATE..


Keep your fingers crossed!


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds update #12

This is the twelfth update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2012 season. It includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern, and Common Tern received from 12:00 p.m. on May 29 through 2:00 p.m. on June 4 with sightings of birds spanning May 29 through June 4 by our staff and volunteers.

Informational updates:

We have reached some of the highest tides of the season. Piping Plover nests at Long Beach and Milford Point were hit by them on the weekend. There have not been reports of Least Tern nests being washed out, though this only may be a matter of not receiving the information yet. Many were rather high on the beach from what we have seen in some areas because of the extensive habitat created by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene, so while some were probably lost it seems (in theory) likely that many are still safe. Tides are also unfortunately higher than predicted, sometimes by even a foot or more, because of the easterly and northeasterly flow we have experienced often in the last few days.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
Volunteer and staff surveys:
2 pairs, 1 adult, 5 chicks, 2 nests at Harkness Memorial State Park on 5/29
6 pairs, 2 adults, 11 chicks, 3 nests at Griswold Point on 5/29
4 pairs, 2 adults, 11 chicks, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/29
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 5/29
3 pairs, 3 adults, 6 chicks, 2 nests at Long Beach on 5/29
2 pairs, 7 adults, 1 chick, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/29
6 pairs, 12 chicks, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/30
4 pairs, 1 adult, 4 chicks, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/30
6 pairs, 2 adults, 10 chicks, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 5/30
1 pair, 3 adults, 5 chicks, 1 nest at Harkness Memorial State Park on 5/30
3 pairs, 6 adults, 4 chicks, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/30
12 adults, 2 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/30
6 pairs, 1 adult, 13 chicks, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 5/31
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 5/31
1 pair, 3 adults, 5 chicks, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/31
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 5/31
2 pairs, 2 adults, 4 chicks, 3 nests at Milford Point on 5/31
1 pair, 2 adults, 2 chicks at Long Beach on 5/31
3 pairs, 6 chicks, 1 nest at Harkness Memorial State Park on 5/31
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/1
2 pairs, 1 adult, 6 chicks, 3 nests at Long Beach on 6/1
1 adult at Pleasure Beach on 6/1
2 pairs, 7 chicks at Milford Point on 6/1
3 pairs, 5 adults, 8 chicks, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 6/1
4 pairs, 8 adults, 9 chicks at Milford Point on 6/1
3 pairs, 9 adults, 4 chicks at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/1
5 pairs, 1 adult, 13 chicks at Milford Point on 6/2
2 pairs, 2 adults, 7 chicks, 1 nest at Long Beach on 6/2
3 pairs, 2 adults, 4 chicks at Long Beach on 6/2
3 adults, 9 chicks at Milford Point on 6/2
1 pair, 16 adults, 5 chicks, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/3
8 adults, 6 chicks at Griswold Point on 6/3
1 pair, 3 chicks at East Broadway Milford on 6/4
6 pairs, 3 adults, 6 chicks, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/4

American Oystercatcher
Volunteer and staff surveys:
1 pair at Griswold Point on 5/29
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/29
1 adult, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/29
1 pair, 2 chicks, at Bluff Point on 5/30
3 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/30
3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/30
1 adult at North Brother on 5/31
2 adults at Griswold Island on 5/31
1 pair, 4 adults, 2 chicks, 1 nest at Bluff Point/Pine Island on 5/31
1 pair, 2 chicks at Bluff Point on 5/31
2 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/31
2 pairs at Milford Point on 5/31
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/31
1 pair, 2 chicks at Bluff Point on 6/1
1 pair at Stratford Point on 6/2
2 pairs at Milford Point on 6/2
1 pair at Long Beach on 6/2
2 pairs at Milford Point on 6/2
1 pair, 4 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/3
1 adult at Griswold Point on 6/3
1 pair at Stratford Point on 6/3

Least Tern 
Volunteer and staff surveys:
1 pair at Harkness Memorial State Park on 5/29
50-60 adults at Griswold Point on 5/29
72 adults at Long Beach on 5/29
24-30 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/29
32 adults at Bluff Point on 5/30
25 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/30
40-60 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/30
50 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/30
30-35 adults, 5-8 nests at Bluff Point on 5/31
24-30 adults, 6 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/31
1 pair at Milford Point on 5/31
96 adults at Long Beach on 5/31
1 adult at Pleasure Beach on 5/31
86 adults at Long Beach on 6/1
1 adult at Pleasure Beach on 6/1
35 adults, most on nests at Bluff Point on 6/1
6 adults at Milford Point on 6/2
41 adults at Long Beach on 6/2
82 adults at Long Beach on 6/2
60 adults, 25+ nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/3
36 adults at Griswold Point on 6/3

Common Tern
Volunteer and staff surveys:
20 adults at Griswold Point on 5/29
4 adults at Milford Point on 5/29
2 adults at Silver Sands on 5/30
2 adults at Bluff Point on 5/30
4 adults at Milford Point on 5/30
16-20 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/30
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/30
1 adult at Bluff Point on 6/1
14 adults at Stratford Point on 6/2
6 adults at Milford Point on 6/2
4 adults at Long Beach on 6/2
1 pair, 13 adults, 1 possible nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 6/3
19 adults at Stratford Point on 6/3


This concludes update #12 through 6/4/12 as of 4:00 p.m.


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Amazing American Oystercatcher photos

Timothy L. Thompson provided us with yet more enthralling photos, this time focused on American Oystercatchers and their chicks at Bluff Point. The most awesome are those interacting with the Piping Plover and Least Tern, whoa! The Piping Plover is often pushed out of breeding areas in surrounding states by the American Oystercatcher, though here in Connecticut we have not faced that problem. They interact at places like Bluff Point and Milford Point, though the squabbles end relatively quickly and nesting continues for both.

Timothy adds  "I dedicate these pictures to all the hard working folks who have helped these and all our wonderful birds propagate and thrive. Enjoy!!"












Much thanks again to him!


Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.