We have now entered February, and there is no better time than now to take a trip to the beach where you monitor shorebirds and terns to see how it handled Hurricane Sandy. You are very likely to find a much different habitat in many cases. Sean Graesser, one of the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds technicians who did a fantastic job last year and continued working for Connecticut Audubon Society in the offseason, conducted a rapid damage assessment of several of our most important beaches in order to determine what changes had been made and what must be done, if anything, to repair the habitat for the birds. This work was funded by the Manomet Center for Conservation Services and a report was created that will help to move us forward in 2013.
You can see a great article in the New Haven Register about more of this right here: http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2013/01/27/news/shoreline/doc5105dd66ac36f628365213.txt
Additionally, you can find a ton of photos of these changed habitats in albums on our Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Audubon-Alliance-for-Coastal-Waterbirds/168520783251234?fref=ts
And if you would like to read even more see this piece discussing coastal waterbirds and some of Audubon Connecticut's work for the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds: http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Robert-Miller-The-Sound-and-its-birds-4224468.php
Next month we will have American Oystercatchers and Piping Plovers returning to Connecticut's shoreline. However, some of the more unusual winter sightings have been an American Oystercatcher here or there in December and January! The species has been spotted rarely by birders in Stratford and Milford with some reports of multiple birds. A warmer than usual winter along with a lack of snowfall probably helped keep them here just as the rare White Ibis remained in Stratford along with a bunch of Great Egrets. These birds have not been seen much as of late when the frigid polar air mass moved in to the region in the latter half of January, and some may have sought refuge further to our south. Even in typical years the American Oystercatcher is often seen in February - see if you can find one when you go check out your beach.
Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.