Last week we had another taste of winter as snowfall covered Connecticut to historic depths in some areas. Even coastal locations were not spared and while we did not receive any more reports of Piping Plovers since the first sighting of the year at Long Beach in Stratford on March 5, it is likely a few individuals were running over snow-covered beaches. Following that complex system we had a beautiful surge of spring-like warmth that put temperatures well into the 50s. Such weather comes from a strong southerly flow transporting this warmer air to New England.
What else comes with such a flow in place? Returning migrant birds! While it is early in the season that type of weather only helps the birds that want to come back to Connecticut. The sunshine and calm conditions otherwise are also very appealing to birds during what is the most perilous part of their adult life, and many likely decided to push north during the past few days. There have been a couple more reports of sightings of American Oystercatchers, still all in the western half of the state. We would expect them to be spotted in the east this week. Piping Plovers should be found in multiple areas by next weekend. If anyone is out on the coast on this lovely Monday they stand a good chance of seeing one.
Groups of other wintering shorebirds are growing as they begin to stage before a larger movement. Dunlin, Sanderling, and Black-bellied Plover may be found with greater frequency and at higher numbers throughout the month. Please let us know if you see any sightings of interest, whether it is one of our focal species or a cool group of shorebirds you would like to share before we enter the season for International Shorebird Surveys.
Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the
Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal
waterbirds in Connecticut.