In this blog post yesterday I speculated that the return of the Piping Plover to Connecticut would take place this week if enough observers were in the field as birds had already hit Long Island. Sure enough this morning master monitor and expert birder Charlie Barnard spotted the first bird of the season at Long Beach in Stratford! March 5 is a heck of an early date to see one in our state. Charlie said that the bird was feeding in the mudflats on the marsh side of Long Beach in section 2. It did not have any bands. Charlie went the extra mile for us and looked up Piping Plover dates in Connecticut Birds by Zeranski and Baptist. He found the earliest arrival date for the species that they listed was February 27, 1982. Given the book was published over 20 years ago there may be an earlier date, but none of us can recall one immediately. Thanks Charlie for the great find and reporting it back to us!
This week's weather is very much up in the air as there is disagreement among numerical computer models and meteorologists about an impending winter storm system. There stands a chance that this bird and others will be running around on a snowy beach. Piping Plovers as a species must be familiar enough with snow as returning in March leaves open the chance they will have to deal with it even into April. Tomorrow would be a great time to check out your own beaches to see if any birds are here before the coastal low comes by with at least a good deal of wave action and wind and potentially heavy precipitation.
Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.