Monday, April 29, 2013

AAfCW 2013 Volunteer Update #5

This is the fifth weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2013 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher received from April 22 through 4:00 p.m. on April 29 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning that period.

Informational updates:

We have had a few more reports of Piping Plover nests but we are still experiencing a slower than usual beginning to the 2013 nesting season. American Oystercatchers are off to a decent start with nests in a few locations. Please continue to monitor beaches that have not had Piping Plovers or American Oystercatchers reported yet as they could appear any time through May and still attempt to nest. Additionally it is likely we will have reports of Common Tern and Least Tern for the first time this year in the upcoming week. The first Common Terns of 2013 in Connecticut were seen in Hammonasset State Park this weekend. Hurricane Sandy may have modified some beaches to favor terns in many areas while simultaneously damaging valuable habitat in other locations, and once again we are expecting the unexpected when it comes to their populations. Your observations, including negative data, will help us figure everything out and are tremendously valuable.

Survey and monitoring updates:


Piping Plover
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 4/23
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 4/24
2 pair at Long Beach on 4/24
3 pair at Milford Point on 4/24
1 pair, 1 adult, 1 nest at Milford Point on 4/24
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/24
3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/24
5 adults at Griswold Point on 4/24
2 pair at Bluff Point on 4/25
3 pairs, 4 adults at Milford Point on 4/25
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 4/25
3 pairs, 8 adults, 2 nests at Griswold Point on 4/26
1 pair, 1 adult at Bluff Point on 4/26
5 adults at Griswold Point on 4/26
2 pairs, 1 adult, 2 nests at Milford Point on 4/27
3 pairs, 4 adults at Bluff Point on 4/27
2 pairs, 1 adult, 2 nests at Milford Point on 4/28
3 adults at Griswold Point on 4/28
1 pair, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/28
1 pair, 2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/28

American Oystercatcher
5 pairs at Cockenoe Island on 4/24
3 adults at Goose Island on 4/24
1 pair at Milford Point on 4/24
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/24
1 pair at Griswold Point on 4/24
6 adults at Bluff Point on 4/25
2 pairs at Milford Point on 4/25
2 pairs, 1 adult at Menunketesuck Island on 4/26
1 pair at Salt Island on 4/26
1 pair, 1 adult at Bluff Point on 4/26
4 adult at Milford Point on 4/27
1 pair at Bluff Point on 4/27
1 pair at Milford Point on 4/28
3 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/28
3 pair, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/29
2 pair, 1 nest at Milford Point on 4/29
1 pair at Stratford Point on 4/29
2 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/29

This concludes update #5 through 4/29/13 as of 5:00 p.m.


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

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bridgeport WildLife Guards Habitat Restoration Event at Beardsley Park

Below is a post from Audubon Connecticut's Corrie Folsom-O'Keefe:

Bridgeport WildLife Guards invite you to participate in May 4th Habitat Restoration Event at Beardsley Park, Bridgeport

In November of 2012, the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds in partnership with the Student Conservation Association and the City of Bridgeport launched the WildLife Guards Program as a means of increasing awareness about beach nesting birds found at the City’s Pleasure Beach, amongst the local community.  At the heart of the program are the WildLife Guards, a team of Bridgeport high school students, who will be out on the beaches this summer monitoring bird species, such as the state threatened Piping Plover and Least Tern, and encouraging a “share the shore”  philosophy among beachgoers. 

 Karizma, Imanie, Natalie, Jamiya, and Amani

The WildLife Guards receive green job training and employment through the program.   Audubon provides lessons in bird identification and monitoring, general ecology and the history of Pleasure Beach, while training by the Student Conservation Association focuses on job readiness, including lessons in website design, online communication, and resume writing. 


The Guards in turn develop and present bird themed activities to elementary school students participating in Bridgeport’s Lighthouse Afterschool Program on a monthly basis.  Approximately 120 students at 6 schools are learning about the birds of Pleasure Beach through games, crafts, and other activities.  Just recently the students created signs featuring drawings of Piping Plovers, Least Terns, and American Oystercatchers that ask people visiting the beach to give the birds space while they are nesting.  Their artwork is now on display at Pleasure Beach, Long Beach and other beaches across the state.



The WildLife Guards have also participated in monthly conservation projects, including the habitat restoration work at Beardsley Zoo & Park, Stratford/Milford Christmas Bird Count, the Great Backyard Bird Count, and the Rock-to-Rock Earth Day Bike Ride.

On May 4th, 2013, in celebration of Earth Day, WildLifeGuards are looking for volunteers to come out to Beardsley Zoo & Park located on 1875 Noble Avenue in Bridgeport, CT to help make the conservation pond an exceptional habitat for the wildlife. The conservation pond is located right across from the duck feeding area at Bunnells Pond and provides habitat for birds, turtles, and other wildlife.  If you would like to volunteer to help clear invasive plants, please RSVP at our Facebook event page (www.facebook.com/BridgeportWildlifeGuards) or e-mail jamiyawildlifeguards@gmail.com by May 3rd, 2013.  The event will start at 10:30AM and end at 2:30PM. Park at the tennis courts on the east side of Noble Ave, and walk down the hill to the conservation pond.  Wear work boots and long denim pants, and please bring a water bottle.  Other supplies will be provided.  The event will take place rain or shine; a light lunch is included.  There will be a free raffle prize drawing for all and T-shirts for the first 60 volunteers.  This event is sponsored by the Student Conservation Association, the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, the City of Bridgeport, and the Beardsley Zoo.  We hope you can join us!

The WildLife Guards Program is sponsored by Audubon’s Toyota TogetherGreen program.


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

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Long Beach fencing party completed

A final successful public fencing party took place at Long Beach in Stratford last Friday. CT DEEP and AAfCW staffs thank everyone who took the time to come out on a cloudy cool, then warm, then cool again morning and afternoon. Your help got us through the longest stretch of beach we have very well as we successfully fenced off three sections and spent time looking for birds all the way to Pleasure Beach and assessed the changed habitat of the barrier beach.

After migratory peaks the numbers of Piping Plover at Long Beach have been fluctuating with some people seeing zero birds during monitoring visits and others finding a couple of pairs. On Friday we had only two males who were feeding on the mudflats of Great Meadows Marsh. Here's hoping that number goes up as the temperature does. Below are photos by Patrick Comins of the fencing operation.

The group getting instructions from Rebecca Foster of CT DEEP

What has to be hauled out

 Erica Morgan of CT DEEP in green along with Sean Graesser and Scott Kruitbosch at right

  Michael Brooks trailing some of our great volunteers
 
 Patrick Comins pushing way too much and red from the sun plus the hard work

Up the fencing goes

Thanks again to everyone who joined us at Long Beach or at the previous fencing parties! We will post other volunteer opportunities throughout the season from special work on offshore islands to fireworks coverage to fencing removal in August.


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

Monday, April 22, 2013

AAfCW 2013 Volunteer Update #4

This is the fourth weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2013 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher received from April 15 through 4:00 p.m. on April 22 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning that period.

Informational updates:

Thank you to all of the volunteers who joined us at Sandy/Morse Points and Long Beach for string fencing erection last week! Your assistance really helped move the process along and was greatly appreciated by everyone involved.

As we continue with unseasonably cold weather please keep in mind we only want to monitor and survey our birds during what is now nesting season when the temperature is above 50 and it is not raining. Cool and very windy days are also best to stay home on. The idea is that we do not want to add further stress to birds on eggs during conditions that could be fatal to them.

With that said we seem to be experiencing a slower than usual beginning to this nesting season. Many beaches still have birds that are trying to find a mate or territory with numbers that fluctuate depending on the survey time. We have received primarily observations of independent or small groups of adults. Beaches with no birds are still important to monitor right now and through at least mid-May so that we can be sure none arrive or attempt to nest there. Least and Common Terns will be arriving in Connecticut around May 1, and along with the American Oystercatcher, please remember these are birds we will want to be recording as well.

At beaches owned by their respective municipality, such as Long Beach in Stratford, please call the town or city's animal control department if you see dogs on the beach and are so inclined. Let us know the results of your attempts to contact the authorities there and we will record this information or speak directly to the municipality if needed.

Survey and monitoring updates:


Piping Plover
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/16
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/16
6 pairs at Milford Point on 4/16
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 4/16
3 pairs, 1 adult at Griswold Point on 4/16
8 adults at Bluff Point on 4/16
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
1 pair, 2 adults at Bluff Point on 4/17
1 adult at Sandy Point Stonington on 4/17
1 pair, 1 adult, 1 nest at Griswold Point on 4/17
3 pairs at Bluff Point on 4/17
4 pairs, 3 adults at Milford Point on 4/18
13 adults at Griswold Point on 4/19
2 adults at Long Beach on 4/19
3 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
2 adults at East Broadway Milford on 4/20
1 adult at Milford Point on 4/20
1 pair, 1 adult, 1 nest at Griswold Point on 4/20
1 pair, 8 adults at Bluff Point on 4/20
9 adults at Bluff Point on 4/21
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/21
1 pair, 2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/21
1 pair, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/22

American Oystercatcher

2 pairs at Falkner Island on 4/16
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/16
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/16
2 pairs, 3 adults at Milford Point on 4/16
4 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/16
1 pair at Griswold Point on 4/16
1 pair at Bluff Point on 4/16
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
4 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy Point Stonington on 4/17
3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
1 pair, 1 nest with 1 egg at Milford Point on 4/17
1 adult at Stratford Point on 4/20
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
3 adults at Milford Point on 4/20
2 pairs at Griswold Point on 4/20
2 adults at Bluff Point on 4/20
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/21
3 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/21
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/22

This concludes update #4 through 4/22/13 as of 5:00 p.m.


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

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sandy/Morse Points fencing is up

A big thank you to the handful of volunteers who were able to join us at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven on a gorgeous Wednesday morning as we assisted the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protecting in erecting string fencing for Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers and eventually hopefully many Least Terns and a few Common Terns. We were able to see a couple of pairs of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher. There were certainly two of each and probably three of Piping Plover. We also noted some cool migrants birds while we worked including three raptors - a Merlin, an American Kestrel, and a Broad-winged Hawk - heading up the beach and moving north during the cooperative flight conditions. Barn and Tree Swallows zipped around us and we saw groups of Double-crested Cormorant migrating, too.

Here are some photos from the day...


 Volunteers and staff head down the beach with stakes in hand

 Audubon Connecticut Director of Bird Conservation Patrick Comins on left handing off stakes to Connecticut Audubon Society Senior Director of Science and Conservation Milan Bull on right
 
 Fencing going up all the way out to the tip of Morse Point

Volunteers hard at work

Soon to be waterbird technician once again but for now volunteer Sean Graesser working the string

 Audubon Connecticut American Oystercatcher Coordinator Michael Brooks with CT DEEP's Erica Morgan

 CT DEEP's Rebecca Foster talking with volunteers and managing the operation

 American Oystercatchers!

 Love these signs done by Audubon Connecticut's Bridgeport Wildlife Guards with Bridgeport elementary school students as part of their Toyota Together Green funded project

 Just about done!

Piping Plover feeding between the points
 

Please help us if you can at Long Beach in Stratford on Friday, 4/19, at 10:30AM. We will meet in the parking lot and we will need all the help we can get on the extremely long barrier beach that is often filled with birds.

Thanks again to our volunteers!

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

Monday, April 15, 2013

AAfCW 2013 Volunteer Update #3

This is the third weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2013 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher received from April 8 through 4:00 p.m. on April 15 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning that period.

Informational updates:

We have received the string fencing dates for Long Beach in Stratford and Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven from CT DEEP. We would love to have as many volunteers join us as possible!

Sandy/Morse Points - Wednesday 17th 10:30am. Meet at the parking lot. Should take a couple of hours.  Rain date Thursday the 18th.
Long Beach - Friday 19th 10:30am. Meet at the parking lot. Not sure how long it will take. Rain date Monday 22nd.

Volunteers should bring work gloves, pocket knife/scissors for cutting string, mallet (if they have one), snacks/lunch, water, and sunblock. Depending on the weather, a wind breaker might be necessary – it can be surprisingly cold and windy on the beach in April. Plan for heavy lifting and toting, but be mindful of your safety. We do not want any injuries. If you have questions you can email Laura Saucer of CT DEEP (Laura.Saucier@ct.gov). All volunteers are welcome including those who are not monitors. Please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com to let us know you plan on going.

If you have yet to contact us or schedule monitoring please do as soon as possible! Keep in mind that Harkness Memorial State Park was removed from our list of monitoring sites so we will not be visiting or collecting data there through AAfCW. If you are out monitoring and not registered a 2013 monitor please email USFWS to get your identification for the season and help us get to 100 total official monitors in Connecticut!

The Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds is now on Twitter! Our username is AAfCW and you can find our page here: http://twitter.com/AAfCW

You do not need an account to view the webpage and read any tweets that we send out. You can visit it at that address like any other in your browser. You can also view the tweets in a box in the right-hand column of our blog. Why did we decide to start tweeting? Apart from it being another method to reach beachgoers, bird lovers, and conservationists in Connecticut we thought it would be a great method to give you "live" reports of what is happening in the field. When we receive or collect information we will tweet it out. This may be a report from a monitor who visited a beach, a staff member conducting surveys along the shoreline, or a request from CT DEEP or USFWS.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover

3 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/9
3 pairs, 1 adult at Long Beach on 4/10
5 pairs, 2 adults at Bluff Point on 4/10
2 pairs at Milford Point on 4/10
3 pairs, 3 adults at Milford Point on 4/10
2 adults at East Broadway Milford on 4/11
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 4/13
6 adults at Bluff Point on 4/13
1 pair, 3 adults at Bluff Point on 4/13
1 pair, 2 adults at Griswold Point on 4/14
5 pairs at Milford Point on 4/14
1 pair, 6 adults at Bluff Point on 4/14
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/14

American Oystercatcher
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/9
1 adult at Long Beach on 4/10
2 pairs, 1 adult at Milford Point on 4/10
2 pairs, 1 adult at Milford Point on 4/11
4 adults at Milford Point on 4/13
5 adults at Bluff Point on 4/13
2 pairs at Milford Point on 4/14
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/14
1 pair at Bluff Point on 4/14
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/14

This concludes update #3 through 4/15/13 as of 5:00 p.m.


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

Friday, April 12, 2013

Long Beach/Sandy Morse Points fencing dates

We have received the string fencing dates for Long Beach in Stratford and Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven from CT DEEP. We would love to have as many volunteers join us as possible!

Sandy/Morse Points - Wednesday 17th 10:30am. Meet at the parking lot. Should take a couple of hours.  Rain date Thursday the 18th.
Long Beach - Friday 19th 10:30am. Meet at the parking lot. Not sure how long it will take. Rain date Monday 22nd.

Volunteers should bring work gloves, pocket knife/scissors for cutting string, mallet (if they have one), snacks/lunch, water, and sunblock. Depending on the weather, a wind breaker might be necessary – it can be surprisingly cold and windy on the beach in April. Plan for heavy lifting and toting, but be mindful of your safety. We do not want any injuries.

If you have questions you can email Laura Saucer of CT DEEP (Laura.Saucier@ct.gov). All volunteers are welcome including those who are not monitors. Please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com to let us know you plan on going. Thank you all!


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

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Follow us on Twitter

The Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds is now on Twitter! Our username is AAfCW and you can find our page here: http://twitter.com/AAfCW

You do not need an account to view the webpage and read any tweets that we send out. You can visit it at that address like any other in your browser. You can also view the tweets in a box in the right-hand column of this blog.

Why did we decide to start tweeting? Apart from it being another method to reach beachgoers, bird lovers, and conservationists in Connecticut we thought it would be a great method to give you "live" reports of what is happening in the field. When we receive or collect information we will tweet it out. This may be a report from a monitor who visited a beach, a staff member conducting surveys along the shoreline, or a request from CT DEEP or USFWS. We will still be emailing out weekly updates of data and information and publishing them in our blog, but we felt this method would satisfy everyone who wanted up to the minute news about what is happening on our beaches. Now you will be able to check out our Twitter feed to see data collected in the field before you head to your selected site for monitoring.

If you have any questions please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com and remember this is only a supplement to our work and nothing else has changed.


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

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

AAfCW 2013 Volunteer Update #2

This is the second weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2013 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher received from April 1 through 4:00 p.m. on April 8 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning that period.

Informational updates:

A huge thank you to all of the volunteers who joined TNC, CT DEEP and AAfCW staff at the first fencing party date at Griswold Point. Your help made it into a fast and fun effort on a beautiful day at the shore, and we all enjoyed seeing a lot of birds and spending the time at the beach with you. There will be more fencing dates to come across Connecticut and we will really need your help. We will put the word out on those dates as soon as CT DEEP determines the best time for them at each location based on Piping Plover behavior and nesting.

Once again if you have yet to schedule your monitoring visits please send us your preferred site, dates, and times when as soon as possible. If this is the first email you have received from us it means the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds has yet to receive one from you and if you are planning to participate as a USFWS monitor for 2013 please tell us where and when you would like to conduct this monitoring while sending us your data and information. We are now well underway with the season and if you have any questions as we go please contact us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com at any time. While we do not have any nests yet please keep in mind that we will want to avoid going out on especially cold and windy or rainy days when the birds are on eggs.


Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover

5 pairs at Milford Point on 4/1
3 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/2
1 pair, 1 adult at Bluff Point on 4/4
7 adults at Milford Point on 4/4
1 pair, 4 adults at Griswold Point on 4/5
2 pairs, 6 adults at Milford Point on 4/6
3 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/6
2 adults at Long Beach on 4/6
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/6
8 adults at Long Beach on 4/7
2 adults at Milford Point on 4/7
2 pairs at Long Beach on 4/7
10 adults at Bluff Point on 4/7
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 4/8
6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/8
2 pairs at Milford Point on 4/8

American Oystercatcher
2 pairs at Milford Point on 4/1
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/2
1 pair at Greenwich Point Park on 4/2
2 pairs at Sandy Point Stonington on 4/4
1 pair at Bluff Point on 4/4
2 pairs at Milford Point on 4/4
6 adults at Griswold Point on 4/5
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/6
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/6
4 adults at Long Beach on 4/7
4 adults at Milford Point on 4/7
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/7
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/8
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/8.


This concludes update #2 through 4/8/13 as of 5:00 p.m.


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

Monday, April 8, 2013

Shop at Whole Foods in Westport on Tuesday, April 9

Whole Foods in Westport is generously donating 5% of its receipts on Tuesday, April 9, to support Connecticut Audubon Society. The proceeds will go directly towards the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds to support we are doing to protect vulnerable beach-nesting birds, such as Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers, in Connecticut.

The store is at 399 Post Road West, Westport, CT. Make a special trip of it and fill up your shopping cart! Five percent of the amount you spend will support our conservation work!


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

Friday, April 5, 2013

Griswold Point fencing party

A huge thank you to all of our great volunteers that came out to help The Nature Conservancy, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and us at the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds as we swiftly and smoothly completed string fencing erection today at Griswold Point. We all enjoyed chatting about birds and watching some of our target species along the way as we tallied at least six each of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher. There were plenty of Dunlin and Osprey to observe with Great Egrets flying by and ducks like Red-breasted Merganser feeding. We even removed several bags of trash.

It was a fast and fun event with so many capable hands assisting us and even the weather cooperated as a dreary cool day turned into a sunny warm afternoon at the beach. Here are some photos I took along the way.

 Volunteers and staff spreading out along the beach

 Carrying stakes and equipment

 TNC's Dave Gumbart and monitor Timothy Thompson

 A changed Griswold Point thanks to Hurricane Sandy as she pushed the beach back several hundred feet and enlarged the tidal breach

 American Oystercatchers feeding out in Long Island Sound with a low rising tide

 Beautiful sands of Griswold Point

 Volunteers hard at work

 Newly-erected signage as you enter the bird nesting area

 Piping Plover foraging

One of at least six Piping Plover

Most of the TNC, CT DEEP, AAfCW and volunteer crew

See more photos from our work at Griswold Point in 2012 and 2013 taken by Patrick Comins here on our Facebook page. Thank you to everyone who joined us, we really appreciated it and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. There will be more fencing dates to come and we will really need your help. We will put the word out on those dates as soon as CT DEEP determines the best time for them at each location based on Piping Plover behavior and nesting.


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

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers at Milford Point

Here are some photos I took of Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers at Milford Point this past weekend.
 







American Oystercatchers have been returning across the state, with pairs being noted and territorial disputes well underway. These birds were loudly chatting with another pair on the other side of the spit. After I saw a pair of Piping Plovers mere days ago we are now up to at least five pairs in the area! I could not find the Piping Plover pair for a while but finally came upon them about halfway down the spit as they foraged.

When I first spotted them I was close to their position as they blend in so very well with their environment and had eluded me. These birds were silent, acting casually, feeding and relaxing, not stressed whatsoever by my presence or anything else. That is the way we want it to always be. Within the next week or two all of the birds will be getting to breeding and nests will be on the way. At that point our caution, distance, and respect for the birds will be paramount so that we as caring individuals trying to help them do not end up hindering them in any way.


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

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

AAfCW 2013 Volunteer Update #1

This is the first update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2013 season. We will include weekly updates with data from our staff and volunteers on our four focal species - Piping Plover, Least Tern, American Oystercatcher, and Common Tern. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher received from March 5 through 4:00 p.m. on April 1 with sightings of birds spanning that period. Least Tern and Common Tern are not expected to return to Connecticut until approximately May 1.

Informational updates:

We have our first fencing party date set for Griswold Point on Friday, April 5 at 10:00 a.m. All volunteers are welcome including those who are not monitors. The plan is to meet with staff from The Nature Conservancy at the Interstate 95 park and ride lot off exit 70 on Neck Rd. From there the crew will carpool to the site. Please meet there and see this blog entry for further details. Please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you have any questions or to let us know you plan on going.

Harkness Memorial State Park has been removed from the monitoring rotation by CT DEEP for the 2013 season. While we have contacted everyone already scheduled to visit the site, if you planned on monitoring there please email us. Nearby Bluff Point State Park is a great alternative to visit.

Now that the field season has officially started if you have any questions about monitoring please contact us. If you have yet to schedule your visits please send us your preferred site, dates, and times when as soon as possible. Please remember to send us data and information as soon as you can when you return from monitoring regardless of whether or not you saw any of our target species. Thank you all and good luck!

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
1 adult at Long Beach on 3/5
1 adult at Milford Point on 3/25
3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 3/26
2 adults at Long Beach on 3/26
2 adults at Milford Point on 3/26
5 adults at Griswold Point on 3/26
2 adults at Milford Point on 3/28
1 pair at Milford Point on 3/29
8 adults at Griswold Point on 3/29
1 pair at Milford Point on 3/30
4 pairs at Milford Point on 3/31
3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/1

Copulation has been observed at Milford Point.

American Oystercatcher
3 pairs at Milford Point on 3/25
1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 3/26
1 pair at Milford Point on 3/26
1 pair at Stratford Point on 3/28
2 pairs at Milford Point on 3/28
2 adults at Stratford Point on 3/29
2 pairs at Milford Point on 3/30
2 pairs at Milford Point on 3/31
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/1

This concludes update #1 through 4/1/13 as of 5:00 p.m.


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

Monday, April 1, 2013

ISS changes in 2013

There have been some notable changes to the International Shorebird Surveys protocol for 2013. Here are the relevant documents for those of you participating in the ISS, and if you are not yet please see this post and join!


To volunteer or for more information, please contact Important Bird Area Program Coordinator, Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe, at cfolsom-okeefe@audubon.org or 203-264-5098 ext. 310.  Thank you!


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