Monday, May 27, 2013

AAfCW 2013 Volunteer Update #9

This is the ninth weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2013 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern and Common Tern from May 20 through 4:00 p.m. on May 27 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning that period.

Informational updates:

We now have hatchlings of both Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher that will soon be found in many locations. Please continue to exercise extreme caution with consideration to cold, rainy, or overly windy days. With that said this week should be sunny and warm so our concern should be keeping a safe distance from nests and string fencing areas. Data is not the priority - please play it safe and monitor from the beach near the water. There is no need to approach nests or even the boundary of the fencing. You are all doing a wonderful service giving us the information that can be safely seen while educating beachgoers and ensuring no major disturbances occur and we thank you for your constant efforts!

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
1 pair, 3 adults at Long Beach on 5/20
5 pairs, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
8 adults, 6 nests at Griswold Point on 5/20
1 pair, 1 nest at Shell Avenue Milford on 5/20
8 adults, 5 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
7 pairs, 6 nests at Milford Point on 5/20
2 pairs, 6 adults, 6 nests at Griswold Point on 5/21
4 adults, 3 nests at Bluff Point on 5/21
1 pair, 7 adults at Long Beach on 5/21
4 pairs, 3 adults, 6 nests at Griswold Point on 5/22
3 adults, 2 nests at Griswold Point on 5/22
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/22
7 adults at Long Beach on 5/23
2 pairs, 3 adults, 6 nests at Milford Point on 5/23
3 pairs, 5 adults, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/23
6 pairs, 1 adult, 6 nests at Milford Point on 5/23
4 pairs, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/23
2 adults at Long Beach on 5/26
5 pairs, 3 adults, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/26
5 pairs, 10 adults at Bluff Point on 5/26
11 adults, 4 chicks at Milford Point on 5/26

American Oystercatcher
1 pair at Horse Island Guilford on 5/20
1 adult at Grass Island Guilford on 5/20
1 adult at Griswold Point on 5/20
1 pair, 1 nest at Branford Harbor on 5/20
2 pairs at Green Island Branford on 5/20
3 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
2 pairs, 1 adult, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
2 pairs, 1 adult, 2 hatchlings, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/20
1 pair, 2 hatchlings at Salt Island on 5/20
2 pairs at Menunketesuck Island on 5/20
2 pairs at Duck Island on 5/20
2 adults at Griswold Island on 5/20
1 pair, 1 adult at Charles Island on 5/21
2 pairs, 2 hatchlings at Milford Point on 5/21
1 adult at Sherwood Island State Park on 5/21
1 adult at Griswold Point on 5/21
2 adults at Bluff Point on 5/21
3 adults at Griswold Point on 5/22
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/22
4 adults at Jordan Cove on 5/22
1 adult at Branford Harbor on 5/22
1 pair at Compo Beach on 5/22
5 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/22
1 adult at Tuxis Island on 5/22
2 pairs, 2 hatchlings at Milford Point on 5/23
2 pairs, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/23
2 pairs, 5 adults at Milford Point on 5/23
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/23
12 adults, 1 chick at Cockenoe Island on 5/23
6 adults at Stratford Point on 5/24
2 adults at Sherwood Island State Park on 5/25
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/26
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/26
1 pair, 4 adults, 1 hatchling at Milford Point on 5/26

Least Tern
6 adults at Russian Beach on 5/20
1 pair, 9 adults at Long Beach on 5/20
2 pairs, 40 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
2 adults at Horse Island Guilford on 5/20
10 adults at Griswold Point on 5/20
6 adults at Branford Harbor on 5/20
20 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
5 pairs, 4 adults at Milford Point on 5/20
1 adult at Menunketesuck Island on 5/20
4 pairs, 18 adults at Griswold Point on 5/21
5 adults at Bluff Point State Park on 5/21
10 adults at Long Beach on 5/21
20 adults at Griswold Point on 5/22
4 adults at Long Beach on 5/22
1 pair, 1 adult at Branford Harbor on 5/22
2 adults at Sherwood Island State Park on 5/22
23 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/22
3 pairs at Long Beach on 5/23
22 adults at Milford Point on 5/23
19 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/23
10 pairs, 21 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/23
50 adults at Milford Point on 5/23
20 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/23
13 adults at Stratford Point on 5/24
1 adult at Compo Beach on 5/24
2 adults at Long Beach on 5/24
10 adults at Russian Beach on 5/24
12 adults at Long Beach on 5/26
75 adults at Milford Point on 5/26
4 adults at Stratford Point on 5/27

Common Tern
6 adults at Russian Beach on 5/20
2 adults at Long Beach on 5/20
7 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
2 adults at Horse Island Guilford on 5/20
2 adults at Griswold Point on 5/20
10 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
17 adults at Menunketesuck Island on 5/20
2 pairs at Charles Island on 5/21
2 adults at Griswold Point on 5/21
3 adults at Bluff Point State Park on 5/21
4 adults at Long Beach on 5/21
2 adults at Long Beach on 5/22
3 pairs, 6 adults at Branford Harbor on 5/22
6 adults at Compo Beach on 5/22
10 adults at Sherwood Island State Park on 5/22
12 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/22
6 adults at Milford Point on 5/23
8 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/23
7 pairs, 6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/23
6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/23
300 adults, 50 nests at Cockenoe Island on 5/23
31 adults at Stratford Point on 5/24
22 adults at Compo Beach on 5/24
2 adults at Bluff Point on 5/26
6 adults at Stratford Point on 5/27

This concludes update #9 through 5/27/13 as of 5:00 p.m.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day weekend coverage

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the first busy beach weekend of the year and coincides with hatchling Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers running around our shoreline. We need all the help we can get to help educated beachgoers during this critical time. The first young Piping Plovers of 2013 should hatch in the next few days and there are numerous young American Oystercatchers already on our beaches. In addition, Least and Common Terns are beginning to pair off and will soon settle into nesting colonies.

The weather should feature showers and clouds through at least part of Sunday followed by some sun on Monday with still cool temperatures that hover around the mid 60s for highs and the upper 40s for lows. If this turns out to be even relatively accurate there should be less traffic on the beaches than usual, but if anyone can help and put in some extra time at your location(s) with beach stewardship, especially on Memorial Day, we would greatly appreciate it! Please do keep in mind we would still want to avoid being on the beach during any rain or when the temperature is below 50 to keep the eggs and young safe. Thank you and enjoy the weekend.


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

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Another leucistic Piping Plover?

On Tuesday Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds technician Ewa Holland spotted an intriguing bird at Bluff Point State Park in Groton. She was about one third of the way down the beach when she saw an all white individual. She was able to see that it was definitely a Piping Plover but it clearly lacked much in the way of color at all. This was presumably a leucistic individual. Ewa had binoculars views of it but was without a camera at the time.

If you remember last season we had this cool report and photos of a leucistic bird from not too far away in Massachusetts. As odd as it sounds this seems like it may be a different individual. Ewa mentioned a total lack of color and that even the tip of the bill was without the black section. If you are at Bluff Point please keep a lookout for this unique bird. If you get any photos of it please feel free to share them with us so that we can share them with everyone.


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

Monday, May 20, 2013

AAfCW 2013 Volunteer Update #8

This is the eighth weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2013 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern and Common Tern from May 13 through 4:00 p.m. on May 20 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning that period.

Informational updates:


When you are monitoring please bear in mind we do not want to add stress to the birds and get close enough to flush them off their nest to count eggs. The string fencing is minimal so that it does not cause too much of a disruption on a given beach. It is not a barrier that we want to approach and monitoring should be conducted while walking close to the waterline and far removed from the fencing and any exclosures. The protection of the birds takes priority over data and egg counts are not necessary or desired.

This should be a difficult week with many birds on nests and showers and thunderstorms possible every day through the weekend. Please check the weather and local radar immediately before you go out even if it is not raining and play it safe for both yourself and the birds. Remember, if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning and should exit the beach immediately. Please do not monitor during any rain whatsoever.

Survey and monitoring updates:


Piping Plover

4 pairs, 1 adult, 6 nests at Milford Point on 5/13
3 pairs, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/14
2 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 5/15
9 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
2 pairs, 1 adult, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 5/15
7 pairs, 6 nests at Milford Point on 5/15
6 adults, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
2 pairs, 1 nest at Shell Avenue Milford on 5/16
5 adults, 5 nests at Griswold Point on 5/16
7 pairs, 6 nests at Milford Point on 5/16
1 pair, 3 adults at Sandy Point Stonington on 5/17
4 adults, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
3 pairs, 4 adults, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
2 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 5/18
3 pairs, 1 adult, 3 nests at Bluff Point on 5/18
3 adults at Long Beach on 5/18
4 pairs, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/18
5 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20

American Oystercatcher
2 pairs, 4 adults, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/13
1 pair at Great Captain's Island on 5/13
1 pair at Grass Island Guilford on 5/13
2 pairs, 1 adult, 1 hatchling, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/13
1 pair at Fish Island on 5/14
3 adults at Thimble Island 18 on 5/14
2 pairs, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/14
2 adults at Long Beach on 5/14
1 pair at Stratford Point on 5/14
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/15
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
2 pairs, 1 nest at Fish Island on 5/15
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/15
1 pair, 1 adult at Thimble Islands, Governor Island on 5/15
1 pair at Thimble Islands, Red Point Rocks on 5/15
1 pair at Thimble Islands, Money Island on 5/15
1 pair at Thimble Islands, Wayland Island on 5/15
1 pair at Bluff Point on 5/15
3 pairs, 1 hatchling, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/15
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
2 pairs, 1 adult at Branford Harbor on 5/16
1 pair at Great Captain's Island on 5/16
2 pairs, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/16
2 pairs, 1 nest at Menunketesuck Island on 5/17
1 adult at Duck Island on 5/17
4 pairs, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
4 pairs, 4 adults at Sandy Point Stonington on 5/17
1 pair, 3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/18
1 pair at Bluff Point on 5/18
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/18
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20

Least Tern
1 adult at Milford Point on 5/13
40 adults at Trumbull Beach Milford on 5/13
12 adults at Long Beach on 5/14
12 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/14
10 adults at Long Beach on 5/15
6 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/15
6 pairs at Bluff Point on 5/15
10 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
6 adults at Branford Harbor on 5/16
3 adults at Stratford Great Meadows on 5/16
12 adults at Milford Point on 5/16
8 adults at Menunketesuck Island on 5/17
17 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
12 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
25 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
3 adults at Russian Beach on 5/18
18 adults at Long Beach on 5/18
2 pairs at Bluff Point on 5/18
15 adult at Long Beach on 5/18
8 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/18
54 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/18
3 adults at Stratford Point on 5/19
1 adult at Sasco Hill Beach on 5/19
7 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/19
4 adults at Stratford Point on 5/20
12 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20

Common Tern

3 adults at Great Captain's Island on 5/13
8 adults at Grass Island Guilford on 5/13
3 adults at Kelsey Island Branford on 5/13
2 adults at Long Beach on 5/14
17 adults at Stratford Point on 5/14
75 adults at Russian Beach on 5/15
2 adults at Long Beach on 5/15
2 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/15
4 adults at Thimble Islands, Wheeler Island on 5/15
4 pairs at Branford Harbor on 5/16
4 adults at Branford Harbor, Jeffrey Rock on 5/16
3 adults at Milford Point on 5/16
16 adults at Menunketesuck Island on 5/17
8 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
5 pairs at Sandy Point Stonington on 5/17
6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
2 adults at Russian Beach on 5/18
16 adults at Stratford Point on 5/18
2 adults at Long Beach on 5/18
2 adults at Long Beach on 5/18
2 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/18
7 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/18
31 adults Stratford Point on 5/19
4 adults at Sasco Hill Beach on 5/19
38 adults at Stratford Point on 5/20

This concludes update #8 through 5/20/13 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, May 17, 2013

Birds in unexpected places

We have mentioned that Hurricane Sandy changed Connecticut in numerous ways, simultaneously creating and destroying habitat for birds depending on each species and their specific requirements. We can expect to find Least and Common Terns at all typical nesting areas plus other locations as migrants move through the state. Expanded habitat was created for them at places like Long Beach in Stratford, while some of the offshore islands monitored by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have lost some. Least Terns in particular have already been very active in Stratford and Milford as well as the traditionally successful Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven suggesting a productive year may be in store for them if we can assist in their protection this spring and summer.

Beyond that we should remember that Piping Plovers are still finding places to nest. One such example is a pair in Fairfield that nested last week and had not been seen prior to that. Others are even still being observed copulating at major sites like Milford Point where we have six nests and potentially a seventh on the way. These American Oystercatchers were photographed at Stratford Point recently.


While the site is across the Housatonic River from Milford Point there is no acceptable habitat for the American Oystercatcher or Piping Plover here. Nevertheless, you can sometimes find a pair either leaving their nest site or moving around and trying to find another and showing up in unexpected locations like this to forage. This is a regular sort of thing for me to record at Stratford Point as I survey the property well over a dozen times each month. Please keep looking for birds where you do not anticipate seeing any and may not have recorded a given species yet this year. Those types of surprises can be a lot of fun while monitoring.


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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Waterbird Technician positions/Milford Point

We have two quick announcements today:

1) We are seeking 3 seasonal waterbird technicians for shorebird conservation work in the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds. Spend the summer outdoors with shorebirds and help to conserve them and get paid for it! Please see the details here: https://careers-audubon.icims.com/jobs/1743/coastal-waterbird-technician/job?mode=view

2) The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service asked us to pass along that they are closing off the tip of Smith's Point (at Milford Point) to public access due to the nesting birds out that way. You can monitor as usual in the Francis St. area and on the spit, but please try to remain out of the area of the Refuge beyond the private homes to the west of the Coastal Center on Smith's Point Road that goes towards the mouth of the Housatonic River and the salt marsh. The areas on the Long Island Sound side of the Coastal Center accessible from the platform, including the spit, are still open as always. Please bear in mind that this area is one of the only places for shorebirds to rest and very important for Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers - visiting near low tide and keeping your distance whenever possible is best. Thanks!


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

Monday, May 13, 2013

AAfCW 2013 Volunteer Update #7

This is the seventh 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 from May 6 through 4:00 p.m. on May 13 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning that period.

Informational updates:

Least and Common Terns rapidly spread into Connecticut during the last week. You can expect to find them at all typical nesting areas plus other locations as migrants move through the area. New habitat may have been created for them by Hurricane Sandy so please look for them at all of our monitored beaches and please provide as accurate data as you can on them as you do for Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers. The closest counts you can get, even if you have to estimate something like a group of Common Terns feeding offshore, are the best for us.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
6 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/6
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 5/7
4 pairs, 1 adult, 5 nests at Griswold Point on 5/7
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
2 pairs, 5 adults, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
1 pair, 3 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/8
1 pair, 1 nest at East Haven (private) on 5/9
9 adults, 6 nests at Milford Point on 5/9
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 5/9
5 pairs, 5 nests at Bluff Point on 5/9
7 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
7 pairs, 6 nests at Milford Point on 5/10
7 pairs, 5 nests at Griswold Point on 5/10
5 pairs, 2 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
1 adult at Sasco Hill Beach on 5/10
9 adults, 6 nests at Milford Point on 5/11
12 adults, 2 nests at Long Beach on 5/12
3 pairs, 4 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/12
6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/13

American Oystercatcher
5 pairs, 1 adult at Cockenoe Island on 5/6
1 pair at Goose Island on 5/6
2 pairs at Chimon Island on 5/6
1 pair, 4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/6
1 pair at Griswold Point on 5/7
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
2 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
1 adult at Milford Point on 5/8
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/8
1 pair at Salt Island on 5/9
3 pairs, 1 nest at Menunketesuck Island on 5/9
1 pair, 2 adults at Duck Island on 5/9
2 pairs at Milford Point on 5/9
1 pair at Bluff Point on 5/9
1 pair at Stratford Point on 5/10
4 adults at Menunketesuck Island on 5/10
4 adults at Duck Island on 5/10
1 adult at Tuxis Island on 5/10
1 pair, 3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
2 pairs, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/10
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
1 pair, 1 nest at Crow Island on 5/10
2 pairs, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/11
1 pair at Sherwood Island State Park on 5/12
1 pair, 4 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/12
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/13

Least Tern
2 adults at Stratford Point on 5/8
1 adult at Stratford Point on 5/10
17 adults at Milford Point on 5/10
1 pair, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
2 adults at Crow Island on 5/10
7 adults at Stratford Great Meadows on 5/11
2 adults at Stratford Point on 5/11
4 adults at Milford Point on 5/11
24 adults at Long Beach on 5/12
9 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/12
6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/13

Common Tern
21 adults at Stratford Point on 5/8
1 pair, 2 adults at Menunketesuck Island on 5/9
13 adults at Stratford Point on 5/10
3 adults at Milford Point on 5/10
~50 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
~50 adults at Crow Island on 5/10
8 adults at Stratford Point on 5/11
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/12

This concludes update #7 through 5/13/13 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, May 10, 2013

A different kind of Plover

We are now well into May and shorebird migration is heating up. The species that nest to our north have yet to pass through in sizable numbers but they are growing in quantity and diversity every day. Because of the later start to nesting in those regions they move through at this time and quickly exit in July and August with rapid breeding seasons squeezed in before the earlier autumn. With our longer period of warmth our birds have it made, don't they?

These are Semipalmated Plovers, not Piping Plovers, photographed at Stratford Point on May 7.


The two species can appear a bit similar when you see one or two at a time from a distance, but a closer examination shows their differences. They have dark faces and are brown on their backs, wings, and head, not gray. Their chest band and forehead are more black than the Piping Plover. These features are also larger in size. Their call has a "chewy" sound to it instead of the classic peeps of the Piping Plover.

Another difference can be in how many you observe. They will be seen in numbers from a few to dozens to the low hundreds in the spring and perhaps up to several hundred during the fall migration at critical locations in Connecticut. This will never be the case with the Piping Plover! Depending on the species shorebirds can take similar or slightly different migratory corridors when heading north or south, but for the most part you will see more of them on the southbound journey because of young birds born during the summer.



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

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Watch out for rain

While we want monitors at our sites across Connecticut as much as possible, there are a few times when we would rather have you take the day off to better protect our Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher nests and soon Least Tern and Common Tern as well. This is when the weather conditions are potentially hazardous to the birds, and as you can imagine the threat increases at times when the birds are incubating eggs or tending to young. Please keep the conditions in mind and only survey when the temperature is not overly hot or cold, there is no rain, and the wind is not strong.

If gusts are strong enough that you notice them pushing you around, especially on a cool or cloudy day, it may be better to stay home. When the temperature is below 50 or over 90, you may want to exercise caution and skip a monitoring session. When there is rain falling as there will be today and tomorrow and possibly a few more times in the next week it is also best not to go on to the beach. The key is that we do not want incubating adults coming off eggs for too long of a time so that they are exposed to extreme conditions. This can be fatal to them. Also, for your own safety, watch out for any forecast for thunderstorms so that you are not on the beach at such a time as we enter the severe season.

Thank you all for your constant efforts and for being mindful about when to hit the beaches this spring and summer.


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

Monday, May 6, 2013

AAfCW 2013 Volunteer Update #6

This is the sixth 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 from April 29 through 4:00 p.m. on May 6 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning that period.

Informational updates:

Least and Common Terns have returned to Connecticut and as of now we have received only a few unofficial reports of sightings. They will begin to rapidly increase in number and geographical spread in the next week. Please provide reports on their numbers and breeding status as you would for Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers so that we can track them just as closely. Nesting is beginning to take off for the Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher but there is still time for birds to find new habitat and decide to nest there - please keep this in mind on beaches without sightings of them thus far. As we may finally see rain this week please remember that we do not want to monitor during cold or rainy conditions when birds are on nests because of the potential to disturb them and harm the eggs.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/29
2 pairs, 4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/29
1 pair, 4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/30
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 4/30
1 pair, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 4/30
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/1
1 pair, 6 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/1
6 pairs, 3 nests at Milford Point on 5/2
2 adults at Sandy Point Stonington on 5/2
4 pairs, 1 adult at Long Beach on 5/3
6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/3
1 pair at East Haven (private) on 5/3
2 pairs, 6 adults at Bluff Point on 5/4
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/4
4 pairs, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/4
5 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/4
2 adults at Long Beach on 5/5
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 5/5
1 pair, 2 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/5
1 pair, 5 adults at Bluff Point on 5/5
3 adults at Long Beach on 5/5

American Oystercatcher

3 pairs, 1 nest Sandy/Morse Points on 4/29
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/29
4 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/30
1 adult, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 4/30
1 pair at Kelsey Island Branford on 5/1
1 adult at Silver Sands State Park on 5/1
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/1
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/1
1 adult at Bluff Point on 5/1
3 pairs, 2 nests at Menunketesuck Island on 5/2
1 pair at Duck Island on 5/2
2 pairs at Milford Point on 5/2
5 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy Point Stonington on 5/2
3 adults at Long Beach on 5/3
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/3
2 pairs at Bluff Point on 5/4
3 adults at Long Beach on 5/4
3 adults at Milford Point on 5/4
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/4
2 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/5
1 pair at Bluff Point on 5/5

This concludes update #6 through 5/6/13 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, May 1, 2013

Great Gull Island work parties

Volunteers needed for weekend work parties!

Great Gull Island is the most important nesting area for federally endangered Roseate Terns in the Western Hemisphere and also supports the largest concentration of nesting Common Terns in the world. Great Gull was hit very hard by Hurricane Sandy and needs help getting ready for the upcoming nesting season. The island is an amazing place if you’ve never had the opportunity to visit there! See more here: http://greatgullisland.org/Main_Page.html

Spring is in the air and the tern is on the wing, so it’s time to look at your calendar and sign up for Spring Work Weekends:

Friday May 10th – Sunday May 12th
Friday May 17th – Sunday May 19th
Friday May 24th – Monday May 27th (Memorial Day Weekend / Nest Marking)
Friday May 31st – Sunday June 2nd (Nest Marking)

Helen hopes for lots of helpers for all weekends, but especially for the two Nest Marking weekends. She’ll be happy to hear when you can come, at hays@amnh.org.

Photo of Roseate Tern by AJ Hand.

Boats leave from Captain John’s dock in Waterford at 3 PM on Fridays and return Sunday evening (excepting Memorial Day Weekend, which returns on Monday).

Thank you!


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