Friday, September 26, 2014

Sandy Point IBA volunteers needed

We apologize for the short notice but volunteers are needed at an invasive plant removal at Sandy Point Important Bird Area (Sandy/Morse Points) in West Haven on Sunday, September 28 from 10AM-12PM. The West Haven Watershed Restoration Committee will be removing invasive plants as part of an IBA small matching grant. All help is appreciated. Bring work gloves, shovels, and water. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Preliminary AAfCW 2014 stats

We wanted to provide you with some preliminary statistics from the 2014 Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds monitoring season from Audubon Connecticut and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History. These numbers are not from CT DEEP or USFWS and not official in that they reflect only AAfCW's data and information. The data is still changing as well - hours are still being accumulated, volunteers recruited, birds being recorded and so forth. There are some great success stories coming out of the 2014 nesting season and without your help none of this would have been possible!
  • Piping Plovers pairs successfully fledged 97 young across Connecticut beaches in 2014, a sum that would be the second highest total ever for a year in the state! This very strong number included fledged birds from sites such as Short Beach in Stratford and Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport that had Piping Plovers as historic breeders but none in recent years.
  • Over AAfCW 387 volunteers combined their efforts to put in 2,200+ hours of stewardship and monitoring, conservation surveys, education and outreach in Connecticut. Both of these totals will be increasing through the remainder of the year and are a testament to your devotion to the program!
  • We surveyed and recorded 51 species of shorebirds, terns and long-legged waders at over 183 important sites in Connecticut including barrier beaches, offshore islands, tidal marshes, inland waterways, wet meadows, grasslands, and other critically important or endangered habitats.
  • American Oystercatchers were discovered on 33 sites in Connecticut in 2014 with 124 individuals (42 breeding pairs, 40 non-breeding individuals) recorded. Those pairs successfully fledged 26 chicks. Nest failures took place at 20 of 42 nests, all believed to be due to predation, an issue we will continue to work on in future seasons. The good news is that there were no failures due to humans thanks to our collectively vigilant stewardship efforts.
  • Least and Common Tern numbers are still being calculated after a difficult year for terns in general throughout all of the Northeast and much of the Atlantic. In our case we had low numbers attempting to nest - something beyond our control - and did have some decent productivity and a couple of success stories from specific sites thanks to the hard work of volunteers, staff, state officials and partners.
Thank you all so very much for your tireless work throughout the spring and summer and, for some of you, year-round! We at AAfCW will stay engaged throughout the year and are already preparing for the 2015 nesting season as well. As always please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you have any questions, want to sign up to assist in other ways or are looking to join our efforts for the first time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds thanks volunteers

On Monday evening, September 15, the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds held a thank you party for all of the tremendous volunteers who helped us conduct surveys, monitoring, stewardship, education and outreach across Connecticut in 2014. We thank the Town of Stratford and the Stratford Conservation Commission for allowing us to use the pavilion at Short Beach Park in Stratford.

There have been at least 2,200 hours logged by over 379 volunteers in the AAfCW program this year. We have seen 51 species of shorebirds, terns and long-legged waders at nearly 200 important sites in the state. Most importantly our headline species, the federally "threatened" Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus), is confirmed to have fledged 97 young in Connecticut in 2014 according to our counts. This is the second highest total ever recorded in the state for a season.

Below is Audubon Connecticut's Director of Bird Conservation Patrick Comins discussing some of these very numbers with party attendees.

Laura Saucier from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also addressed the crowd and thanked them for all of their help in this very successful year.

Here's Audubon Connecticut Important Bird Area Coordinator Corrie Folsom-O'Keefe talking about some of this year's special programs including the Bridgeport WildLife Guards and Manomet's International Shorebird Surveys.

The sun set quickly and the temperature dropped rapidly on this gorgeous September evening as we already eagerly spoke of next season and then said our goodbyes for the night.

While the 2014 nesting season has ended our efforts continue throughout the year - conducting additional surveys, working to protect important habitat and improve critical sites for waterbirds. We will also be working tirelessly to continue to educate the public about why these birds matter and the significant role they play in our coastal ecosystems. Thank you once again to all of our amazing volunteers! If you want to join up as a citizen scientist in Connecticut please email ctwaterbirds@gmail.com and we will find the right spot for you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sandy/Morse Points beach clean-up 9/20

Volunteers are needed for a beach clean-up at the Sandy Point Important Bird Area on September 20 from 9AM to 12PM. Please see the flyer below for details. Help for any or all of the time would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

AAfCW 2014 Volunteer Update #22

This is the twenty-second and final weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2014 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern and Common Tern from August 25 through 4:00 p.m. on September 2 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning that period.

Informational updates:

Thank you to all volunteers who assisted us with fencing removal last week! This is the last regular weekly update for the AAfCW 2014 season. Please send in any data or information if you have not yet submitted it this year.

We had a tremendous year in 2014 with very strong numbers of juvenile Piping Plovers as the main highlight. We will be in contact with all of you with updates of seasonal data and information later this season. Please keep an eye out for an email with another announcement soon.

Our sincerest and deepest thanks to all of our monitors and volunteers who worked so tirelessly all year - we could not accomplish any of this without you! If you would like to continue to help in surveying for other waterbirds throughout the fall or until spring 2015 please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com. We hope all of you return for 2015 to continue our terrific work and we will see you at the shore.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
1 juvenile at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/26
1 juvenile at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/30
1 juvenile at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/31

American Oystercatcher
1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/26
1 pair, 1 juvenile at Harkness Memorial State Park on 8/26
1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/27
21 adults, 2 juveniles at Short Beach on 8/27
3 adults at Milford Point on 8/28
15 adults at Short Beach on 8/31
1 pair, 1 juvenile at Tuxis Island on 9/2

Least Tern
7 adults, 3 juveniles at Griswold Point on 8/26
2 adults, 2 juveniles at Griswold Point on 8/29

Common Tern
1 adult at Griswold Point on 8/24
100 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/25
130 adults, 70 juveniles at Bradley Point at Savin Rock on 8/25
8 adults at Harkness Memorial State Park on 8/26
10 adults at Griswold Point on 8/26
2 adults at Sherwood Island State Park on 8/27
12 adults at Russian Beach on 8/27
200 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/27
50 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 8/28
200 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/29
100 adults at Bradley Point at Savin Rock on 8/29
15 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/31

This concludes update #22 through 9/2/14 as of 5:00 p.m.