Wednesday, September 30, 2015

WildLife Guards Boy Scout Event

This past Saturday, September 26, I spent the day with seven of our ten Bridgeport WildLife Guards back at Brideport, Connecticut's Pleasure Beach. That is where they were stationed five days each week this summer, conducting education, conservation and advocacy activities and making a difference for rare or endangered plants and wildlife, highlighted by the federally threatened Piping Plover. They engaged visitors and beachgoers, offering unique and innovative programs to convey the philosophy of sharing the beach and respecting our natural world as well as the complex ecosystems of this important habitat.

Our assignment this autumn day was to teach groups of visiting children about Piping Plovers and other coastal waterbirds as a part of an event for the Boy Scouts of America. In the photos below you can see our crew helping the kids in building baby Piping Plovers out of marshmallows, chocolate, pretzels, and raisins, a deliciously informative activity. Our second task involved using objects like hair clips and clothespins as bird beaks to attempt to "forage" for "prey", showing how species like the Common Tern and American Oystercatcher have specially evolved bills to feed on certain organisms in different environments.

In short, we had a sensational time! Even in these pictures you can see how much the children enjoyed working with us in these hands-on tasks, and we made sure they all left with a greater knowledge and appreciation of our birds. Our WildLife Guards season has been over for several weeks now, and all of this was volunteer time willingly put in by our wonderful crew. A tremendous thanks goes out to Ira Lockhart, Talisha Ortiz, Jamiya Williams, Alfred Green, Paris Jordan, Nathalie Vincent, and Sara Gallo for coming out to Pleasure Beach for one last day in 2015. We are so lucky to have them as colleagues and friends. We have all kept in touch with one another, discussing school and classes, jobs and career paths, college and more as we try to assist our students in any way we can. They have volunteered with us in multiple ways, and we hope to have another WildLife Guards event at a local school in November. Our work is year-round, nonstop, and always expanding - and we would not have it any other way.

Scott Kruitbosch
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator
RTPI Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Red Knots at Stratford Point

Earlier last evening we found these juvenile Red Knots on the beach at Stratford Point along with Black-bellied Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers and our first of fall Dunlin. Red Knots, now a federally threatened species, are a priority to us at the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds to find in Connecticut. Please be sure to share any eBird checklists with them or any shorebirds you record throughout the autumn and even winter with us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sandy Point Cleanup September 12

Please join us this Saturday, Sept. 12th from 9 am – 12 pm for a Litter Cleanup at the Sandy Point Bird Sanctuary, in West Haven, as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s “International Coastal Cleanup”.

This is a critical conservation effort to remove trash from an recognized Important Bird Area. A clean site prevents predators, attracted by food litter, from becoming accustomed to visiting Sandy Point, one of the prime sites in CT for Piping Plovers and other beach-nesting bird species. Plus: Our data will help scientists fight ocean litter! Bring work gloves, sunscreen, and water. Meet at the Morse Park parking lot (immediately east of Chick’s Restaurant/, 183 Beach St., West Haven, next to skate park). Leader: NHBC Conservation Chair Winie Wirth, 203-859-2971 or wirthwitte@att.net. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

AAfCW 2015 Volunteer Update #22

This is the twenty-second and final weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2015 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern and Common Tern from August 24 through 12:00 p.m. on September 2 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff spanning that period.

Informational updates:

Now that August has come to a close our regular field monitoring has ended for the 2015 season. Please send in any data that has not yet been submitted, including disturbances or other notable information such as the number of trash bags collected. Thank you again so much to all of our monitors in 2015 and we hope to see you in 2016!

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
1 juvenile at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/25
1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/26
1 juvenile at Pleasure Beach on 8/28

American Oystercatcher
2 pairs, 1 adult at Milford Point on 8/24
1 adult at Short Beach on 8/24
1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/25
5 adults, 1 juvenile at Mouth of Oyster River West Haven/Milford on 8/25
2 adults at Milford Point on 8/26
2 adults at Mouth of Oyster River on 8/27
5 pairs, 3 adults, 4 juveniles at Cockenoe Island on 8/27
1 pair at Goose Island on 8/27
1 pair, 1 adult at Crow Island on 8/27
1 pair at East White Rock on 8/27
39 adults at Short Beach on 8/28
1 pair, 2 adults, 1 juvenile at Milford Point on 8/28
1 pair at Calf Island on 8/28
1 pair, 1 juvenile at Little Captain's Island on 8/28
1 pair at Milford Point on 8/31
43 adults at Short Beach on 8/31

Least Tern
3 pair, 6 adults, 3 hatchlings, 2 fledglings at Milford Point on 8/24
2 adults at Long Beach on 8/24
2 pairs, 6 adults, 1 hatchling, 2 fledglings, 1 juvenile at Milford Point on 8/26
3 adults, 1 fledgling at Milford Point on 8/28

Common Tern
500 adults/juveniles at Short Beach on 8/24
12 adults at Pleasure Beach on 8/24
105 adults/juveniles at Crow Island on 8/27
118 adults/juveniles at Sheffield Island on 8/27
207 adults/juveniles at Little Captain's Island on 8/28
150 adults/juveniles at Sandy/Morse Points on 8/31

This concludes update #22 through 9/2/15 as of 12:00 p.m.