PIPL

PIPL

Monday, May 22, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #7

This is the seventh weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern, and Common Tern through 4:00 p.m. on May 22 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since the previous update on May 15.

Informational updates:

Please exercise caution when deciding if you should go out to monitor during this upcoming week with frequent rain, cool temperatures, and perhaps some windy days. This is a very critical time period with many nesting pairs of Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers - and some renesting after tidal washouts or other nest failures - and we never want to add to the distractions or disturbances they face during inclement conditions when beaches will be relatively devoid of visitors.

However, next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and the weather should return to sunny skies and seasonable temperatures. The holiday will mean busier beaches with a lot more traffic, especially if the forecast holds. Many visitors, including some from out of state, will not know about our birds or why they're important and need to be educated on what is happening on the beach. If you have any extra time to monitor outside of your usual shifts please try to visit any of our beaches next Saturday, Sunday and Monday during this nesting time at the unofficial beginning of summer. Even a quick stop for some education or a scan of the beach can be helpful, and you do not need to schedule it in advance.

Sandy/Morse Points parking passes have been received in the mail by some of our monitors and staff, so if you submitted your vehicle information directly to AAfCW when asked, you can expect to hopefully see yours in the mail from West Haven soon. As always thank you so much for all of your efforts!

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/15
1 pair, 1 nest at East Broadway/Shell Ave on 5/15
1 pair, 1 nest at Sherwood Island State Park on 5/15
1 pair, 4 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
9 pairs, 1 adult, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/15
5 pairs, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/15
1 pair, 6 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
1 pair, 6 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 6 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/16
6 pairs, 5 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/16
1 pair, 7 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/16
5 adults at Long Beach on 5/17
8 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
4 pairs, 2 nests at Hammonasset on 5/17
2 pairs, 6 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/17
4 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/17
10 adults at Milford Point on 5/17
2 pairs, 8 adults, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/18
3 pairs, 3 adults at Sandy/Morse on 5/18
3 pairs, 6 adults, 6 nests at Long Beach on 5/18
1 pair at Waterford Town Beach on 5/18
1 pair, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/19
4 pairs, 3 nests at Bluff Point on 5/19
1 pair at Short Beach on 5/19
5 pairs, 5 nests at Milford Point on 5/19
2 pairs, 6 adults at Bluff Point on 5/19
10 pairs, 2 nests Milford Point on 5/20
1 pair, 1 nest at East Broadway on 5/20
5 pairs, 3 adults, 3 nests at Milford Point on 5/20
5 adults, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
10 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/21
2 pairs, 3 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
6 pairs, 6 nests at Long Beach on 5/21
1 pair, 2 adults, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
4 pairs, 10 adults, 4 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
19 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/21

American Oystercatcher

1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/15
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/15
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/16
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Griswold Island on 5/16
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/17   
1 adult at Short Beach on 5/17
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/17
3 pairs, 4 adults, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/17
3 pairs at Milford Point on 5/17
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/17 
2 pairs, 2 nests at Hammonasset on 5/17
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/17
2 pairs, 7 adults, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/18
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/18
2 pairs at Ocean Beach Park on 5/18
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/18
1 pair, 1 adult at Branford Harbor Channel Marker on 5/18
1 pair, 3 hatchlings at Green Island on 5/18
1 pair, 3 hatchlings at Umbrella Island on 5/18
2 pairs, 1 nest at Kelsey Island on 5/18
5 pairs, 2 hatchlings at Menunketesuck Island on 5/18
1 pair, 4 adults, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/19
4 adults at Short Beach on 5/19
1 pair at Lewis Island, Thimbles on 5/19
1 pair, 3 hatchlings at Thimble Island # 18 on 5/19
1 pair, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/19
1 pair at Horse Island, Thimbles on 5/19
1 pair at Hen Island, Thimbles on 5/19
3 pairs, 4 hatchlings, 1 nest at Falkners Island on 5/19
1 pair at Bluff Point on 5/19
3 pairs, 2 adults, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/20
1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/20
3 pairs at Milford Point on 5/20
1 adult, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/21
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
2 pairs at Silver Sands State Park on 5/21
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/21
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/21
3 pairs, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/21

Least Tern
2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/15
20 adults at Long Beach on 5/15
4 pairs, 25 adults at Long Beach on 5/15
1 adult at Pleasure Beach on 5/16
1 pair, 12 adults at Long Beach on 5/16
2 adults at Mouth of 4 Mile River on 5/16
20 adults at Long Beach on 5/16
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/17
6 pairs, 2 adults at Milford Point on 5/17
8 adults at Long Beach on 5/17
11 adults at Hammonasset on 5/18
35 adults at Milford Point on 5/18
1 pair, 6 adults at Long Beach on 5/18
2 adults at East Broadway/Shell Ave, Milford on 5/18
1 pair at Pleasure Beach on 5/19
4 adults at Bluff Point on 5/19
3 adults at Milford Point on 5/20
1 pair, 8 adults at Long Beach on 5/21
1 pair, 4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
3 pairs at Milford Point on 5/21
10 pairs, 55 adults at Long Beach on 5/21

Common Tern
2 adults at Compo Beach on 5/15
1 adult at Pleasure Beach on 5/16
4 adults at Long Beach on 5/16
2 pairs, 8 adults at Long Beach on 5/17
1 adult at Milford Point on 5/17
2 adults at Short Beach on 5/17
1 pair, 1 adult at Sherwood Island State Park on 5/17
4 adults at Milford Point on 5/17
7 adults at Hammonasset on 5/17
2 adults at Milford Point on 5/18
4 pairs at Umbrella Island on 5/18
5 pairs at Green Island on 5/18
3 adults at Kelsey Island on 5/18
2 adults at Bluff Point on 5/19
2 adults at Short Beach on 5/19
2 adults at Milford Point on 5/19
9 adults at Thimble Islands on 5/19
2 adults at Sasco Hill Beach on 5/20
2 adults at Milford Point on 5/20
5 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/21
3 adults at Milford Point on 5/21

This concludes update #7 through 5/22/17 as of 5:30 p.m.

Monday, May 15, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #6

This is the sixth weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Least Tern, and Common Tern through 1:00 p.m. on May 15 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since the previous update on May 8.

Informational updates:

We are continuing to discover and exclose Piping Plover nests. These exclosures are very effective against mammalian and avian predators, and serve as a terrific teachable moment while on the beach and speaking with visitors. Please keep in mind that if you see an exclosed nest that it has four eggs and is complete, and we do not need to know any details about the eggs or to have a close look at the adults. Their safety and incubation is most important. You may find nests that are not attended to immediately because we want the birds to complete it before being exclosed. American Oystercatcher nests do not get exclosed, and they are working on nesting in many areas after a lot of frequent washouts as our weather has been uncooperative thus far this spring.

If you have to cancel your monitoring due to the weather there is no need to make it up, and that would be strictly optional. Additionally, there is no need to worry about a minimum hours per month. Please remember whether it is a marked bird, a disturbance of note that however does not reach "take" status, a new nest, and other significant information, please email CT DEEP (Laura.Saucier@ct.gov and Rebecca.Foster@ct.gov) and AAfCW directly about it with all the information you can as soon as possible.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/8
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 5/8
9 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/8
1 pair, 2 adults, 3 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/8
5 pairs, 4 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/9
5 pairs, 1 adult, 4 nests at Milford Point on 5/9
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 5/9
5 pairs, 1 adult, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/9
10 pairs, 1 adult, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/9
1 pair at Short Beach on 5/9
5 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/9
1 pair at East Broadway Milford on 5/9
2 adults, 2 nests at Long Beach on 5/10
11 adults, 6 nests at Long Beach on 5/10
1 pair, 5 adults, 6 nests at Long Beach on 5/10
2 pairs, 7 adults, 1 nest at Milford Point on 5/10
11 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
1 adult at Long Beach on 5/10
3 pairs, 4 adults, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/10
2 pairs, 2 adults, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/11
4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/11
7 pairs, 5 nests at Milford Point on 5/11
8 adults, 7 nests at Long Beach on 5/11
1 pair, 5 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/12
2 pairs, 3 adults, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 5/12
5 pairs, 4 adults, 6 nests at Long Beach on 5/12
1 pair, 2 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/12

American Oystercatcher
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/8
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/8
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/8
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/9
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/9
3 pairs at Milford Point on 5/9
1 pair, 1 nest at Long Beach on 5/9
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/9
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/10
5 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/10
4 pairs at Milford Point on 5/10
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/10
2 pairs, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/10
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/11
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/11
3 pairs at Milford Point on 5/11
1 pair, 1 adult, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/12
3 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/12
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/12

Least Tern
4 adults at Cedar Beach on 5/8
1 pair, 1 adult at Long Beach on 5/8
2 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/8
10 adults at East Broadway Milford on 5/8
3 adults at Short Beach on 5/8
14 adults at Long Beach on 5/9
4 adults at East Broadway Milford on 5/9
7 adults at Long Beach on 5/9
8 adults at Long Beach on 5/9
3 adults at Short Beach on 5/9
2 adults at East Broadway Milford on 5/9
14 adults at Milford Point on 5/9
15 adults at Milford Point on 5/10
10 adults at Milford Point on 5/11
15 adults at Long Beach on 5/12

Common Tern
12 Common Terns at Long Beach on 5/10
1 adult at Bluff Point on 5/10
2 adults at Bluff Point on 5/12

This concludes update #6 through 5/15/17 as of 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

A Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there! We wanted to give a special mention to our soon to be Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher mothers, and especially to our dear friend pink-flagged 5E who is still doing well with her mate. Here she was in the middle of having some snacks on a recent afternoon.


We also ask that everyone keeps them in mind when visiting the beach on these holiday weekends. With Memorial Day and the unofficial start to summer coming up soon we have to always remember to share the shore with our avian pals, with positive education leading the way in our successful conservation efforts thanks to our intrepid volunteers and super staff...not to mention the great parenting by moms like her!

Monday, May 8, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #5

This is the fifth weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, and Least Tern through 1:00 p.m. on May 8 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since the previous update on May 1.

Informational updates:

We had some surveys canceled in the last week because of the weather, and this may continue with chilly mornings, windy days, and rain. Please do not hesitate to cancel if the conditions are not conducive - you are helping to protect the birds and there will likely be fewer beachgoers at your location as well. Flushing birds off nests at this time of year can be deadly to the eggs, and nests may not all be exclosed immediately, so please be mindful of where you walk and stay near the water as much as you can.

Between widespread Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher nests plus the arrival of Least and Common Terns there is a lot to look at out there! However, we always want to observe the birds with binoculars and spotting scopes from a distance, never entering fenced areas even if we are trying to help. Photos can be taken but at such a distance that the bird pays us no mind (e.g. running away or a broken wing display are not good!), and we do not require them if you are a monitor or a volunteer. It is often best to leave the birds be as much as possible and hold the photography until after nesting has ended in the late summer. Walking out and lingering on a thin and soon to be busier nesting bar, for example, can be very disruptive even if we are monitoring.

This is a delicate balance, but considering we have set all-time success records repeatedly during the past several years of our work in AAfCW, we know our volunteers are the best and our methods seem to be working well. Thank you all so much!

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
2 pairs, 4 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/1
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/1
4 pairs, 5 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/1
1 pair at Shell Avenue Milford on 5/1
10 pairs, 5 nests at Long Beach on 5/1
4 pairs, 3 nests at Milford Point on 5/1
1 pair at Hammonasset, Cedar Island on 5/1
1 pair, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/2
4 pairs, 3 nests at Milford Point on 5/2
5 pairs, 1 adult, 3 nests at Long Beach on 5/2
6 pairs, 1 adult at Milford Point on 5/2
3 pairs, 3 adults, 3 nests at Long Beach on 5/2
3 pairs, 2 adults, 2 nests at Bluff Point on 5/3
11 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/3
2 pairs, 6 adults, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/4
2 pairs, 2 nests at Harkness Memorial State Park on 5/4
4 pairs, 2 adults, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/4
1 pair, 1 nest at Pleasure Beach on 5/4
10 pairs, 7 nests at Milford Point on 5/4
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 5/4
4 adults, 3 nests at Long Beach on 5/4
14 adults, 3 nests at Milford Point on 5/4
4 pairs, 5 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/4
5 pairs, 8 adults, 2 nests at Griswold Point on 5/4
4 adults at Silver Sands State Park on 5/7
6 pairs, 1 adult, 4 nests at Long Beach on 5/7
6 pairs, 3 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
1 pair, 6 adults, 2 nests at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
2 pairs, 2 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7

American Oystercatcher

2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/1
1 pair, 2 adults at Shell Ave/East Broadway on 5/1
1 pair at Hammonasset, Cedar Island on 5/1
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/2
1 pair, 1 adult at Long Beach on 5/2
4 pairs, 1 adult at Milford Point on 5/2
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/2
2 pairs, 1 adult, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/3
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/3
2 pairs, 1 nest at Fish Islands on 5/3
1 pair at Long Beach on 5/4
1 pair, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 5/4
1 pair at Grass Island on 5/4
3 pairs, 3 nests at Falkners Island on 5/4
3 adults at Short Beach on 5/4
1 adult at Pleasure Beach on 5/4
3 pairs, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/4
3 pairs, 3 adults, 2 nests at Milford Point on 5/4
5 adults at Griswold Point on 5/4
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/4
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
1 pair, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7

Least Tern
2 adults at Milford Point on 5/2
2 adults at Hammonasset on 5/3
2 adults at Short Beach on 5/4
4 adults at Milford Point on 5/4
1 adult at Griswold Point on 5/4
8 adults at Milford Point on 5/4
5 adults at Long Beach on 5/7
6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 5/7

This concludes update #5 through 5/8/17 as of 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Piping Plover Protection

I wanted to speak more about sharing the shore today, especially when it comes to our Piping Plovers. These little shorebirds have a lot to say about how you can help them, their nests, and their young stay safe all spring and summer, and it is very easy, too!


We all know that we should clean up after ourselves and leave nothing but footprints on the beach, preferably at or below the tidal line and away from nesting areas higher in the dune. Flushing birds off nests at this time of year can be deadly to the eggs, and nests may not all be exclosed immediately, so please be mindful of where you walk. Our dogs do have to stay at home, and they are not permitted on Connecticut beaches. We realize they are sweet family members, but the birds see them as vicious predators no matter their demeanor. We always want to observe the birds with binoculars and spotting scopes from a distance, never entering fenced areas even if we are trying to help. Photos can be taken but at such a distance that the bird pays us no mind (e.g. running away or a broken wing display are not good!), and we do not require them if you are a monitor or a volunteer. It is often best to leave the birds be as much as possible and hold the photography until after nesting has ended in the late summer, and to go birding in other locations during the most critical time in places where we can end up unintentionally intruding. Walking out on a tern nesting bar, for example, can be very disruptive.

Please keep in mind we have a formal monitoring system in place that is overseen by our regulatory agencies, and if you would like to volunteer with us at the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds to help the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in monitoring Piping Plovers, terrific! Email ctwaterbirds@gmail.com to register, undergo training, and sign-up for a schedule at one of our public beaches. We have to be very careful not to hug the birds too tightly, going to a beach frequently or allowing ourselves to become a distraction or disturbance to the very same birds we are trying to protect. This is a delicate balance, but considering we have set all-time success records repeatedly during the past several years of our work in AAfCW, we know our volunteers are the best and our methods seem to be working well. Thank you all for your efforts and your passion for our avian neighbors.

Scott Kruitbosch
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator
RTPI Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

American Oystercatchers Nesting

I have been posting all about our Piping Plovers lately, so I thought I should give our American Oystercatcher friends some love, too. After all, who doesn't like their look? Even the average beachgoer takes note of this beautiful bird and its bold bill.


Unfortunately the recent stormy and wet weather has washed a number of Oystercatcher nests away on our beaches. However, those that lost their eggs will be re-nesting as soon as they can. We have hope that this year will be just as successful as the 2016 season where 53 fledged from 63 pairs, the second highest total of chicks fledged and the second highest productivity rate ever recorded in Connecticut. Please keep them in mind while visiting the shore, allowing these birds the peace and comfort they need to raise their family. Our volunteers and staff will do their best to make this another record season.

Scott Kruitbosch
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator
RTPI Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Monday, May 1, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #4

This is the fourth weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher through 4:00 p.m. on May 1 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since the previous update on April 24.

Informational updates:

Nearly all of our "expected" Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers have arrived by now, with a few potentially showing up in a handful of additional locations. Nests are beginning to be discovered with more frequency. The stormy weather and high tides did wash some nests away, especially impacting our Oystercatchers. Please remember whether it is a marked bird, a disturbance of note that however does not reach "take" status, a new nest, and other significant information, please email CT DEEP (Laura.Saucier@ct.gov and Rebecca.Foster@ct.gov) and AAfCW directly about it with all the information you can as soon as possible. Please see this blog entry about flagged birds in Connecticut this year.

Both Least and Common Terns begin returning to Connecticut usually right around May 1 meaning that it is time for them to begin trickling in. There have been a couple confirmed reports of both species here already. As we get into nesting season we have to keep in mind that the parents need to incubate and keep the eggs at the perfect temperature making it all the more important that if the temperature is below 50, above 90, it is raining, or it is especially windy, you should stay home on these dangerous days for the birds and soon to be young. Thank you all for your hard work!

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
5 pairs, 1 nest at Milford Point on 4/24
2 pairs, 2 adults at Sandy Point Island on 4/24
5 pairs, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 4/24
7 pairs, 3 adults at Long Beach on 4/24
3 adults at Long Beach on 4/26
1 pair, 5 adults at Long Beach on 4/27
5 pairs, 2 adults at Milford Point on 4/27
1 pair, 1 adult, 1 nest at Long Beach on 4/27
5 pairs, 2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/27
5 pairs, 1 adult at Long Beach on 4/28
3 pairs, 5 adults, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 4/28
2 pairs, 3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/28
2 pairs, 9 adults at Long Beach on 4/28
4 pairs, 4 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/29
7 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/29
1 adult at Long Beach on 4/30
3 adults at Sherwood Island State Park on 4/30
6 pairs at Long Beach on 4/30
2 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 4/30
6 pairs, 3 adults at Long Beach on 4/30
4 adults at Long Beach on 5/1

American Oystercatcher
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/24
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/24
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/24
9 pairs, 1 adult, 4 nests at Sandy Point Island on 4/24
1 pair at Bluff Point on 4/24
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/26
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/26
2 pairs, 1 nest at Hammonasset on 4/26
1 pair, 3 adults at Bluff Point on 4/27
1 pair, 1 nest at Griswold Point on 4/27
2 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/27
1 pair at Compo Beach on 4/27
13 pairs, 7 nests at Cockenoe Island on 4/27
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/27
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/28
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/28
1 pair, 1 nest at Bluff Point on 4/28
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/29
1 pair at Sherwood Island State Park on 4/30
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/30
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/30

This concludes update #4 through 5/1/17 as of 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Flagged and Banded Birds

We are elated to be hosting several flagged and banded Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers in Connecticut for the 2017 season. We are monitoring these birds closely and reporting their information to the appropriate parties. Here is a photo of one such Piping Plover, pink flagged 5E, photographed on the day she was found earlier this month with her mate.



This Piping Plover was banded in the Bahamas in March 2017 through research being conducted by the National Audubon Society, Virginia Tech Shorebird Program, Bahamas National Trust, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and more partners all working to study and aid the species. For now we will not be posting the birds' specific sites and locations, and we ask our monitors and birders who meet them to do the same. These little celebrities could attract a crowd of interested onlookers, and we want to ensure they have the space they need to raise a family.

Our friend 5E is being featured on National Audubon Society social media, in an anonymous way to ensure her safety, so be sure to see all the love she is getting there. You can read more information about Audubon's work in this PDF file. We will certainly be reporting extensively on the life history and the Connecticut success of these birds after our season concludes in a few months. Fingers crossed that we have wonderful stories to tell! If you want to learn more or find a flagged/banded Piping Plover please see this previous blog entry on what to do, and when reporting it be sure to include CT DEEP's Laura Saucier (Laura.Saucier@ct.gov) and us at the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (ctwaterbirds@gmail.com) as well - and thank you!

Monday, April 24, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #3

This is the third weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher through 2:00 p.m. on April 24 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since the previous update on April 17.

Informational updates:

Identification badges are currently being received by monitors if you signed up at training. For those who did not your forms will be ready soon and then you can submit them to CT DEEP at which time they will mail you a badge. Please see the PDF "2017 Piping Plover Monitoring Program" in the right-hand column of this blog as a refresher if you were at training and as required reading for those who were not. It includes a program overview, how to be a good witness, various contact information, dog laws, and more. The second PDF to note is a CT DEEP volunteer time form that you can fill out and return to DEEP at the end of our season in August if you are a registered monitor.

Our beaches are filling up with birds and nests are beginning to be discovered now. Please remember whether it is a marked bird, a disturbance of note that however does not reach "take" status, a new nest, and other significant information, please email CT DEEP (Laura.Saucier@ct.gov and Rebecca.Foster@ct.gov) and AAfCW directly about it with all the information you can as soon as possible.

Both Least and Common Terns begin returning to Connecticut usually right around May 1, so do not expect to see any for another week or more. Remember, if the temperature is below 50, it is raining, or it is especially windy, you should stay home on these stressful days for the birds.

Survey and monitoring updates:


Piping Plover
2 pairs, 2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
3 pairs, 1 adult at Long Beach on 4/17
4 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
8 pairs at Milford Point on 4/17
1 pair at Pleasure Beach on 4/18
3 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 4/18
5 pairs, 6 adults at Milford Point on 4/18
7 pairs at Long Beach on 4/18
1 pair, 1 adult at Long Beach on 4/18
2 pairs, 3 adults at Long Beach on 4/18
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/19
6 pairs at Hammonasset on 4/20
6 pairs, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
2 adult at Long Beach on 4/20
4 pairs, 2 adults at Milford Point on 4/20
5 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
3 pairs, 2 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
1 pair at Short Beach on 4/22
1 pair at Short Beach on 4/22
1 adult at Greenwich Point Park on 4/22
2 pairs at Long Beach on 4/22
1 pair, 4 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/22
3 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 4/22
6 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 4/23
1 pair at East Ave, West Haven on 4/23
1 pair, 7 adults at Long Beach on 4/23
1 pair, 8 adults, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/23

American Oystercatcher

2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/17
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/18
1 pair, 1 adult at Long Beach on 4/18
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/18
1 pair at Pleasure Beach on 4/18
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 4/18
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/18
2 adults at Compo Beach on 4/18
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/18
1 pair, 1 nest at Lewis Island, Thimbles on 4/18
1 pair at Governor Island, Thimbles on 4/18
1 pair at Island # 18, Thimbles on 4/18
1 pair, 1 adult at Grass Island on 4/19
1 pair at Chaffinch Island on 4/20
1 pair, 1 adult at Horse Island, Joshua Cove on 4/20
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
1 pair at Hammonasset on 4/20
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/20
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/20
1 pair at Short Beach on 4/21
1 adult at Greenwich Point Park on 4/22
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/22
1 adult at Greenwich Point Park on 4/23
3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/23
1 pair at Silver Sands State Park on 4/23
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/23
3 pairs, 1 adult, 1 nest at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/23

This concludes update #3 through 4/24/17 as of 5:30 p.m.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Clean Our Shores

As our waterbirds season enters the nesting period here on the Connecticut coast we ask that when you visit a beach you please keep in mind the same ideals that you do whenever you are immersed elsewhere in nature - leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories. We successfully share the shore with the various endangered nesting species, such as this Piping Plover, each year without closing off entire beaches for months as some other states do. Our work, and the health and success of our birds, is helped greatly by beachgoers taking their trash home with them. It reduces the number of predators attracted to the beach and the threat of garbage directly injuring or killing birds. Our volunteer monitors and staff remove many bags of trash every week. If you can clean up a few pieces of garbage - safely and outside of string fenced areas - that may have been left by someone else or have washed up onshore, then we will love you all the more! Pass it on and protect our plovers...and thank you!


Scott Kruitbosch
RTPI Conservation & Outreach Coordinator
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator

Monday, April 17, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #2

This is the second weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher through 1:00 p.m. on April 17 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since the previous update on April 10.

Informational updates:

Thank you all very much for your help with spring fencing dates. CT DEEP and AAfCW staff will continue to finish up fencing and signing a few more beaches, and all will be set for the soon to be nesting birds. If your beach does not have any Piping Plovers or American Oystercatchers yet then you can keep monitoring for now to see if any do show up. If in the next few weeks we still not do have any then switching to a busier beach would be best. However, please do submit "negative" data from any monitoring you conduct where you find none of our focal birds. The importance of this is outlined in detail here in our blog: http://ctwaterbirds.blogspot.com/2017/04/submit-negative-data.html

Identification badges are currently being distributed by CT DEEP and are going out to be mailed tomorrow. Paperwork for those who did not get a chance to sign up at training in March will be ready later this week and sent via email as well as posted publicly in our blog. When you submit this information DEEP will mail you a badge.

Once again please remember to provide your license plate and mailing address by email to ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you are going to monitor at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven and do not have a resident sticker. We will be submitting the list to the City soon! If you do not submit your information you will have to acquire and pay for a sticker directly from West Haven.

There are a few banded and flagged Piping Plovers at our beaches, and more could still be found. Whether it is a marked bird, a disturbance of note that however does not reach "take" status, a new nest, and other significant information, please email CT DEEP (Laura.Saucier@ct.gov and Rebecca.Foster@ct.gov) and AAfCW directly about it with all the information you can as soon as possible.

Both Least and Common Terns begin returning to Connecticut usually right around May 1, so do not expect to see any for a couple of weeks. Please keep monitoring as usual during conducive weather, and we should have mostly great days to be at the beach this week.

Survey and monitoring updates:


Piping Plover
3 pairs, 3 adults at Bluff Point on 4/10
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/10
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/10
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/11
4 pairs at Milford Point on 4/11
5 pairs, 3 adults at Long Beach on 4/11
3 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 4/12
4 pairs, 5 adults at Long Beach on 4/12
3 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
3 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
5 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/13
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/13
5 pairs at Bluff Point on 4/14
2 pairs, 2 adults at Long Beach on 4/14
1 pair, 7 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/14
7 pairs, 4 adults at Milford Point on 4/14
1 adult at Long Beach on 4/14
1 pair at East Broadway, Milford on 4/14
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/15
3 pairs, 6 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/15

American Oystercatcher
1 pair at Bluff Point on 4/10
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/10
4 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/10
1 pair at Hammonasset on 4/10
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/11
1 pair, 1 adult at Long Beach on 4/11
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/11
3 pairs, 1 adult at Milford Point on 4/11
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
1 adult at Silver Sands State Park on 4/12
4 pairs at Milford Point on 4/12
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
3 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/12
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/13
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/13
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/14
1 adult at Bluff Point on 4/14
2 pairs, 2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/14
2 pairs at Milford Point on 4/14
1 pair at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/15
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/15
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/15

This concludes update #2 through 4/17/17 as of 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Submit Negative Data

Please remember that we want to hear from you at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com after every trip you take to your beach during volunteer monitoring. Even when you make a visit to the shore and do not see any Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Least Terns or Common Terns - or any other notable waterbirds - we need this "negative data". Knowing about a lack of birds is just as important as an abundance of birds.

Negative data is important to us in several ways. It lets us know that you were there on the beach at your scheduled time and that birds were simply not there instead us thinking you may have had to miss your monitoring that day and wondering what was or was not present. We can still learn from you about any disturbances and human activities on the beach even if there are no birds to report. We will target our field staff to sites more appropriately with a more complete picture of what is or is not going on. We can also add to historic data from past years - for example, if a given beach now has no Piping Plovers during the entire 2017 season and this is the third year in a row after decades of the species breeding there then we will know with even more certainty that there is a problem that needs to be addressed at that site.

Please remember this throughout the season and send us a report each time after you monitor. While we would much rather read a wonderful account of so many of our species being recorded by all of you we still need to receive monitoring data even when no birds are found whatsoever. That negative data goes a long way in helping us understand, protect and help Connecticut's coastal waterbirds.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Fencing Completed at Pleasure Beach

While we have a few public string fencing and signage dates - including at Bluff Point State Park in Groton on Thursday, April 13 at 10:00am which all are welcome to attend and help with - we also have our staff hard at work doing the same at other locations. Today we completed Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport, getting it all set for the birds that we were fortunate to find already there.




 
This male Piping Plover was with his mate on the western end of Pleasure Beach, and hopefully we will have a pair nesting there once again this spring. They looked as if they were making the spot their home, and while we only saw them foraging along the water we noted plenty of tracks in the dune. 
 




Three American Oystercatchers, two males competing for one female, were also very vocal and seen throughout our time on the beach. We are hopeful our Bridgeport WildLife Guards will have plenty to watch at Pleasure Beach later this summer, and that you visit us all in a few months!

Monday, April 10, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Volunteer Update #1

This is the first weekly update by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (AAfCW) for the 2017 season. Today's update includes reports of Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher through 1:00 p.m. on April 10 with sightings of birds by volunteers and staff since our official start day on April 1.

Informational updates:

In this first weekly Monday update for our season you will find pertinent information and reminders plus data from our volunteers and staff members that have already hit the beach this year.

We have one more spring fencing date open to the public at Bluff Point State Park in Groton on Thursday, April 13 at 10:00am with a rain date of 4/18. We will meet in the parking area and CT DEEP will shuttle people out to the beach. Please RSVP if you can make it to help out if you have not already. Remember that any and all volunteers are welcome including those who are not monitors. Volunteers should bring: work gloves, water, a snack, appropriate footwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and whatever else you may need avoid too much sun. Our beaches can either be quite cool or very warm depending on the day so dress for any weather. A pocket knife or multi-tool can be handy and a sledge hammer or mallet can be helpful to bring. Plan for heavy lifting and toting, but be mindful of your safety. Less intensive work needed includes stringing posts and putting up signs. Please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you can make it.

Identification badges are currently being distributed by CT DEEP. Paperwork for those who did not get a chance to sign up at training in March will be ready soon and sent via email as well as posted publicly in our blog. When you submit this information DEEP will provide you with a badge. Thank you to all the new monitors who attended field training this past Sunday, and if you could not attend or still require extra help please let us know. Additionally, if we were waiting to schedule you with your flexible availability, or you have only recently signed up, please finalize your monitoring schedule as soon as you can.

Also please remember to provide your license plate and mailing address by email to ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you are going to monitor at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven and do not have a resident sticker.

It should be a beautiful week to start monitoring! Birds are being seen copulating and nesting should commence in the near future. Enjoy your time at the shore and please let us know if you have any questions.

Survey and monitoring updates:

Piping Plover
5 adults at Long Beach on 4/1
3 adults at Hammonasset on 4/2
2 pairs, 2 adults at Milford Point on 4/2
1 pair, 2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/2
1 adult at Long Beach on 4/2
3 pairs, 3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/3
3 pairs, 3 adults at Bluff Point on 4/5
3 pairs, 2 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/5
4 pairs at Long Beach on 4/5
2 pairs, 8 adults at Long Beach on 4/5
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/7
5 pairs, 4 adults at Milford Point/NWR on 4/8
8 pairs at Milford Point on 4/9
5 adults at Milford Point on 4/9
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/10

American Oystercatcher
1 pair at Hammonasset on 4/2
2 pairs at Milford Point on 4/2
3 adults at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/2
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/3
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/5
1 pair at Griswold Point on 4/5
1 pair at Bluff Point on 4/5
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/5
2 pairs at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/5
1 pair at Long Beach on 4/5
1 adult at Pleasure Beach on 4/7
5 pairs at Milford Point/NWR on 4/8
1 adult at Silver Sands State Park on 4/8
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/9
3 pairs at Milford Point on 4/9
2 pairs, 1 adult at Sandy/Morse Points on 4/10

This concludes update #1 through 4/10/17 as of 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Fencing Continues

Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered to assist us with string fencing and signage for our waterbirds at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven on Monday and at Griswold Point in Old Lyme today! We now have two public dates left and could still use your help at:
  • Stratford's Long Beach on Friday, April 7 at 10:00am with a rain date of 4/10. We will meet in the far west end of the parking lot.
  • Bluff Point State Park in Groton on Thursday, April 13 at 10:00am with a rain date of 4/18. We will meet in the parking area and CT DEEP will shuttle people out to the beach.

Please RSVP if you can make it to help out at one or both events if you have not already. We will notify you ASAP if these dates are to be postponed. Remember that any and all volunteers are welcome including those who are not monitors. Volunteers should bring: work gloves, water, a snack, appropriate footwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and whatever else you may need avoid too much sun. These locations can either be quite cool or very warm depending on the day so dress for any weather. A pocket knife or multi-tool can be handy and a sledge hammer or mallet can be helpful to bring. Plan for heavy lifting and toting, but be mindful of your safety. Less intensive work needed includes stringing posts and putting up signs. Please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you can make it.

Here are some photos from Monday's work...










 









Our season is getting underway now as Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers continue to arrive and breeding activities commence. A huge thank you once again to those who have helped, will be joining us at an upcoming date, or at working hard at monitoring your beach. New monitors, don't forget to join us at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven this Sunday, April 9 from 10am-12pm if you would like additional field training.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Fencing Reminder

Good morning all! This is a reminder that we have three fencing dates coming up this week plus one next week:

  • Sandy/Morse Point's fencing date is Monday, April 3 at 10:00am in West Haven with a rain date of 4/6. We will meet in the parking lot.
  • Griswold Point's fencing date is Wednesday, April 5 in Old Lyme at 9:45am. To minimize vehicles traveling to the Point it is best to meet the group at the I-95 exit 70 commuter parking lot by 9:30am to carpool over.
  • Stratford's Long Beach fencing date is Friday, April 7 at 10:00am with a rain date of 4/10. We will meet in the far west end of the parking lot.
  • Bluff Point State Park in Groton has a fencing date of Thursday, April 13 at 10:00am and a rain date of 4/18. We will meet in the parking area and CT DEEP will shuttle people out to the beach.

Please RSVP if you can make it to help out at one or multiple events if you have not already. We will notify you ASAP if these dates are to be postponed. Remember that any and all volunteers are welcome including those who are not monitors. Volunteers should bring: work gloves, water, a snack, appropriate footwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and whatever else you may need avoid too much sun. These locations can either be quite cool or very warm depending on the day so dress for any weather. A pocket knife or multi-tool can be handy and a sledge hammer or mallet can be helpful to bring. Plan for heavy lifting and toting, but be mindful of your safety. Less intensive work needed includes stringing posts and putting up signs. Please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you can make it to any or all of these dates, and thank you!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fencing Dates and Correction/Additional Updates

As Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers continue to trickle in to our colder than usual March shores we have a lot to cover before official monitoring begins this weekend. Fencing dates have been established for the spring, and we'd appreciate all the help we can get!

  • Griswold Point's fencing date is actually Wednesday, April 5 and we ask volunteers to meet at Griswold Point in Old Lyme at 9:45am or the I-95 exit 70 commuter parking lot by 9:30am to carpool over.
  • Sandy/Morse Point's fencing date is Monday, April 3 at 10:00am in West Haven with a rain date of 4/6. We will meet in the parking lot.
  • Stratford's Long Beach fencing date is Friday, April 7 at 10:00am with a rain date of 4/10. We will meet in the far west end of the parking lot.
  • Bluff Point State Park in Groton has a fencing date of Thursday, April 13 at 10:00am and a rain date of 4/18. We will meet in the parking area and CT DEEP will shuttle people out to the beach.

We will notify you ASAP if these dates are to be postponed. Remember that any and all volunteers are welcome including those who are not monitors. Volunteers should bring: work gloves, water, a snack, appropriate footwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and whatever else you may need avoid too much sun. These locations can either be quite cool or very warm depending on the day so dress for any weather. A pocket knife or multi-tool can be handy and a sledge hammer or mallet can be helpful to bring. Plan for heavy lifting and toting, but be mindful of your safety. Less intensive work needed includes stringing posts and putting up signs. Please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you can make it to any or all of these dates, and thank you!

Other important notes today include...

  • We are awaiting the additional volunteer documents from CT DEEP for those who did not receive them at training or signed up recently. They will be coming from DEEP soon, and we'll send them out and post them when received.
  • Scheduling continues, and if you have not yet scheduled your monitoring this year, please do so now! We are about to start our season.
  • Were you unable to attend training and need extra help? Please consider attending the volunteer field training for new monitors at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven on Sunday, April 9, 10:00am-12:00pm. Additionally, we can set you up with a member of our field staff to meet you on the beach - please let us know!
  • A video of our March 4th training will soon be made available so that you can view it as a refresher or as a monitor who was unable to attend the session. We will email a link to it when it is ready.
  • Are you a monitor at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven, or will you be helping us there later with fireworks coverage or fencing removal? Please let us know and email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com with your snail mail address and vehicle license plate information so that we can submit it to West Haven. They will send you a parking pass that can be used only for monitoring purposes. This parking pass is necessary as staff at a kiosk will need to see it or be paid a fee which we cannot cover beginning later this year.
  • Keep in mind that rising and high tides at Griswold Point and Milford Point can cut the beaches and sand bars off from the mainland. Please be aware of this when venturing out and that it is often better to visit near low tide for the safety of the birds as well.
  • Also please remember that with the continuing often inclement early spring weather conditions we want to stay home if the temperature is below 50 degrees, it is quite windy, or if it is precipitating.
  • Lastly, it seems Optimum email accounts are rejecting all of our emails. If you or a friend have not received them this is why. We will be contacting you otherwise and potentially you can use another email to receive information. However, rest assured that your emails are being received on our end, and that you can still submit data this way or by the electronic form while reading all of these updates in our blog.

Thank you all, and as always, please reach out to us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com for anything. We hope to see you at a fencing date soon!

Friday, March 17, 2017

AAfCW 2017 Scheduling, Dates & General News

Good afternoon all!

Our first Piping Plovers arrived back in Connecticut at Milford Point on Monday. However, the blizzard and now potentially more snow this weekend will keep others to the south, and any birds that have already arrived will be strictly foraging. It should be some time before we see any nesting activity, and we can continue to prepare until we officially begin monitoring in April. Please submit your monitoring schedules to us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com so we can hopefully have most volunteers penciled in to dates and AM/PM slots at our beaches by around April 1.

Piping Plover in West Haven in spring 2016


Even if you could not attend training with AAfCW and CT DEEP then you can still help us! Email us back at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com so we can set you up with one of our seasonal staff for training, and we will also complete the necessary paperwork.

On that note, CT DEEP will be preparing the documents to be made available electronically soon. We are waiting for proper email addresses and contact information to be included in them. Once they are set we will email them to you if you still need a waiver form or wish to review more of what we discussed in training. We will also make them available here in our blog and remove any older and non-applicable information. Additionally, we will be making a webinar/audio recording of the training available for anyone as a refresher or those who could not attend.

There are a couple of important dates to keep in mind:

-On the morning of April 4 we will be looking for volunteers to help AAfCW, CT DEEP and The Nature Conservancy set up string fencing and signage at Griswold Point in Old Lyme. We will send you more details soon, but please save the date and email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com if you can help! Other dates at additional beaches will be scheduled by CT DEEP shortly.

-CT DEEP and AAfCW will host field training for new monitors at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven on Sunday, April 9, from 10AM to noon. We will walk the beach and see Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, and likely other shorebirds while discussing more of the details of monitoring. Please let us know if you'll be joining us by sending us an email at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com. This session is specifically for first-time volunteers and will certainly help you get a feel for effective and safe beach monitoring.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions, and we will update you again soon as we near the beginning of our field season.

Thank you all!
Scott Kruitbosch
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator

Monday, January 30, 2017

Volunteers Needed for Shorebird Monitoring 2017


The Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds/CT DEEP 2017 monitoring and stewardship season is about to begin! Please see below for details, and please pass this along to any new volunteers you feel would be interested in joining us. We hope all our past monitors will be returning this year after yet another record-setting season in 2017. We can only keep this success going with your help!

Spend your summer days at the beach and help protect a federally threatened species! The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds are seeking volunteers to monitor Piping Plovers and other shorebirds from early April until late August at beaches across our state.  A training and orientation session for new volunteers will be held on Saturday, March 4th 2017 (Snow date of Sunday, March 5th) from 10:30am to 12:00pm at the Audubon Connecticut Office at Stratford Point, 1207 Prospect Drive, Stratford, CT 06615; past volunteers will be offered a refresher from 9:00am to 10:15am.  The sessions will review the following: biology of the piping plover, how to monitor breeding pairs and chicks, volunteer organization and logistics, and law enforcement information. There are some changes to the process this year and attendance by everyone planning to join us for the 2017 season is important. 


Photos by Mark Rivadeneyra.

Atlantic Coast populations of Piping Plovers return to the Connecticut coast in March from their wintering grounds on the Gulf Coast and Caribbean. The cryptic nests of the piping plover are extremely susceptible to human disturbance, predation, and tidal wash outs. To enhance the survival and productivity of birds breeding in Connecticut, volunteers work at locations across the shoreline to observe the shorebirds, record and report nesting data, and educate the beach-going public about the monitoring program. Volunteers work 4 hour shifts from April until the end of the breeding season (usually in August) and must donate a minimum of 4 hours per month. The work can be very rewarding, as volunteers will have the opportunity to positively affect the nesting success of threatened shorebirds across the state.

For more information on the training session or for directions, please email the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com.  Reservations are not required; but an e-mail letting us know you will be attending is appreciated.

This training session is co-sponsored by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds (Audubon Connecticut, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History and the Connecticut Audubon Society) and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.