Thursday, September 20, 2012

White Ibis

Earlier in September, John Oshlick found a juvenile White Ibis at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven, one of our monitoring sites for the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds. It spent some time on the mudflats and in the nearby creek and marsh while many birders enjoyed good views of it. Keith Mueller took these great shots, thanks to him for letting us share them with you!

This is a long-legged wader we would not expect to record in Connecticut. The species is a resident of the southeastern U.S., and one you'd expect to find on the Gulf Coast or the Atlantic coast only possibly as far north as the Carolinas on a regular basis. Vagrants like this bird travel north on southwesterly winds for the most part, conditions we have seen a lot of lately and typically do in late summer as they precede some of the major cold fronts that bring us that first taste of fall. We have had particularly strong flows in place about four times in the last few weeks, and for the most part Connecticut has been quiet in terms of rare bird sightings. This bird will make its way back "home" on the northwest winds of those cold fronts, following the coast back the other direction and stopping at helpful sites like Sandy/Morse Points along the way.

Nevertheless, keep your eyes open for unexpected shorebirds, terns, and waders during your Intentional Shorebird Surveys and other birding, and please let us know if you find something intriguing.

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

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