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.

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