Saturday, April 12, 2014

Beach training a success

Thank you to all of the monitors who attended the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection training on how to monitor Piping Plovers and Least Terns at Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven today. Members of CT DEEP staff along with Audubon Connecticut and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History met with volunteers on the beach on a beautiful Saturday morning with the sun shining brightly on the shore.

As we spent a couple of hours walking the entirety of the Important Bird Area we discovered four pairs of American Oystercatchers plus one adult and three pairs of our main target, the Piping Plover, with three more adults joining them. Laura Saucier and Rebecca Foster of CT DEEP discussed the finer points of how to approach these birds, their biology, counting them safely, educating the public, and more.

The perfect weather allowed us to safely view the target birds - who are still pairing up and beginning to get territorial at this point of the cooler than usual spring season - and chat while spotting all sorts of other species. Great and Snowy Egrets fed in the early morning. An Osprey flew over carrying a large stick to make its nest. A Northern Gannet came far closer than usual flying directly over the beach. Various waterfowl like Atlantic Brant, Red-breasted Merganser, Greater Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye and more swam offshore. A Merlin hunted the area as we left.

If you need to contact us regarding anything discussed today or with any other questions or comments please email us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com. We want to again thank all of our monitors for their hard work all spring and summer on Connecticut's shoreline. None of this could be done without you! We also thank the Long Island Sound Futures Fund and Audubon New York for their continuing support.

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