Thursday, March 3, 2011

First Wednesday Walk - American Oystercatcher

Yesterday I led the First Wednesday Walk for the New Haven Bird Club. On the first Wednesday of each month they organize a free and public bird walk in a variety of areas. This month it was my own Stratford, including the Stratford Great Meadows Important Bird Area and the CAS managed Stratford Point IBA. I definitely recommend joining them for a walk in April or May or whenever you can. We had 25 participants fight through bitterly cold wind to see 41 species, with the highlight (in my opinion at least!) being an early American Oystercatcher. The species is normally not seen back in Connecticut for another week or two. The healthy and happy individual was yet another example of birds returning earlier each spring.

I did not snap any photos of that bird, but here is a photo and a video of one at Stratford Point back in April of 2009. If you want more information on the species and their struggle in Connecticut check out the Connecticut Audubon Society State of the Birds 2008
report (in .pdf form).

American Oystercatcher from Connecticut Audubon Society.

Another highlight came while only Tina Green and I were left at Stratford Point. I spotted an American Kestrel soaring in from Long Island Sound, subsequently landing on a telephone pole on our property. It was a migrant making a pit stop. For crazed hawkwatchers like myself, it is hard to top seeing a raptor come in off the water and stop in front of you for a break on its journey north. Here is the full list of 41 species:

1. Brant
2. Canada Goose
3. Mute Swan
4. Gadwall
5. American Wigeon
6. American Black Duck
7. Mallard
8. Long-tailed Duck
9. Common Goldeneye
10. Hooded Merganser
11. Red-breasted Merganser
12. Common Loon
13. Northern Harrier
14. Red-tailed Hawk
15. American Kestrel
16. Peregrine Falcon
17. Killdeer
18. American Oystercatcher
19. Sanderling
20. Dunlin
21. American Woodcock
22. Ring-billed Gull
23. Herring Gull
24. Great Black-backed Gull
25. Rock Pigeon
26. Mourning Dove
27. Monk Parakeet
28. Downy Woodpecker
29. Blue Jay
30. American Crow
31. Black-capped Chickadee
32. Carolina Wren
33. American Robin
34. Northern Mockingbird
35. European Starling
36. Song Sparrow
37. Red-winged Blackbird
38. Common Grackle
39. Boat-tailed Grackle
40. House Finch
41. House Sparrow

Photo and video © Scott Kruitbosch

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