Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Help from Beardsley Zoo's Conservation Discovery Corps

It has been a hectic couple of weeks since Hurricane Irene paid Connecticut a visit, but in the week before we had a visit from the Beardsley Zoo's Conservation Discovery Corps. The teenagers in the program spend their summer working and learning at the zoo, dealing with the public and visitors, helping the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection band shorebirds, removing invasive plants, and more. They came down to Stratford Point to help me find and identify insects and birds as we add to our site list and continually work on our coastal management plans.

It did not take us long to grab some nets and head out into the field on what was a gorgeous August day. The only problem was - initially, at least - the strong Stratford Point winds. We were having a very difficult time catching dragonflies and damselflies as more and more popped up around us. We identified a lot of butterfly species and caught some to get a better look at, from Black Swallowtails to Clouded and Orange Sulphurs and of course Monarchs.

Eventually, though, they really got the hang of their nets and started snagging dragonflies quickly. Below is the first catch, a Common Green Darner.

As their name portrays they are indeed common throughout Connecticut and abundant at Stratford Point. Twan and I have seen hundreds at a time on some days in the past month. We were able to identify nearly everything we caught in the field, even sometimes confusing juveniles and females like the Twelve-spotted Skimmer one of them had captured in the photo below.

We kept looking for birds as we recorded a couple dozen Bobolink, saw a few shorebird species, separated the egrets and terns, and picked out Tree, Bank, and Barn Swallows. It is a bit late, but I want to thank all of them for coming out to Stratford Point and helping us with our nonstop survey work!
Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

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