Friday, January 13, 2012

Rare birds in the water

Many Connecticut birders are starting their 2012 by taking ferry crossings of Long Island Sound from New London to Orient Point to see sometimes dozens of Razorbills, a few Black-legged Kittiwake, and even a Common Murre! One has been seen repeatedly in Connecticut waters, representing the second...third...fourth? and so on...Connecticut record(s). It has yet to be sorted out, though several were seen in total on a recent trip in both Connecticut and New York waters.

It is out of season, but this made me think of a short local trip taken by our Senior Director of Science and Conservation Milan Bull in late September as he took his skiff through the Wheeler Marsh at the CAS Coastal Center at Milford Point. He found some fantastic birds in only a couple of hours, in terms of both species and numbers. It is already known as one of the best places in the state for birds and birding, but watching from our tower or down on the beach often doesn't even begin to show how wonderful the marsh is.

Here are some of his notable birds:
Green-winged Teal  42
American Bittern  1
Least Bittern  1
Great Blue Heron  5
Great Egret  7
Black-crowned Night-Heron  3
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  2
Northern Harrier  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
Clapper Rail  3
Sora  60
Marsh Wren  32
Saltmarsh Sparrow  15
Bobolink  25

Even Connecticut experts can be happy with seeing one Sora a year, forget 60+ on one day! He thought there were likely many more. The same can be said for a Least Bittern, and the great views of an American Bittern he was able to get. 32 Marsh Wren is also a ridiculous total. I wonder what is left out there right now in this warm winter. I hope all of you remember this for next season and join the Coastal Center staff for a canoe trip through the marsh. It will be a pleasant thought as arctic air settles in to Connecticut this weekend.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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