March is known for starting migratory movement, but the incredible +20-25 degree temperature deviation that occurred in the region yesterday only helped spur on even more birds our way. There have been multiple reports of Piping Plover, Osprey, Tree Swallows, Pine Warblers, Eastern Phoebes, and so forth arriving already, before we hit the midpoint of the month. I will let the incredible "heat wave" play out before analyzing that and its obvious effect on our environment (do you see all the trees with buds and flowers everywhere?!), but here are a few shots of birds coming and going around Stratford Point in the last week.
This Snow Bunting was one of a bunch on the way north. I do not think we will be seeing any more until fall after this...
Here is a record shot of three Northern Shovelers, a pleasant surprise last Sunday. I spotted another drake a few moments after I took that, and a hen has been seen as well as all five seem content to stick around in Long Island Sound. They are an uncommon find, though even more so in this spot, and quite rare for Stratford Point.
This pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds is feeding on the freshly burned grasslands, which have drawn in Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, American Robins, and of course unfortunate pests in the form of the European Starling. Killdeer have also been seen wandering over the blackened earth. It will be fascinating to see what else is attracted to the changed habitat.
Finally, this Song Sparrow may be a resident, or it may not, as many of the species and other wintering sparrows filter back to the north. Their numbers have increased while birds like the American Tree Sparrow are seen out of place, quietly moving back to their northern homes before the big waves of migrants commence flight.
All photos © Scott Kruitbosch and not to be reproduced without explicit permission