Monday, June 4, 2012

Uncommon breeders at Trout Brook Valley

In this update concerning our ongoing conservation study, research, and analysis at the Trout Brook Valley Conservation Area of the Aspetuck Land Trust I wanted to highlight a couple uncommonly seen breeding species in Connecticut. We have encountered some species late into May that are likely on territory and others that would not be present if they were not attempting to nest. These finds are important in several ways, whether they are conservation priorities, because they indicate high quality or other notable habitat, or because we just do not find them nesting in any significant widespread manner in our state. This holds especially true of the largely developed and heavily populated Fairfield County.

We knew Acadian Flycatchers historically bred in some areas just north of the Bradley Road entrance. However, we did not expect to see sometimes two or three pairs and even more individuals passing through. You would have a hard time not hearing a singing male during most of our surveys in May.

I took a photo of this guy in between calls in the dark woodlands on May 13.

I knew the Jump Hill section of Trout Brook Valley had a good chance at landing a specific target, one that would be drawn in to the dense understory formed by the invasive Japanese Barberry. I succeeded in acquiring it but could only snap off this poor record shot of a singing male Hooded Warbler on May 23 as it dashed between perches on a showery day.

He was a real stunner. Let's hope he can find a mate. Deer have devastated the landscape of the county to the degree that few ground and low-level woodland species can nest successfully each season. Managing the deer and the vegetation on the forest floor will be a priority in the future after the invasive plant species have been removed for Trout Brook Valley and much of the state of Connecticut.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

All photos © Scott Kruitbosch and not to be reproduced without explicit permission

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