Birds have begun to return but for the most part migration has been slowed by the uncooperative flow and poor conditions. While we may think they are "behind" they are probably right on track compared to the long-term arrival dates. We had a Piping Plover show up very early in Connecticut on March 5 at Long Beach in Stratford, but that has been the only bird in the state! Last year we had multiple birds and pairs beginning breeding season at Long Beach, the CAS Coastal Center at Milford Point, Sandy/Morse Points in West Haven, Harkness Memorial State Park, and Bluff Point State Park, all before March 20. That does not seem likely to happen in the next couple of days, and it was probably helped a great deal by the warm conditions in place in 2012.
Ospreys and Tree Swallows are among some of the other birds that have trickled in and been reported infrequently. They are far from widespread as of yet but both should be soon enough. Swallows in particular have to be careful during freezing conditions or else they will have very little prey available. Other early migrants like Killdeer have popped up in inland areas and some of the more rare species like the Northern Shoveler or Short-eared Owl have done the same. CAS Senior Director of Science and Conservation Milan Bull spotted a first of year Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in Stratford's Great Meadows Marsh last week, but even the waders have been slow in returning. Great Blue Herons seem relatively widespread but Great and Snowy Egrets still have yet to arrive in appreciable numbers. The remainder of March should be near climate averages and, for us, rather cold. We will see what the birds think of it.