Monday, August 16, 2010

White-tailed Kite Day 16

The White-tailed Kite continues! Our own Dr. Twan Leenders reported that, as usual, it was hunting at Stratford Point this morning. I will be there this evening as more visitors stop by for a chance to see it up close. Last night was the first evening since August 7th that it did not return to hunt for one last meal, disappointing many people who could only see it about 1.25 miles away on the cedar trees of Milford Point before it flew off for the night. I am sure everyone remembers the two battles the kite has had with juvenile Peregrine Falcons. The first was an unbanded young falcon, while the second had a band I was able to read to send into the DEP.

You may be able to see the band on the leg of the Peregrine, just a dark larger than usual blob on its left leg, in the shot above. Julie Victoria of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection banded this bird at the nest box on May 25, 2010. It was at the NRG energy plant that is in the Devon section of Milford, Connecticut. This is only three to four miles up the Housatonic River, which of course forms the estuary that Stratford and Milford Points surround. Julie also told me that, due to construction, she has not been able to band the young Peregrines from the nest box in Bridgeport that is on the I-95 bridge. She surmises that the unbanded juvenile attacker is likely from this nest.

Peregrine Falcons are known to move about quite a bit, though it was not too much of a surprise to learn this young raptor was still close to its birthplace. One Peregrine I had at Long Beach in Stratford on January 3, 2009 was a female who was banded on a building in Providence, Rhode Island in May 8, 2006. Tracking the dispersal of young is important beyond our curiosity, too. It will be fascinating to see if the banded individual remains in the area.

Finally, here is some other information on Connecticut Audubon Society events at Milford Point from CAS Coastal Center Director Frank Gallo - maybe you will see the kite up close while in a canoe!

It was a full house on our canoe tour, Saturday, with 10 canoes and 3 kayaks joining us. Late summer and fall are exiting times to paddle the marsh; you just never know what will turn up. Saturday's intrepid paddlers were treated to great views of roosting herons and egrets, including 17 Yellow-crowned Night-Herons (our high so far this season), 1 Black-crowned Night Heron, 9 Great Egrets, 1 Snowy Egret, as well as quick looks at a Saltmarsh Sparrow and views of a number of different shorebirds. The swallow migration is in full swing, and Barn Swallows along with a few Tree Swallows were streaming by during the entire trip. Ospreys were everywhere and our resident young Red-tailed Hawk was screaming to be fed from the trees near Court Street.

Our next canoe tour is Aug. 28, 12:45-3:15 p.m. It is filling quickly, so please call soon if you would like to reserve a space. There are several tours in September, and the full fall schedule is listed on the Coastal Center's page on the right. There will be a special fall foliage tour on Sunday, October 24, 11:00-1:30 p.m. that should also be good for waterfowl. We're looking forward to it. If you're planning to attend the Stratford Bird Festival on Saturday, September 25, spaces have been reserved for birders on our 11:30-2 p.m. canoe tour.

Our first birding class of the fall is:
Sorting Out Bird Songs
Wednesday, September 15, 7 – 9 p.m.
Birdsong can be an incredible aid to finding and identifying birds. Instructor Frank Gallo, an avid student of birdsong, will introduce the basics of birding by ear, using sound resources, as well as the tips, tricks, and even pitfalls to identifying birds by sound. Is that an oriole or a tanager singing? Could that be a hermit thrush calling or a catbird? Come find out, as we delve into the basics of birding by ear. Meet at the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center at Milford Point. Fee: $35.

...and our first Charles’s Island walks are:

Charles Island Explorations
Wednesday, September 8 at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 12 at 8:00 a.m.

Check the Coastal Center's page for details or call Louise at 203-878-7440 x 502

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

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