Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stratford Point bird list

You may have read this detailed account of the Adaptive Coastal Habitat Restoration plan for the Stratford Point property by our Conservation Biologist, Dr. Twan Leenders. Part of the plan is collecting baseline and historical data. We have done some of this baseline bird work since moving in to manage the site about 2 1/2 years ago. I have been actively collecting data from historic accounts and sightings from birders who frequented the general area over the years. We need your help! If you have bird records for Stratford Point or the mouth of the Housatonic River we would love to have your data and information. Here is our list so far, filled with rarities but with some obvious birds missing (Eastern Bluebird is a great example). Significant subspecies and hybrids are italicized.

Snow Goose
"Atlantic" Brant
"Black" Brant
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
American Black Duck x Mallard
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
King Eider
Common Eider
Harlequin Duck
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Common Goldeneye
Common x Barrow's Goldeneye
Barrow's Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Western Grebe
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Northern Gannet
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Cormorant
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Northern Goshawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Clapper Rail
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
American Golden-Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet (Eastern)
Willet (Western)
Lesser Yellowlegs
Marbled Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Red Knot
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
American Woodcock
Bonaparte's Gull
Black-headed Gull
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Sooty Tern
Least Tern
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Roseate Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Black Skimmer
Parasitic Jaeger
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Monk Parakeet
Snowy Owl
Short-eared Owl
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Northern Shrike
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Cave Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Lapland Longspur
Smith's Longspur
Snow Bunting
Blue-winged Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
White-winged Crossbill
Common Redpoll
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Evening Grosbeak
House Sparrow

Amazing, isn't it? Please help us flesh this list out even further.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sand Eels and Egrets

In the last couple of weeks there have been high numbers of Great Egret and Snowy Egret feeding in the mouth of the Housatonic River. We notice this regularly from our positions at the Coastal Center at Milford Point and the CAS-managed Stratford Point. There are always some birds present in June as they wander from breeding sites like Charles Island to feed. However, this year there have been days with well over 100 Great Egret and 75 Snowy Egret seen simultaneously with more flying in and out of the area.

So what makes this year special? Our best guess is the high number of sand eels. CAS Senior Director of Science and Conservation Milan Bull tells me that fishermen have been reporting large quantities of sand eels, especially in western Long Island Sound. Some have said it is more than they have ever seen. These sand eels provide food not only for egrets but also gulls, terns, and cormorants. There was a large group of sand eels right near the shore of Stratford Point last Thursday, and I took these photos while conducting a survey.

Look carefully at the next two photos - you can see these Great Egrets have sand eels in their bills.


Those birds were only a small fraction of the total number present that morning. Isn't it amazing that the number of birds we record on our surveys can be driven by typically unseen prey in the water?

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Housatonic Community College students continue research at CAS Larsen Sanctuary

The following post and images are contributed by Dr. Tony Pappantoniou of Housatonic Community College:

The summer of 2010 presented a unique opportunity for a group of students from Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport. Although many of our students express an interest in pursuing careers in environmental science and biology, most of our students have never experienced doing biological fieldwork. In cooperation with the Connecticut Audubon Society, a fieldwork experience was undertaken by four students under the direction of Dr. Tony Pappantoniou of the Math and Science Department of Housatonic Community College. The focus of this experience was a biological survey of streams located at the Roy and Margot Larsen Sanctuary.
Students Jason Van Fleet, Jennifer Guime, Melvin Gordils photographing and measuring fish

The summer field experience had a dual purpose: 1) introduce a group of community college students to methods of fieldwork and 2) have the students collect data on stream fish populations. Student volunteers learned techniques of collecting and identifying fish and gathering the data a biologist would require to assess a fish population. Several different species of fish were collected, identified and photographed. A warm-water fish community populates the streams of the Larson Sanctuary. Fish species collected included: largemouth bass, pumpkinseed and bluegill sunfish, redfin pickerel and the american eel. Starting with our first fieldtrip in June and ending with our last trip in August, length data on largemouth bass was collected for population analysis. Data were collected on about 75 largemouth, all young-of-the-year, and it appears that there is a strong breeding population of largemouth at the sanctuary.

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

In addition to our fish collecting, students observed a variety of amphibians and reptiles that form part of the community at the Larsen Sanctuary. Red efts, green frogs (both adult and tadpole), spring peepers, american toads, garter snakes and painted turtles, all crossed our path as we walked through the streams and woods of the Larsen Sanctuary.

American Eel

Fieldwork will continue during summer 2011, with old students coming back for a second summer and some new students joining in. This summer we are expanding our studies to include data on the turtle population(s) of the sanctuary. Opportunities like this offer students an experience collecting biological data with real world applications.

The student research team from HCC: Jennifer Guime, Michael Beletzkie, Melvin Gordils, Jason Van Fleet

I would like to thank Mr. Robert Martinez, President of Connecticut Audubon and Dr. Twan Leenders, Conservation Biologist, for their invaluable assistance and advice in creating this field experience for the students of Housatonic Community College.

Dr. Tony Pappantoniou
Assistant Professor of Biology
Housatonic Community College

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gyrfalcon Insights

Connecticut has several records of Gyrfalcons. It is the largest falcon in the world, and would stand out considerably compared to the more commonly known Peregrine Falcon. There has not been one in the state for 15 years, and obviously they are very rare here. The photos in this entry are of a falconer's Gyrfalcon that was at Stratford Point last year during the Great Stratford Bird Festival.

They spend their lives primarily in the Arctic and Canada. Some of these far-northern species can be somewhat tough to study, with parts of their life history still an unknown to scientists. Nevertheless, this article was an incredible read: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/13791688

The entire life of the Gyrfalcon was apparently very misunderstood as they spend a great deal of time at sea. They travel incredible distances and require a large habitat of ocean and ice. This sort of revelation shows you how much more work needs to be done on countless bird species. Connecticut Audubon Society's Science and Conservation staff works every day to expand the knowledge of our state's habitat and wildlife. This is a terrific, albeit distant, example of what can be found with the proper resources, management, and effort. It is only a matter of time before we can share some of our own amazing discoveries.

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eurasian Collared-Doves breeding

The story of the Eurasian Collared-Doves found in Stratford a couple of weeks ago goes on. The very next day after their discovery they were seen by multiple observers carrying nesting material to one of the pine trees near the entrance to Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford. This would represent the first breeding record for the species in Connecticut, and even more amazingly, for all of New England. Later that week they were seen copulating, confirming the nest-building observations.

We have been watching the birds whenever possible. They still seem to prefer that same stand of pines, and the right-most tree. They are very difficult to see in there, however. Additionally, since we do not want to trespass on to government property, views are limited to the roadway. As of now the doves are seen off and on, most of the time flying in or out of the area to feed in other locations around the airport or nearby neighborhoods.

The man who first found the pair, Frank Mantlik, provided us with these photos of the doves and their efforts at nest-building.

Photos © Frank Mantlik

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Nature Conservancy funds development of adaptive coastal restoration plan for Stratford Point

This week, Connecticut Audubon Society received a contract from The Nature Conservancy to develop an Adaptive Coastal Habitat Restoration plan for the Stratford Point property, owned by DuPont/Sporting Goods Properties but managed by CAS. All summer CAS Science & Conservation staff and graduate and undergraduate research assistants from Sacred Heart University, Connecticut College and UCONN will be working in the coastal grassland management area on Stratford Point to collect baseline data on the physical structure of the site, its vegetation and the animals that utilize the habitat.

Jennifer Gazerro, a graduate student from Sacred Heart University records plant data
from a sample quadrant at Stratford Point.

In addition, similar surveys will be carried out in comparable reference sites such as Milford Point. These studies will provide a series of benchmarks and other success measures that can be used later to gauge whether habitat management practices at Stratford Point provide the desired results.

Students collect baseline data from established coastal habitats, such as at the CAS Smith-Hubbel
Wildlife Refuge at Milford Point for comparison.

Field work for this project has just begun and will continue throughout the growing season and fall migration. Initial plant surveys revealed three patches of Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa) in the upland section of Stratford that have really taken off in recent years. This native cactus is included in Connecticut's Endangered and Threatened Species list as a species of Special Concern. Ultimately, our management plan will be tailored to promote the development and management of suitable habitat for conservation concern species like this one. You will undoubtedly hear much more about our findings in the months ahead.

Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa) is a native cactus protected under the CT Endangered
Species Act. It can be locally common in coastal habitats but its distribution is highly fragmented.

Photos copyright Twan Leenders

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Common Goldeneye and June oddities

There have been a couple of notable rarities seen in Connecticut this June. However, what has interested me even more than that have been sightings of more common Connecticut species…but birds that are not typical in the month of June. One example of this came in the first week of the month when Frank Mantlik reported a Cape May Warbler singing in his yard. This conspicuous bird would have been noticed had it been present before that day. When I checked eBird I saw there were no records of the species in June in Connecticut. Those are “good” birds to find, and it shows us how even after we think the typical songbird migration period is over, there are still individuals trickling through the state.

Twan found a different sort of strange summer bird on Monday at Stratford Point. It was a male Common Goldeneye, an odd duck to say the least.

The species had never been recorded in eBird in Connecticut in June, either. It seems content (for now) in the mouth of the Housatonic River, going between Stratford Point and Short Beach. It did not appear to be injured. While it allowed for close approach, it also did not appear ill – just very tired. Maybe it took a wrong turn and ended up on a long trip in the wrong direction? Quite often you find some unexpected birds that wander after a failed breeding attempt. Finding and recording oddities like these help us piece together the gigantic conservation puzzle.

Photos © Twan Leenders

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Anhinga in Hamden

On Saturday morning, Flo McBride and others conducting part of the Connecticut Ornithological Association's New Haven Summer Bird Count discovered an Anhinga on Lake Whitney in Hamden. It was sitting on a snag in the water near some Double-crested Cormorants. I headed over there quickly - this is usually a bird reported flying by a coastal location or a hawk watch, not one that sticks in a specific spot. When I was present only the most distant photos could be taken unless you had a sizable lens, but here is one of mine of the bird.

This is the first fully-documented Anhinga in Connecticut (first photographed). As you can read on the Avian Records Committee of Connecticut website here, four previous sightings have been accepted into record. This Anhinga left us sometime on Sunday.

It seems rather obvious this tremendous bird came all the way up the coast during last week's heat wave and strong southwest winds, just as the Eurasian Collared-Doves had. In New Jersey, there has been a Wood Stork making frequent appearances overhead, and on the weekend a Purple Gallinule was discovered there. There is no easier way to say it than abnormal weather brings abnormal birds.

If you are really interested in rarities you need to follow our Twitter feed located here. It is updated as fast as possible with information about strange sightings and where to see birds like the Anhinga, as it was early Saturday morning.

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

Monday, June 13, 2011

Legislative Session Closes with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Here is a message from our Senior Director of Science and Conservation and Conservation Advocate, Milan Bull:

Legislative Session Closes with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good:

At the eleventh hour, the Legislature passed three very good bills:

Recreational Liability Reform for Municipalities (H.B. 6557): will afford municipalities and municipal entities like water companies, etc. with protection almost as strong as the protection enjoyed by private landowners (individuals, land trusts, corporations, etc.) on recreational lands;

10 Mill Forest Conservation (H.B. 6263): will keep property taxes low (equivalent to the rate enjoyed by property owners in the P.A. 490 program) for landowners of 14,000 acres of forest who made a 100 year commitment to protect their lands as forest; and

Act Concerning Forestry (H.B. 6157): creates a revolving fund mechanism for DEP to recoup revenues from timber harvests on state lands that will be invested into better forest management planning and implementation.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, SB 829 An Act Establishing an Open Space Registry failed. This would have moved forward one of the key recommendations in our Connecticut State of the Birds, 2010 report. We remain undaunted however, and will take it up again in the next session.

Also failing this session was SB 832, An Act Concerning the Protection of Certain Natural Vegetation Near Rivers. We felt this bill was important, as it would have provided a much-needed buffer for migratory birds and other wildlife associated with rivers and streams. It was heavily lobbied in opposition by the homebuilder's industry.

The Ugly:

SB 1196, An Act Concerning the Conveyance of Certain Parcels of State Land (the controversial land swap bill) was passed by both the House and Senate by a considerable margin despite strong objections by environmental groups. This bill gives private developers possession of 17 state-owned acres of open space in Haddam overlooking the Connecticut River in trade for 87 wooded acres the developer owns in the Higganum section of town, away from the river next to Cockaponset State Forest, possibly setting a precedent whereby the state may trade property reserved for the public. This bill could reasonably make it more difficult to obtain private land for public use if the land can be subsequently traded away for private development. It was a bad bill that CAS opposed.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Piping Plover numbers increase

Twan wanted to share the following article: http://worldwaders.posterous.com/plover-population-up-after-25-years-of-manage

While it centers mostly on Massachusetts, it speaks to Piping Plovers across their range on the Atlantic coast. It has been 25 years since they were listed as a federally threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Through a lot of hard work and cooperation between government entities like the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, the Department of Environmental Protection, and independent groups like the Connecticut Audubon Society, things have improved. The article states that the Atlantic coast Piping Plover population has increased 234% since the beginning of their management. You can also see a table with their numbers per year along the Atlantic coast as well as Massachusetts. The population increase seems to have hit a wall, though. The Piping Plovers face so many threats, from high tides to predators to vehicles and beach-goers, that it is hard to point to one specific ongoing problem.

Connecticut Audubon Society works with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service each year to monitor the Piping Plovers. We help by educating the public on the species, assisting in the training of volunteer monitors, and working with towns and municipalities on their protection when the need arises. Please be mindful of the birds as well as the string fencing and cages placed around nest sites on Connecticut beaches and islands this summer. We thank you for your consideration and if you are interested we welcome you to join in Piping Plover monitoring activities to further their success story.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Eurasian Collared-Doves in Stratford

At 4:40PM today, Frank Mantlik found two Eurasian Collared-Doves at the airport in Stratford. They were near the entrance, and after he got some digi-binned photos, they flew off towards the east out of sight. Several birders headed down to try to relocate them. I headed back to the airport just before 6:00PM after checking out our own Stratford Point and nearby areas.

By a stroke of luck, I saw them fly into a tree near the main terminal as I slowly drove around. I knew instantly that it was them by the size, color of the wings and back, tail, and collar, even before they landed. Roy Harvey was in his car behind me and saw them in the tree after I called out. I turned the car so I could snap off as many photos as I could and get some video before they moved while emailing this news out and calling others. Apart from Frank's quick distant photos, and assuming no one else saw the birds this evening, these are the only photos and the only video of them.

Here are two so-so looks at both birds:

The video shows one bird, then the other, and then both together:

Tina Green and our own Coastal Center Director Frank Gallo arrived in time to see them. We turned away as they parked their cars for a few seconds and the doves were gone. It was silent at the time and we did not hear them fly. We would've seen them in the air in such an open area. We suspect they went behind the buildings and to inaccessible areas of the airport. We shouldn't have broken the "never turn away from a rare bird for a second" rule, but this was quite a vanishing act. One has to think it is highly likely they will be there, if anywhere, tomorrow.

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Purple Martin egg update

Things are going well at Gazebo Phil's Martin Acres by the Sea. As of today the Purple Martins in the gourd with the camera have five eggs. That may not be the final number as one egg was added today. How many do you think we will end up with? Have a look at the eggs in the screen capture below.

Please follow along with all of the action regularly. We have had so much going on this spring including gourd battles to non-breeding pair confusion to difficult weather hampering their lives. Every day we learn something new about these magnificent swallows. Connecticut Audubon Society will regularly update the right column of the page with Gazebo Phil adding in his information and thoughts in the left column. We encourage to read what is there now to learn what we as an organization are doing to help the threatened Purple Martins.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Attacking Red-tailed Hawk

Connecticut Audubon Society receives thousands of calls and emails (and now tweets!) each year from Connecticut residents on a variety of topics relating to birds and the environment. These can include birds attacking windows, injured birds, questions about nests or fledglings seemingly without a mother, a fox or coyote being seen in a yard, and so forth. We get back to each inquiry as best we can. Sometimes we receive information that requires more than just a quick reply.

On Friday, I visited a private residence in Weston to see a raptor pair that had been attacking people. Every time the homeowners went out their door, they would be attacked and even literally hit by the birds. One bird struck a woman in the head and drew blood! They told us the raptors had a nest in their yard, and this made sense, as the birds would be defending it. However, this was beyond the call of parental duty, and a dangerous and unsustainable situation. We were thinking this could be a pair of Northern Goshawks. They are known to attack humans in the manner described. The area was relatively good habitat for them, and some have bred nearby in recent years.

It turns out it was the much more common Red-tailed Hawk. When I arrived, a young bird near fledgling stage was sitting on the nest. The parents were away and things were calm. In the time it took me to go back to the car to get my camera mom had returned. She was, well, not pleased that I had come to check things out. After surviving a couple of her attacks, I readied myself and my camera, taking this video as she descended upon me.

I had to hold the camera up but focus on her, not shooting, because otherwise she might have hit me. Look how fast she moves! Even in slow motion, the speed is amazing. If I did not stay low and then duck that would have hurt. After my visit, we sent along the information to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as they will visit and see what can be done. It is likely the young bird will soon leave the nest completely and all of this will be over. Birds are always a priority to us, but human safety is paramount.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Milford Point canoe tours

Here is a message from the Coastal Center Director, Frank Gallo:

Canoe tours through the Charles E. Wheeler Salt Marsh at Milford Point begin on June 4 & 5th. This is a great opportunity to get access to the remote recesses of the marsh where elusive species such as, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Marsh Wren, and Saltmarsh Sparrow breed. Every season is different. Now is good for shorebirds, herons, and egrets. Come join the fun; no experience is necessary.

Saturday, June 4 at 12:15 p.m.- 2:45 p.m.
Sunday, June 5 at 1:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 18 at 12:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.
Saturday, July 2 at 11:15 a.m. –1:45 p.m*.
Saturday, July 16 at 11:15 a.m. –1:45 p.m*.
Saturday, July 23 at 4:15 p.m.–6:45 p.m. (evening canoe)
Saturday, July 30 at 10:15 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

Join us on a guided canoe tour of the Charles Wheeler Salt Marsh. Steeped in local history, the Marsh offers an abundance of birds and other wildlife, beautiful vistas and a chance to paddle and relax. Bring water and wear shoes that can get wet. Contact the Coastal Center for more information. Trip routes are subject to change due to weather. Wind may cause trips to be canceled, even on sunny days; please call 1-1.5 hours in advance for trip status. Advance registration required. Sign-up early for these popular tours! Inquire about tour dates in October.
(*Bring a lunch on these days)

Coastal Center Canoes
CAS Members $25/person, $65/canoe (3 people)
Non-members $35/person, $95/canoe (3 people )
Private Canoe/Kayak
$19 CAS Members, $29 Non-members

Contact Louise at 203-878-7440 x 502 to register. For a more dates see our webpage at www.ctaudubon.org and look under the Coastal Center events.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

eBird milestone and the summer lull

eBird reached a terrific milestone in May as it surpassed 3 million bird observations for the month! Check out the information at this link that I copied below: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/May_2011_Milestone

"With your help, eBird reached a new milestone this May, gathering 3,067,344 bird observations over the course of the month! Achieving our highest monthly total isn't just a fun anecdote though, it also means more data for science and conservation, and more data to share with birders around the world. As more birders begin to use eBird, our ability to deliver real-time information to the birding community improves, and the tools that we've developed work better. As data volume increases, it helps shape the direction of future eBird development. Most importantly, continued growth improves our ability to protect birds and biodiversity by getting your data into the hands of conservationists and scientists around the world. Thanks to eBirders everywhere for making May 2011 our biggest month ever--and keep birding this summer!"

They included an image showing their bird observations since May 2007 with tremendous increases each year. What stood out to me was the classic summer lull. I outlined it in the eBird image below.

Many birders crave spring migration more than any other "event" during the year, as warblers, vireos, flycatchers, etc., return. After the exhausting month ends, birds quiet down to breed, the temperature goes up, and most birders rest and enjoy a summer vacation until September. Apart from some very cold or snowy months in the winter, the summer months are the least-birded of the year. Please make an effort to get outside and find breeding birds and early-returning migrants, as some birds will be on the way south only a month from now. If you do it goes without saying eBird could really use your sightings, especially since the new beta version has the capability of recording breeding codes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

8th Annual Let the Birdies Fly Golf Tournament

Please join us for the 8th Annual Let the Birdies Fly Golf Tournament on Monday, September 26th at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. You will have the chance to play where the pros play, and while you’re at it help us raise money so we can continue with our mission to conserve Connecticut’s environment through education, advocacy and a focus on birds and their habitats. We have been doing this for more than 100 years and want to continue for the next 100 years. You’ll have a great day and we’ll all be winners. Check out our golf brochure (in PDF form) for more details and be sure to call us if you have any questions. See you at the River Highlands!