Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stratford Point panoramas

Twan put together two fantastic panoramas of Stratford Point, both being Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene-inspired. The first is a ridiculously low tide that exposes all of the sandbars and sediment built up in the mouth of the Housatonic River. They are rising in height each year, and it will not be long before we start seeing some permanently exposed. Theoretically, this could be a great development for birds like terns, plovers, oystercatchers, and more that could rest, forage, or even nest on some.

This next photo is from around 8AM on August 29, the morning after Irene.

This was a couple hours after very low tide, -0.5 feet, but as you can see her storm surge was still pushing the water levels up and the tide was not that low. It was a memorable summer. I'll bet if we compare these photos to ones we will take next August and September we will see some major differences. Fall, winter, and spring storms await us...

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Great Stratford Bird Festival 2011

This Friday through Sunday, September 30 to October 2, is the fourth annual Great Stratford Bird Festival. As the name says, the event takes place in Stratford and most of the activity will be based out of Connecticut Audubon Society's managed Stratford Point property at 1207 Prospect Drive. There will be boat trips on the Housatonic River, live raptor demonstrations, bird walks at Stratford Point and Great Meadows Marsh, hawk watching at Boothe Park (with me, and as the weather looks right now, with a ton of raptors!), bird banding, a dinner with Phil Donahue at the Beardsley Zoo, vendors at Stratford Point, and more.

If you have been looking for an excuse to come see one of the most wondrous properties in Connecticut or see Stratford and all of its birds this weekend is a great time. Many organizations have come together to put this event on with the town of Stratford and Connecticut Audubon Society, and you can check them out with more information on the festival here:

Click here for a PDF schedule of events for the three days so you can plan out a visit. We hope to see you there!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Monday, September 26, 2011

Yellow-breasted Chat at Stratford Point

Today was an exceptional day at Stratford Point. Migrants were everywhere on the site, and Twan and I were able to come up with a long list of notable passerines for the day, with the highlights being a rare Yellow-breasted Chat and Clay-colored Sparrow. Here are photos of the cooperative Yellow-breasted Chat and a short HD video of it.

They are known to hide in thick brush and tangles, maddening observers as they are so close yet so far from sight. However, we were able to work on this bird for a while, and it eventually showed itself very well considering the species. This morning Twan thought of finding a Clay-colored Sparrow as we enter the season for one, and a few hours later I did. This afternoon we discussed finding a Yellow-breasted Chat, and an hour later I said "Twan!" quietly but excitedly as we were walking and tallying birds left and right - he knew immediately what I had seen without another word. I was not that surprised, regardless of their rare status, considering how many birds were there. Here is the complete list of only passerine migrants for the afternoon at Stratford Point:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Eastern Phoebe  5
Red-eyed Vireo  1
House Wren  2
Swainson's Thrush  1
Gray Catbird  4
Blue-winged Warbler  1
Black-and-white Warbler  1
Nashville Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  7
Northern Parula  4
Magnolia Warbler  1
Blackburnian Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  1
Blackpoll Warbler  2
Palm Warbler  2
Pine Warbler  1
Prairie Warbler  1
Yellow-breasted Chat  1
Clay-colored Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  7
Song Sparrow  3
Lincoln's Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  1
Bobolink  6

Have you seen any exciting migrant groups or fantastic birds lately? It's been a fun couple of days, with my Sunday highlight being a Golden Eagle soaring past the Boothe Park hawk watch. If you have good bird stories from the last week, tell us about them!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photos 1-2 & video © Scott Kruitbosch; photos 3-5 © Twan Leenders

Friday, September 23, 2011

Birds In Their Habitat this weekend

Connecticut Audubon Society's Center in Fairfield is bringing together talented artists from around the country who specialize in avian art during its second annual Birds In Their Habitat juried artists’ exhibition and sale. This annual event is taking place September 23-25.

Twenty one artists working in a variety of media have been selected to display and sell their works. Jury selection of participating artists was based upon technique, execution, quality and uniqueness of work. The exhibition will illustrate that wildlife artists are committed to close observation and rendering fine artworks so that others may recognize the beauty of our natural world. Media includes: painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, wood carving and fine art crafts.

In addition, Connecticut Audubon Society has selected Floyd Scholz as its 2011 “artist of the year.” A professional carver since 1983 and in his forty-first year of carving, Floyd Scholz is universally recognized as a top carver of birds in the world. His portrayal of eagles, hawks, owls and many other large birds has won him a large international following and many top awards at major shows throughout the country. When not in his studio, traveling and doing essential field studies of birds take up most of his time.

Here is a PDF file with information including the times this weekend, some of the artists, and more.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Historic raptor flight

Last Friday, September 16, I was able to be at the Boothe Park Hawk Watch site for 9 hours to witness history with a few friends. I was joined primarily by Bill Banks, Charlie Barnard, and Frank Mantlik, all birding experts who helped us bring the day's total to 8,234 raptors! Yes, eight thousand, two hundred, and thirty-four. If we had more observers, the total would have been even higher. This site is not regularly staffed by volunteers, and no one is paid to count - for the most part, it is a pleasant diversion for a few local friends. In the middle of the day, I sent out a help email to the CT birding listserv because it was only Bill Banks and me, and our necks were getting sore as hawks overwhelmed us.

It was very quiet through just after 11AM before we broke our hourly record of raptors with 892 Broad-winged Hawks between 12-1PM. This was broken with 1,278 from 1-2, and broken again with 2,887 (!) from 2-3. It looked like we would crack 3,000 from 3-4, but around 3:45, the raptors dropped off dramatically.  I believe it was because the winds eased up, allowing them to take their more normal inland course instead of being pushed to our semi-coastal site. It did not have to do with the thermals collapsing (thermals are columns of rising air that raptors ride in migration) since we still saw some extremely high raptors in the hour, including a large kettle at the limit of binocular vision. We ended that hour with 2,468 and then "just" 175 from 4-5 as they pushed further inland before stopping for the day. We had nearly 200 non-Broads as you can see below with the other birds.

Raptor migrants:
Osprey - 30
Bald Eagle - 11
Northern Harrier - 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 122
Cooper's Hawk - 12
Broad-winged Hawk - 8,041
American Kestrel - 12
Un. Buteo - 1
TOTAL - 8,234
Plus local Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, and Turkey Vulture.

Southbound migrants included:
Canada Goose 14
Green Heron  1
Chimney Swift  392* all-time high count more than doubling 09-09-2011's recent record of 183
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  6
Tree Swallow  1
Barn Swallow  2
Cedar Waxwing  34

Migrants in the park included:
Empidonax sp.  1
House Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Gray Catbird  1
Common Yellowthroat  1
Palm Warbler  1
warbler sp.  3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1

If we had another hour of powerful winds from the northwest, I do think we may have bested 10,000 raptors. Regardless, how did we get that total?! Let me explain...

It is basic hawk watching knowledge that raptors move behind fall cold fronts because winds behind these fronts are often from the west, northwest, or north. Cold fronts essentially come from low pressure systems which have a center with cyclonic motion, or counter-clockwise. You can visualize these winds spinning down from the north and west once it moves past us to our east. High pressure ushers in this cold air mass, and these highs have anti-cyclonic motion, or clockwise, with winds coming from the north and west when it is to our west. These are the perfect times for hawks to move as typically high pressure means no precipitation, sunny skies, and the perfect winds.

In this case, a strong cold front cleared us Thursday afternoon as predicted. This in itself was awesome as Twan saw hundreds of dragonflies drop in to Stratford Point suddenly along with a few birds like the first of fall for Connecticut American Pipit and an Eastern Kingbird. They were likely riding the front or putting down just in front of it, as there was precipitation along and after it.

For Friday, a strong high pressure moved in over the Great Lakes region on the perfect date, as northeast raptor expert Neil Currie has said historically that September 16 and 17 are the best dates for a Broad-winged Hawk flight. It came at a good time of day, moving in overnight and setting up in the critical location for daytime hours. This came after weeks of backing hawks up with repeated tropical cyclones passing over or by Connecticut keeping a southerly flow open. It was the perfect confluence of events.

With all of this in mind, I pestered people with the mega hawk Friday event we had coming for about a week, though I had been afraid we would have everything except the clouds. However, Boothe Park ended up perfectly positioned to receive some high clouds from an upper level disturbance to our west. I do not think these clouds made it far enough east for even the Lighthouse Point hawk watch during the critical hours on Friday. If not for that upper level disturbance, I would surmise we would have seen 25% of those hawks or less. Better to be lucky than good, huh?

Neil is putting together some records of flights such as this one at coastal sites and will be providing me with more information on just how historical this was. Once he does, I will share it with everyone here.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lighthouse Point Park Migration Festival

I wanted to call your attention to an event this Sunday, the Lighthouse Point Park Migration Festival. Connecticut Audubon Society will be a part of this annual event in which several local organizations come together to celebrate raptor migration and much more. Check out the details below...

Lighthouse Point Park Migration Festival
Celebrating Birds, Butterflies, and Dragonflies

8:00am - 3:00pm
(No Rain Date)

Lighthouse Point Park
2 Lighthouse Road
New Haven, CT 06512

(Lighthouse Point Directions)

Come celebrate the spectacle and mystery of migration at one of the best places to see migrating wild hawks in New England!

Live Bird Shows featuring Hawks and Owls!

See wild birds up close at banding demonstrations!

See and feel Long Island Sound Creatures in touch tanks!

Children’s activities and fun for the whole family!

Ride the Old-Fashioned Carousel!

Tour the Historic Lighthouse!

Live Music!

Hands-on Butterfly Tagging!

Bird walks and more!

Schedule of Events

8:00am - ongoing Hawk Watching (mid field viewing area)
8:00am to 9:30am - Bird Walk led by Chris Loscalzo
8:30am to 11:00am - Bird Banding Demo with Connecticut Audubon Society
9:00am to 11:30am - Lighthouse Tour
9:00am to 10:00am - Hawk Flight I.D. Workshop by Connecticut Ornithological Association
9:30am to 10:45am - Children’s Bird Walk led by Flo McBride
9:30am to 10:45am - Bird Walk led by Mike Horn
10:00am to 1:00pm - Monarch Butterfly Banding Demo and Activities (Butterfly Garden Area)
11:15am to 12:15pm - Horizon Wings: Live Raptor Show
1:00pm to 2:00pm - Lighthouse Tour
12:30pm to 1:30pm - Live Music
11am to 2:30pm - Ride the Historic Carousel
1:30pm to 3:00pm - “Skyhunters in Flight” – Falconry Demo

Please park in paved parking lots and walk to the mid-field area. Info booths, vendors, food, events and walks are located there. This event is a cooperative effort sponsored by the New Haven Parks, Recreation and Tree Dept., New Haven Bird Club, Connecticut Butterfly Association, Audubon Connecticut, Connecticut Ornithological Association , Connecticut Audubon Society, and Northeast HawkWatch. Audubon Connecticut’s support of this event was made possible by the generosity of The Jeniam Foundation and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

Suggested donation: $5/car. Proceeds go towards next year’s event!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Irene video - Stratford Point

As Hurricane Irene approached, Twan and I boarded up Stratford Point as best we could while pulling in all of the loose objects and things like our Purple Martin gourds. We also took the time to set up Twan's great idea - a plant camera that takes photos every 30 seconds so that it could record the storm. He put this together to make the video below. We put it on a pole facing the low energy side, looking north towards Short Beach and Stratford with the mouth of the Housatonic on the right side.

The worst winds from Irene occurred overnight, so we missed a lot of that in the video, but you can see how high the water comes and the large waves on what is again the low energy side. The high energy side, facing southward into Long Island Sound, took a huge hit. Much of the seawall was damaged or destroyed, and the water came quite far onto the land. We had thought the water would build in even higher to where we put the camera but we were wrong as it just went straight over the land on the south side. I do not think we could have put the camera facing the Sound, though, as it would have blown off or been destroyed faster. As it was, the camera was broken in the early afternoon of that Sunday where the video ends.

We wish we could have used a video camera or live feed in HD, and in the future, we may be able to during big storms, whether it be tropical or a snowy nor'easter.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Friday, September 16, 2011

Another day in the CAS Croft Preserve....

I have been spending quite a bit of time in our Croft Preserve in Goshen this past summer since I'm in the process of updating our conservation and management plan for the preserve and we're also gearing up to do some habitat management work. Of course, we would like to do things right and we base our conservation and management decisions on thorough survey data and careful assessments of habitat quality. Especially in a place that supports some of the nicest forest habitat imaginable in Connecticut: 700 acres of relatively untouched woodland surrounded by thousands of additional acres of forest, there are hardly any invasive plants in the preserve, the forest is not overrun with unsustainable numbers of White-tailed Deer (instead we have Moose, Black Bear, Bobcat and lots of American Porcupines) and tucked away in these hundreds of acres of forest are additional microhabitats that support their own diversity of species. Connecticut Audubon Society currently manages about 12% of the preserve's habitat to promote early successional habitat types, such as shrubland and young forest, while the remainder is maintained as mature woodland. These managed areas now provide great habitat for other species that have become quite uncommon in the state, such as Ruffed Grouse.
A view of the 16-acre beaver marsh at the CAS Croft Preserve
This isolated wetland is a major breeding ground for Hooded Mergansers and Wood Ducks The shallow, boggy areas where cold-water streams enter the marsh are home to several unusual dragonfly species. This is a female Band-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum)

Green-striped Darners (Aeshna verticalis) are fairly common in the preserve's bogs and marshes

Ongoing survey and monitoring work in the preserve has given me a wealth of information on how wildlife uses the various habitat types within the preserve, how populations of conservation priority species are faring in their preferred habitats and - most importantly - if our habitat management and conservation strategies are working to improve the living conditions and numbers of our target species.

View of the rugged terrain in most of the woodland. Note the Rock Polypody Ferns (Polypodium vulgare) growing on the boulder in the foreground.

This past Wednesday I spent much of the day getting shredded as I desperately attempted to wade through acres of chest-deep blackberry bushes in the 5-6 year old managed areas that still needed to be mapped with GPS. Even though that part of the job never gets more enjoyable or less painful, just walking around I am always in awe by the overall beauty of the preserve and its seemingly endless biodiversity. During every visit to the Croft Preserve I encounter something that instantly makes me forget the painful thorns and water-filled hiking boots that come with the territory. This day was no exception, and mere minutes before I reached my car to leave the preserve I was treated to a brief glimpse of a Connecticut Warbler. It flushed out of the tall grass in the overgrown forest road I was hiking on and sat on a nearby branch for a few seconds, as it flitted about in an agitated manner. I happened to have my camera around my neck and managed to get a few record shots in before the bird took off into the underbrush. Unfortunately, I had a wide-angle lens on my camera, since I was photographing some of the different habitats and the first signs of fall in the area, so the pictures had to be cropped extensively to show the bird. Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you this image of a rarely seen bird in CT. And I'll throw in some of the other pictures I took that day for good measure, so you can see for yourself that our Croft Preserve is quite a place!

Signs that the area looked quite differently a century or so ago can be seen throughout the preserve

The stone wall adjacent to these giant boulders surrounds a spring to form an artificial basin that undoubtedly was used as a drinking trough for cattle in historic times...

...and the spring still runs!

Signs of fall are becoming increasingly visible

A dazzling variety of colorful mushrooms can be seen throughout the preserve

Record shot of a first winter Connecticut Warbler found on 9/14/2011. I found another Connecticut Warbler in one of our management areas in Croft Preserve on 10/9/2008.

Twan Leenders
Conservation Biologist

Photos © Twan Leenders

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chicken coop raider!

There are some chickens next to the Boothe Memorial Park hawk watch site that you can find me at, when possible, from September through November. They are cared for by Boothe Park volunteers and enclosed by a fence. As they have some bad history with raptors swooping down on them, their residence is also covered by wire.

There has been a Red-tailed Hawk hanging out in the park a lot lately, and when I say hanging out, I mean just that - it sits around and stares at people, relaxing the day away while drooling over the chickens. It will go up and sit on the fence, staring down at the chickens through the wire. It knows an easy meal is right under its bill but it has no clue what to do about it.

Perhaps because of this it has become accustomed to humans, tame almost to the point of putting itself in danger. It allows me to approach it to within several feet and will even look away despite the fact I am so close to it. One afternoon while I sat on our hill watching the skies it flew directly at me, slowly, about five feet off the ground, turning up at the last moment to sit on the building over me, preening and watching the skies. It left after a while to go chase some squirrels around the trees in the park.

In short, the Boothe Park hawk watch has a mascot for the 2011 season. Check out the hawk watch data and information here and stop by sometime. Typically, no one is there, but sometimes, like late this week after a very strong cold front, you will find me knocking off the raptors by the hundreds or, rarely, the thousands.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Help from Beardsley Zoo's Conservation Discovery Corps

It has been a hectic couple of weeks since Hurricane Irene paid Connecticut a visit, but in the week before we had a visit from the Beardsley Zoo's Conservation Discovery Corps. The teenagers in the program spend their summer working and learning at the zoo, dealing with the public and visitors, helping the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection band shorebirds, removing invasive plants, and more. They came down to Stratford Point to help me find and identify insects and birds as we add to our site list and continually work on our coastal management plans.

It did not take us long to grab some nets and head out into the field on what was a gorgeous August day. The only problem was - initially, at least - the strong Stratford Point winds. We were having a very difficult time catching dragonflies and damselflies as more and more popped up around us. We identified a lot of butterfly species and caught some to get a better look at, from Black Swallowtails to Clouded and Orange Sulphurs and of course Monarchs.

Eventually, though, they really got the hang of their nets and started snagging dragonflies quickly. Below is the first catch, a Common Green Darner.

As their name portrays they are indeed common throughout Connecticut and abundant at Stratford Point. Twan and I have seen hundreds at a time on some days in the past month. We were able to identify nearly everything we caught in the field, even sometimes confusing juveniles and females like the Twelve-spotted Skimmer one of them had captured in the photo below.

We kept looking for birds as we recorded a couple dozen Bobolink, saw a few shorebird species, separated the egrets and terns, and picked out Tree, Bank, and Barn Swallows. It is a bit late, but I want to thank all of them for coming out to Stratford Point and helping us with our nonstop survey work!
Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

Saturday, September 10, 2011

CAS Annual Meeting 2011

Please join us on Thursday, September 15 from 7-9 pm for Connecticut Audubon Society’s 113th Annual Meeting, which will take place at The Pequot Library, located at 720 Pequot Avenue in Southport, Connecticut. Light refreshments will be provided.

Phil Donahue, media personality, writer, film producer, and creator and host of The Phil Donahue Show, will serve as our Keynote Speaker. Immediately following Mr. Donahue’s presentation, we will conduct our Annual Meeting.

Please RSVP by calling Irene Kiszkurno at 203-259-6305 ext. 106 or email her at

Hope to see you there.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Irene birds #3 - Red-necked Phalarope, Black Tern, Clapper Rail

Here are a few more photos of Irene occurrences from the morning of the storm courtesy of Frank Mantlik. The most impressive photo is that of a group of approximately 52 Red-necked Phalaropes grounded by Irene. He spotted them flying around Great Meadows Marsh as seen from Oak Bluff Avenue in Stratford.

Also seen from Oak Bluff were these two of 15 Clapper Rails swimming for their lives in the rising waters in the marsh. Many birds like these were reported to have drowned in some areas where they could not escape, though I do not know of anyone who found any number of deceased birds here in our state, fortunately.

This Black Tern was one of four flying around Frash Pond off Access Road in Stratford. Black Terns are normally seen here at this time of year, though rarely, and they were seen all across Connecticut during Irene in higher than usual numbers.

Thanks again to Frank for his fantastic storm bird finds and photography.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photos © Frank Mantlik

Monday, September 5, 2011

Irene birds #2 - Sooty Terns

The Sooty Tern was the defining bird of Hurricane then Tropical Storm Irene. They are frequently carried north by tropical cyclones. Other even more rare species may have been the headline, but the spread of the Sooty Tern was magnificent. Check out this eBird map of reported sightings from during and shortly after the storm.

Our friend Charlie Barnard found a group of probably 8 Sooty Terns Sunday morning as Irene was right on top of us. They were with Black, Forster's, Common Tern and more at the Washington Bridge that connects Stratford and Milford on the Housatonic River. Several others were able to make it there as the Sooty Terns literally flew feet over our heads, battling the ferocious wind and turbulent river. It was spectacular, though the photography conditions were as atrocious as could be. Frank Mantlik somehow took these great photos.

When it was not raining too hard and I was not staring in shock, I shot the following very rough HD video. It gives you a sense of what we and the birds were dealing with.

Sooty Terns - Hurricane Irene from Connecticut Audubon Society.

You can see several Sooty Tern flying about, sometimes way too close to me to focus on, especially when I was being blown over. Also note two Sooty Tern perching on a piece of floating debris in the river, something they are noted to do only rarely in many publications. One has to think that rule applies to more calm conditions and these birds needed a momentary break. As conditions eased a bit, as can be seen at the end of the video, they moved south down the river as fast as they could.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photos © Frank Mantlik; video © Scott Kruitbosch

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dickcissel at H. Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve and Christmas Tree Farm

Below is a contributed photo from A.J. Hand who spotted this Dickcissel at Connecticut Audubon Society's H. Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve and Christmas Tree Farm.

You may be able to find it again in the Christmas Tree Farm portion of the preserve on Sasco Creek Road in Westport. There are also many migrant Bobolinks stopping over across the street in the long grasses of our field habitat. The Christmas Tree Farm is known to be an excellent fall and winter birding site with many rarities seen over the years. Help us add to that list and submit your sightings and photos to us. Our thanks to A.J. for the find and the photo.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photo ©  A.J. Hand

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lark Sparrow - Stratford Point

Twan and I came upon a lone sparrow in the driveway in front of us while walking back from the perimeter of Stratford Point today. I knew it was something odd looking at it naked eye, and when I raised my bins I knew we had a Lark Sparrow. Twan had seen a strange sparrow with the House Sparrows earlier in the morning but hadn't gotten a look at it as he ran to see the Brown Pelican. He took these fantastic photos of the Lark Sparrow.

In between these sightings I had yet another Sooty Tern come down the Housatonic and head west over Stratford Point as fast as it could. Unbelievable! The Lark Sparrow may be the exception to the Irene rule but it is surprising to still see a species like Sooty Tern five days after she made landfall. One would have to guess it was coming to the coast from a far inland area, perhaps another state to our north. And one would guess we are far from done.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photos ©  Twan Leenders

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Irene birds #1 - Gull-billed Tern, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet

We are here! The blog has been quiet as Irene took over our lives, from tracking the storm, finding birds, and taking care of power and internet problems. We will have much more to come on it and the amazingly spectacular birds it left, but for now, check out these mega Milford Point rarities at our Coastal Center:

Gull-billed Tern in the center discovered a few hours ago by Tina Green. I was with her when she initially found it. She and I discussed it, examined it, walked out to re-find it and get a better look on the bar. I snapped this shot through a scope with my BlackBerry, the only we have as of now. What a find by her yet again!

And this beauty, what more needs to be said - Nick Bonomo found it early Monday morning at the Coastal Center. You really need to check it out yourself, that poor shot does not do the Black-necked Stilt justice.

Mike Warner first reported this American Avocet today. At one point you could see them both this and the Black-necked Stilt in the same view. It may not be quite as good as the White-tailed Kite and Brown Pelican pairing, but it was close! We also had Baird's Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, "western" Willet and more just today.

Not five minutes after I wrote this blog entry and mentioned the Brown Pelican above this did I get a call that a Brown Pelican was spotted at Milford Point! Those four birds are possibly as good as any four species in one place in one day in Connecticut could ever be. Here are a couple poor record shots from my BlackBerry/scope once again. The first is on a bar in the middle of the mouth of the Housatonic and the second is near sunset with the pelican off Stratford Point.

This is only a taste of the most incredible week of Connecticut birds...perhaps ever! More to come in the next few days when we are not in the field or on post-storm work.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician