Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cerulean Warbler at Aspetuck Land Trust

Our continuing survey work at the Trout Brook Valley Conservation Area of the Aspetuck Land Trust keeps yielding great finds. Once again today the best sightings were of birds including the highlight of the spring, a singing male Cerulean Warbler, a rare species for Fairfield County even though it breeds in low numbers across the state. They are canopy dwellers and with all of the leaves out at this point of the season they are quite difficult to see and photograph. Nevertheless, I was able to zoom in tight and snap off some record shots.

While I did not see it often or for long, I could certainly hear it constantly, so I took a moment to record his song with my camera which you can hear in MP3 form here.

Apart from being a stunning bird to look at, it is one of the fastest declining songbirds seen in the U.S. It is rapidly losing its wintering grounds in South America and declining throughout its breeding range, possessing a global population of just over 500,000 after dropping more than 80% in the last several decades. Many birders know it to be a particularly tough bird to locate outside of known breeding areas, mostly concentrated in northwest and southeast Connecticut, with a few in the northeast corner. Typical migratory hotspots right on the coast do not pick up the birds, but I am guessing this bird was a migrant based on the location around the clearing on the green and white trail where many other migrant species and birds were feeding. Whether it is "only " a migrant or may actually try to breed somewhere nearby, this is a very important discovery.

There was loads of other wonderful species seen today, but this guy is the current winner for bird of the year for Trout Brook Valley.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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

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