Sunrise Birding Walk – Sept 12 2009

13 09 2009
Avifemmes plus - Luke Tiller

Spent a somewhat drizzly morning out in the field in Westport. It seems like warblers feel pretty much the same way I do about dreary September mornings and thought better of heading out. Anyway it was nice after all the travels to be out with the gang again for some birding locally even if the hoped for migration madness had not yet arrived. It was also nice to have my boss (Gina) out with us on one of her rare US appearances. Although the birds were a little disappointing, the company was most certainly not. Lots of laughs were to be had and in between the jokes we did a little ‘workshopping’ on aging and identifying Yellowlegs. At Grace Salmon we also had a nice Solitary Sandpiper which gave us an object lesson on how to look carefully at the structure of shorebirds, as there are often more important clues to the birds identification there than you might find in the plumage.

With Westport somewhat quiet we decided to take a trip over to see the Northern Wheater in Stratford as a number of the group still hadn’t managed to get to see the bird yet. After a little hard work tracking the bird down, we managed to enjoy fantastic looks at the adult male (see Julian Hough’s article on aging/sexing Wheatears here). I managed to get some lousy digiscoped shots (see previous post) after which we headed to Sandy Point for the tour extension.

Whatever has happened at Sandy Point this year is a mystery to me and a pretty depressing one. This site was probably my favorite site in Connecticut for shorebirds, and though far away always well worth the trip up there (I have always had more of a love/hate relationship with Milford Point). This year, after whatever engineering work went on at the point, it seems to have become devoid of both migratory and breeding birds. Very sad! So things were again quiet there although a first returning Green-winged Teal was nice and a couple of Merlin flybys on I95 were cool. With things a little quiet we took a hop over to Lighthouse Point and soon found ourselves lost in the delights of the hummingbird/butterfly garden there. Butterfly highlights (ie ones we could identify – i think) were: Black Swallowtail, Broad-winged Skipper, Gray Hairstreak, Monarch, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, American Lady and a cool hummingbird moth I’ll tentatively ID as a Snowberry Clearwing.

Although the birds weren’t co-operating as hoped it was a fun morning and great to just be out enjoying a day that cleared up nicely after all the predicted bad weather. Maybe the birds will be more co-operative next week?

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