Sunrise Birding Walk – Saturday Feb 27th

28 02 2010

2CY Glaucous Gull - Mike Ferrari

With an incredible amount of snow engulfing inland Greenwich I was wondering whether this weekends walk was going to go ahead. Whereas most of Coastal Connecticut seemed to escape pretty much scot free I awoke on Friday to find the yard covered in a blanket of heavy wet snow. Pretty nasty stuff all in all and the local roads and power scenario wasn’t looking great either. We managed to get by without a brown out but did manage to lose internet activity somewhere along the way. Thankfully a warm Saturday meant that with a slightly delayed start I was able to escape the confines of Greenwich and meet everyone for a much-needed breath of fresh air.

Stratford is probably one of the more reliable spots in Fairfield County to dig up some nice winter birds. Amongst the business parks and industrial development lies a wealth of great birding spots including marshes, ponds, beaches and coastal grasslands. We started the trip at the end of Long Beach Blvd but apart from a few of the regular waterfowl there wasn’t much happening in the highly flooded marshes. Onwards then to Long Beach where we hit our first nice sightings of the day in the shape of a second cycle Glaucous Gull and a couple of distant Northern Gannets gliding eastwards out over Long Island Sound as well as a confiding gaggle of winter shorebirds in the shape of a good few hundred Sanderlings and Dunlin.

Other stops at Frash Pond, Short Beach and Silver Sands didn’t provide too much else of note apart from a couple of Lesser Scaup a Pied-billed Grebe and a couple of Canvasbacks amongst the more regularly occurring waterfowl species. That said though there were a large number of ducks off of Charles Island including large numbers of Greater Scaup and impressive concentrations of  Long-tailed Duck however many of the ducks were just all that bit too far out to go through them what with the heat haze that goes hand in hand with a beautifully sunny and warm winters day. A great day to be out and nice to dig up the Glaucous. Must say I’m looking forward to less snow and some signs of spring soon though.

Trip Species List: Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, NORTHERN GANNET (Long Beach), Great Cormorant, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Brant, Mallard, Black Duck, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Canvasback, Lesser Scaup (Frash Pond), Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-tailed Hawk, Sanderling, Dunlin, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, GLAUCOUS GULL (Long Beach), Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, American Crow, Fish Crow, European Straling, American Robin, Song Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, House Sparrow, American Goldfinch.

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7 responses

28 02 2010
Charlie

Hi Luke,

It’s good to see your blog up and running again.

28 02 2010
Charlie

Hi Luke,

On Sunday I made it down to see the 2nd cycle Glaucous Gull which was there for about 10 minutes before an unleashed dog sent all birds flying to parts unknown. Before being scared off by the dog, the Glaucous had allowed close approaches by humans, which made me wonder if it was the same individual Glaucous which wintered at Long Beach last year. That bird became very tolerant of close approaches and even looked for handouts as the winter progressed.

28 02 2010
underclearskies

Hi Charlie,

Thanks for the welcome back. I was wondering whether it was the same bird as well. Last years certainly seems to be a first cycle bird (dark eye and fairly finely patterned plumage) – link to my not so great digiscoped picture from last winter here: http://wp.me/pmIJ4-9f This bird was accommodating to say the least (hence Michaels great pictures) and as I left it was sat atop a telephone pole. I’m guessing that it hasn’t spent the winter here though as I haven’t seen it reported?

Luke

28 02 2010
Brian Webster

Ditto on Charlie’s comment, Luke. I really enjoy your blog.

I was thinking the same thing, guys. Last years was a 1st cycle, and it most certainly became tolerant of cars/humans there at the end of the parking lot.

I don’t recall any reports of that bird until now, and I think the area gets covered pretty well somewhat often.

Hopefully it will stick around for at least a day, as I had a blow out in my truck and have to deal with that tomorrow. Maybe the late afternoon so I can catch the Boat-tails.

-Brian-

28 02 2010
underclearskies

Cheers Brian,

Good to see more CT Birders joining the blogging fold, I enjoy keeping up with yours as well. Also good that the Stratford gang are doing such a good job of covering the area thoroughly. Personally I think some birders get so caught up in the whole chasing stuff malarky they forget to spend any time covering their own area, so it’s nice to see some dedicated local coverage going on. That said, when you’ve got such a great area on your doorstep it does tend to make staying nearer home more appealing 😉

Luke

1 03 2010
soundbounder

I just found you via Twitter.
Glad I did.

1 03 2010
Brian Webster

I think it is a combination of several things, as far as staying in-town goes….

Of course, there is the good in-town birding. But also less gas/emmisions, and I really enjoy knowing what is close to me. This past season’s (2009) migrations I focused mainly on my neighborhood and surrounding areas to see who breeds where and what I can find close to home… whether moving through or setting up camp. Theres a good and unique feeling that comes about when you find a cool bird in your haunts.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll chase a rare bird…. but only if it is a lifer. This years goal is to get to 400 (stuck on 304 for a loooooong time). My trip should take care of that. =)

Speaking of haunts…. I’ve love to check out Allen’s Meadows before I leave for my road-trip. If you are around, maybe mid-late April? I have never been and I hear only good things…. Harris’s sparrow ain’t too shabby!! Long time away, but schedules are schedules….

-Brian-

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