[CT Birds] Boney info, LI Sound larvae bloom, and Smith's Longspur note

Nick Bonomo nbonomo at gmail.com
Sat Mar 24 20:13:04 EDT 2007

Now that Bonaparte's Gulls have arrived in some numbers, birders will
probably be searching for the rarer Little and Black-headed Gulls
among them. While Boneys can be found anywhere along the coast, there
are a few reliable spots to find them. These include South Cove in Old
Saybrook, Oyster River in West Haven/Milford, Seaside Park area in
Bridgeport, and Southport Beach (aka Sasco River mouth) in Southport.
All of these sites are productive near low tide when the mudflats are
available for roosting. At the higher tides the birds often disperse
into LI Sound to feed. Tomorrow's low tide at Oyster River is about
11:30 am.

When looking for Black-headed Gulls right now, first scan the flock
for any birds with a full or nearly-full hood. BHGU reaches breeding
plumage earlier than Bonaparte's on average, which is a huge help
right now. I did not see a single Bonaparte's Gull today with more
than a hint of a hood, while the one Black-headed Gull was almost
fully hooded. Soon enough this will be less helpful as the Boneys come
into breeding plumage.

Of course the golden bird to find in these flocks would be Ross's
Gull. The one previous state record, April 11-22, 1984, came from
Oyster River (Zeranski & Baptist).

It appears that the larvae bloom (or whatever it is) has begun along
the western CT coastline. Today there were small concentrations of
gulls picking at the water's surface from Oyster River to Merwin
Point, and also off of Compo Beach. Joining the gulls in the food were
Greater Scaup and common dabbling ducks. This is good news as the
combination of this food source and the arrival of Boneys could mean
nice concentrations of small gulls this year.

Although the Smith's Longspur was not relocated today, birders should
continue to scour the model airplane field and surrounding areas. The
Smith's Longspur that was recently on Long Island was VERY hard to
find on most days. Some days passed with the bird not being seen at
all. It is a secretive species for a longspur and is capable of
covering a lot of ground. So there's still hope! Congrats to Larry
Flynn for a great find and for obtaining a nice photo! Perhaps we can
find a website to host the pic so everyone can see it.

Nick Bonomo
Orange, CT

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