[CT Birds] CAS Grassland Birds Walk - Northwest Park

Eric Davison edavison at comcast.net
Sun Jun 17 17:24:04 EDT 2007


I am the land manager for Northwest Park in Windsor and am interested in
any grassland bird observations (or other early-successional bird
observations) anyone has made at the site this year, so please let me
know what you are seeing out there.  Regarding the Savannah Sparrow,
where did you observe it? Do you think it is nesting?  It is not listed
as a nester at the park currently so I would be interested in the
details of your observations.  Regarding the conditions of the field,
you are correct we are allowing some of the fields to revert to
shrubland habitat, as they are too small to support area-sensitive
grassland birds.  However the 2 large fields located along the central
farm road (just past the first tobacco shed) are still intended for
grassland birds, particularly Grasshopper Sparrow.  Unfortunately, I
have not recorded any Grasshopper Sparrows in the fields this year.  We
intended to burn the largest grassy field this year but ran into a
permitting issues with the DEP and were unable to get that done, which
has degraded the field somewhat due to dense thatch accumulation.  The
other field is in need of some shrub removal.  The major limiting factor
is the size of our fields, they are marginal with respect to
area-sensitive grassland birds so we have concentrated on shrubland
birds in the recent past.  At a suburban site such as Northwest Park,
early-successional habitat management, which requires frequent mowing,
herbicide, shrub removal, burning etc. is difficult to accomplish when
having to deal with the public, town officials and DEP...it is difficult
to get things done!

-----Original Message-----
From: ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org
[mailto:ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of
streatham2003 at aol.com
Sent: Sunday, June 17, 2007 3:53 PM
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: [CT Birds] CAS Grassland Birds Walk


Hi All,

To highlight for members some of the species that the current statewide
Grassland Initiative are attempting to trace, we headed to the northern
tier of central Connecticut today looking for breeding birds. 

First stop was a pretty disappointing one at Northwest Park in Windsor
(as far as grassland birds go) . Perhaps we were just a little unlucky
with our timing but considering the wealth of species found in years
past we heard little apart from one Savannah singing and the fields
seemed to be reverting rather rapidly to a less attractive brushier
state. Multitudes of ORCHARD ORIOLES and a CLIFF SWALLOW were some
compensation for the lack of target species but it felt like the place
needed a good mow/burn/re-seed.

We soon decided to move on to East Granby Farms and after finding a
rather attractive Black Rat Snake managed to get good looks at 2 or 3
EASTERN MEADOWLARKS as well as 5 or so BOBOLINKS. Considering the fairly
small size of the site there was a wealth of good birds to be found
including 2 or 3 YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS (thanks to Joe Wojtanowski for
information about this interesting site.)

To round off the trip we decided to brave Bradley International Airport
and the Perimeter Rd. Heading east past the air museum we continued
through the wooded area until you come out and there appears to be a
pull off on the left hand side. From that vantage point we spent some
time watching approximately 5 GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, 3 BOBOLINKS and a
number of Savannah Sparrows all rather surprisingly unmolested by local
law enforcement. 

It was a lovely day to be out and we found just enough shelter to escape
without too much sunburn or heat exhaustion. Some interesting
information about the Initiative from Miley Bull and some? eagle-eyed?
spotting from Frank Gallo made for an enjoyable and? successful day.

On the way home a pullover at Aspetuck Reservoir yielded a soaring
COMMON RAVEN that just seemed to be making the most of the warm day.

Luke Tiller
Wilton
 
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