[CT Birds] Ct endangered species lawsand Cabela's

Mark Szantyr birddog55 at charter.net
Mon Jun 1 13:02:40 EDT 2009

I do not think that birders will disturb the birds at Rentschler Field.  I 
do not think that there is enough access to allow for that. I do believe 
that birders excercise care and good judgement when looking at birds.  I 
agree that it is a good opportunity for CT birders to see and hear these 
wonderful birds before they are gone.

But perhaps Nick is right.  Maybe it is because I am old.  I have had the 
opportunity to see other private properties that held critical species in 
critical habitat become the focus of public displays of interest.  In about 
every case, the landowner, not wanting the notoriety of this habitat and 
species to color public opinion about the disposition of the land, has 
plowed over the land or cut the woodlot, removing the potential for long 
term bad press.  My concern with the remaining grassland birds in East 
Hartford is that the leadership of Pratt & Whitney will tire of the uproar, 
close off all access to DEP monitoring, cut the grass to lawn height, and 
take the debate off the table..  They have already taken severe action in 
limiting all access and potential access.  They have shown cavalier 
disregard for one of the largest grassland habitats in southern New England 
years ago when they sold the land for the state to develop.  Former Governor 
John Rowland and his band of cronies saw $$$GREEN and went for it.  I fear 
P&W will follow this action with the ultimate act of clearing the habitat. 
Really, the only thing that will suffer is the few remaining nesting pairs 
of a few state-important birds.  Birds that are not listed as endangered 
( or even close) nationally.

We birders had our chance years ago.  We could have been more vocal in the 
original debate.  How many of us have gone to a UCONN game at Rentschler or 
shopped at Cabela's?

Birders going there will not harm the birds.  It may piss off the landowner, 
however, and then that in turn could be cataclysmic for the birds.

Ok, I am done now.  Be sure to take good notes if you go...it may be the 
only info we get from the area.

Mark S. Szantyr
80 Bicknell Road #9
Ashford, Connecticut 06278
Birddog55 at charter.net
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Nick Bonomo" <nbonomo at gmail.com>
To: "Mark Szantyr" <birddog55 at charter.net>
Cc: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 11:40 AM
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Ct endangered species lawsand Cabela's

> Mark Mark Mark, I may be half your age but I wasn't born yesterday! When 
> you
> publicly question and/or judge someone's motives, you can expect a reply 
> or
> two. I was and continue to defend my own motives and what I believe are 
> the
> intentions of the other posters concerned about this habitat. Nothing 
> more,
> nothing less. I generally stay out of these sort of debates on this list,
> especially the political ones, but of course I'm going to clarify my own
> motivations when they are called into question.
> Nick Bonomo
> Orange, CT
> On Sun, May 31, 2009 at 11:25 PM, Mark Szantyr 
> <birddog55 at charter.net>wrote:
>>  Nick, Nick, Nick...you know better.
>> I do believe that birders have good intentions. I believe birders are
>> well-behaved and do not tresspass (knowingly).  I also know that birders
>> want to see these species as they are spectacular (they are some of my
>> favorite species!!!).  I believe that seeing these birds was the
>> motivation for the majority of the e-mail discussion this week, though it
>> was couched in concern over the weak Endangered Species Act, unfounded
>> accusations about DEP, and all too late concern about the loss of this
>> grassland.
>> I  believe that birders really do want the habitat at Rentschler Field
>> preserved.  Unfortunately, the truth of this matter is that the habitat 
>> will
>> be lost.  It will be developed ( it is probably too late for even a 
>> monetary
>> miracle)  and these species will be extirpated from the area.  I am sure
>> this is frustrating to the newer birds in the state who might never get 
>> to
>> see a show like this again.  It is heartbreaking to me, a long-time 
>> birder
>> because I watched this area die.
>> The very best we can hope for is for the birds to have successful 
>> breeding
>> seasons until the grassland is paved over.  The likley reason there are 
>> this
>> many birds there in the first place is because it was off-limits to
>> everyone.  These birds existed, non-disturbed.  This is the only place in
>> Connecticut where birders have/had half a chance at seeing this many 
>> members
>> of the grassland group (other than the also off-limits Bradley Airport).
>> Its loss is a tragedy.
>> Most of the postings of this week spoke of how one can get to see the
>> birds.  Every one was asking how to get to the best viewing access. A 
>> long
>> stream of daily reports logged the success and failure of eveyone who 
>> went
>> to see them.  I even tried to wrangle my way in to Pratt for 
>> documentation
>> of the species and numbers.  I was unsuccessful. I visited the site 
>> twice,
>> staying in my car both times.  I saw other birders on both occasions.
>>  People spoke of cajoling Cabela's into providing access, some even
>> suggested viewing access with spotting scopes and  publicizing it to
>> customers as a marketing tool,  etc.  All of this sounds like concern 
>> about
>> seeing the birds.   Again, understandable.
>> The Uplands were reported as feeding around the bass pond at Cabela's. 
>> So
>> were the Horned Larks.  This whole area is sensitive, both as habitat and
>> politically.  The Pratt and Whitney folks have no sense of humor about 
>> this
>> situation.  It is probably a matter of time before the Cabela's folks 
>> feel
>> the same way, especially if we piss them off.  It is critical to the 
>> birds
>> that the habitat remain what it is for as long as possible.  If they are
>> forced to the edge, to the critical water supply of the pond, they should 
>> be
>> able to do this with as little extra stress as possible.   I understand 
>> the
>> frustration at having this treasure trove of cool birds this accesible 
>> and
>> yet not being able to see them.  But again, the birds exist there in such
>> numbers because it is not accessible. And again, there is little to no
>> chance this habitat will be saved.
>> I, in no way, meant to demean the birding public.  I have stuck up for
>> public access to birds very often in this forum (see the wintering owl
>> discussion from this past winter).  I simply don't want to see the bird's
>> survival situation and what little access DEP has in monitoring the 
>> success
>> of the area to be jeopardized because we all want to see these birds.
>> Today, several folks lamented the poor state of our Endangered Species 
>> Act.
>> I agree.  It is weak.  This is not the fault of DEPand certainly not the
>> fault of the Wildlife Division.  This situation is actually all of our
>> fault... we voted to let UCONN build that cursed field there; we failed 
>> to
>> stop corrupt governors and government make and allow profits from the 
>> sale
>> of sensitive land; we allow tax incentives for development that far 
>> exceed
>> tax incentives for preservation.
>> I do not want to see the Cabela's people tire of the intrusion or of the
>> suggestions on how best to cater to our needs.  Maybe we can keep a 
>> little
>> access to the area.  It is sad but in this case, we are not going to get
>> what we want.
>> Sorry if I annoyed anyone.  Maybe if we all get mad enough we won't let
>> this happen again.  Maybe.
>> Mark
>> Mark S. Szantyr
>> 80 Bicknell Road #9
>> Ashford, Connecticut 06278
>> 860-487-9766
>> Birddog55 at charter.net
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> *From:* Nick Bonomo <nbonomo at gmail.com>
>> *To:* Mark Szantyr <birddog55 at charter.net>
>> *Cc:* ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
>> *Sent:* Sunday, May 31, 2009 9:46 PM
>> *Subject:* Re: [CT Birds] Ct endangered species lawsand Cabela's
>> With all due respect Mark (and you know I mean that), I think you're way
>> off on this. First of all, there hasn't been any problem with people 
>> being
>> able to view these birds from behind Cabela's, so I don't see how that 
>> could
>> be anyone's motivation here. I doubt that anybody wants to go trample
>> through the nesting habitat beyond the fence since all the birds in 
>> question
>> can be seen from the parking lot; I hope we all agree on that. Second, 
>> give
>> us more credit than that. Why is it so hard to believe that birders 
>> actually
>> care about the birds and not just their year/life lists? I think our
>> motivations are pure in this case. I don't see any evidence to the 
>> contrary.
>> I would have thought that a conversation involving bird conservation 
>> issues
>> would be viewed as a positive, and at the very least a learning 
>> experience
>> regarding the state's laws. I hope this doesn't discourage anyone from
>> posting about bird conservation for fear of their motivations being
>> questioned.
>> Nick Bonomo
>> Orange, CT
>> On Sun, May 31, 2009 at 5:51 PM, Mark Szantyr 
>> <birddog55 at charter.net>wrote:
>>> In reading all of the emails about the grassland habitat at Rentschler
>>> Field and behind Cabela's I wonder if what is really being discussed and
>>> protested is the lack of birder access.  If it is concern about the
>>> well-being of the species complex using the grassland there, it seems to 
>>> me
>>> that, at least until Pratt & Whitney begin the further development of 
>>> the
>>> land, the current no access rule is perhaps the best conservation plan
>>> possible for the birds. Just today there were over twenty emails about 
>>> the
>>> issue, several of them told of small groups that went to the area to see 
>>> the
>>> birds.  If you tally all of the small groups and individuals ( and in 
>>> the
>>> spirit of full disclosure, I have been there twice this season and 
>>> unless
>>> someone finds an accessible Fork-tailed Flycatcher, I am done) that have
>>> made the trip to twitch the birds, it would equal a significant impact, 
>>> I
>>> fear.  What are we really upset about?   Lets make sure we are putting 
>>> the
>>> habitat and species in front of our "birder's right" to twitch a bird.
>>> Mark
>>> Mark S. Szantyr
>>> 80 Bicknell Road #9
>>> Ashford, Connecticut 06278
>>> 860-487-9766
>>> Birddog55 at charter.net
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