[CT Birds] Hammo - terns, sparrows, etc.

Chris Elphick elphick at sbcglobal.net
Wed Jun 17 20:25:34 EDT 2009

Highlights from a day of field work (and a little recreational birding afterward) at Hammo today:

3 surf scoter (2 adults, 1 subadult), 2 common loons, 1 little blue heron, 1 piping plover, 27++ least terns (22 high count from end of the moraine trail; 27 high from the marsh side; small numbers elsewhere; plus whatever was in the grass and out of view; i.e., probably at least 40 in the area), 4-6 roseate terns.  No sign of the eider or the cattle egrets, though we didn't look until well after the crowds had built up.

And of course lots and lots of seaside (15+) and saltmarsh sharp-tailed (65+) sparrows.  Very best for me was a male sharp-tailed that we colour banded as an adult in 2004 (making it at least 6 years old, and one of the oldest on record).  This bird was seen during casual birding after we were done with field work, from the end of the east trail at Willards (which has been fixed up nicely).  There was also a sharp-tailed with some white primaries in one wing here (we see this quite often).  This spot, by the way, provides great views of both seasides and sharp-taileds as the raised platform gets you well up above the marsh; it may be the best place in the state to see these birds well.  

If you are out looking for these sparrows anywhere in the state, please try to get a look at their legs and let me know if you see any with colour bands.  Ideally, we'd like to know (a) what colours, (b) on which legs, and (c) if there are two on a leg, which colour was on top, but any information at all would be good.


Chris Elphick

Storrs, CT

elphick at sbcglobal.net

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