[CT Birds] Where are the Petrels?

Dennis Varza dennisvz at optonline.net
Thu Jul 16 12:56:52 EDT 2009

Hi folks

After the Grouse flap things have been a little dull. So here is  
something to think about

Dennis Varza

Recent sighting of petrel in Long Island Sound often comment on  
wether they were seen in Connecticut waters or not. I think this is a  
trivial distinction. What is important is the presence of petrels and  
shearwaters in the sound period. A bird in the sound is likely to  
cross state boundaries anyway so exactly where the bird was flying  
when observed is immaterial.

People often keep property lists. As far as I know, that includes all  
the birds seen from the property, such a a hawk flying off in the  
distance. I recall a friend while in his neighborhood, heard a  
particular owl calling. He then rushed back to his house so he could  
hear it from his property and put it on his list.

When doing Christmas Bird Counts, it is all birds observed from the  
circle. We do not concern ourselves the bird is outside the area, as  
long as we were within it.

Many major birding area are on the border between towns. I bet for  
most people west of Oyster River it is cited at being in Milford.  
People living east of the are probably call it West Haven. I don’t  
know of anyone who makes the distinction of which town the bird was  
standing in when writing field notes.  When I found the Ross’ Gull it  
was in Milford, but flew across the creek and landed on the West  
Haven side. I guess I have it for two towns.

I believe that all pelagics found within the sound should be  
considered Connecticut birds. I would think that New York has little  
interest in Long Island Sound when they have the Atlantic Ocean to  
play with. By keeping all records together we will get a better  
understanding of what is happening in the sound as opposed to turning  
a blind eye to half the records. Of course one tries to provide a  
location as best as possible. And, obviously someone standing on the  
beach at Port Jefferson spotting a Manx Shearwater makes it a New  
York Bird. Otherwise anything seen from a boat, and not from shore,  
can consider it Connecticut.

It seems more rational and realistic than carrying a GPS and  
consulting maps every time a bird is sighted.

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