[CT Birds] Evening at Eagleville.

Mntncougar at aol.com Mntncougar at aol.com
Fri Sep 4 20:08:19 EDT 2009

I drove over to the Eagleville dam in Mansfield tonight to have  a "last" 
try for the nighthawks I have seen there in the past.  In 2  previous trips 
this year I saw only 1, who circled the lake but never came past  the dam.  I 
arrived at 6:35 and got out of the car quickly to watch a  departing 
Red-tail flying up-river. As he flew into the glow of the setting sun  I scanned 
the sky and saw -- Nighthawks!! a small group of 4 was visible and I  watched 
long enough that I thought that was probably all of them.  Then 2  more 
appeared, and more, and more!  A total of 29 in that flock, easy to  count as 
they flew by me in easy naked eye range.  Once again an empty sky,  and I 
thought that was it for the night. For some reason Nighthawks at dusk do  not 
really arrive, they materialize.  First you see a few, then others are  
suddenly with them, to the sides, behind, overhead.  I've noticed that each  time 
I have seen them at sunset.  I was about to give up at about 6:50,  when 2 
more appeared way up-river, swiftly followed by many more. Within 2  minutes 
a group of 51 passed by. A small group of 5 was quickly followed by a  
flock of 58.  After about 5 minutes, more appeared, a flock of 32 followed  by a 
final group of 38. At that point it was almost 7:20 and the light was  
fading fast so I called it a night.  If my math is right that's a total of  209 
in about 40 minutes.
In addition, the fruits of the labors of the local  waterfowl were on 
parade.  First the 2 swans with 5 grayish-brown cygnets,  almost as large as the 
parents.  Then 2 groups of Canada Geese, 18  juveniles accompanied by 6 
adults.  Seems that from a group of 6 this  spring we now have a flock of 24.  A 
really ratty looking Great Blue Heron  posed on the lip of the dam for a 
few minutes, and just as I was leaving, a  large bird, possibly a night heron, 
flew up the river from the dam.  There  is a group of 5 DC Cormorants 
roosting in a pine tree and a maple tree about 100  yards upstream to the left of 
the dam.  I've seen them before (though I had  no idea DCCO roosted in 
trees).  When they come in to roost they have a  terrible time landing on the 
branches, particularly in the maple, and there is  alot of flapping before 
each 1 secures his perch.  The maple is covered  with whitewash.
Perhaps that won't be my last try for Nighthawks this year  after all.
Don Morgan

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