[CT Birds] Stormy weather and Bluff

David F Provencher david.f.provencher at dom.com
Fri Sep 11 09:56:03 EDT 2009

Nick is of course correct about the east winds. However having done much storm watching in CT I would caution that rewards go to the dedicated, meaning watch the sound for a while, don't just scan and run. It takes sustained winds to significantly affect pelagic bird's positions. So what you're looking for during a storm like this one is birds that were already very near our waters to be shifted a small distance closer. Some of the birds that this weather affects are not what you might ordinarily think. For instance Common Eider become much more likely on our coast during a blow like this. Also, the jaeger that was just reported is almost certainly not a storm blown bird but a passage bird that may have been picked up in any weather but can be moved closer to our shore because it's prey is shifted closer. Storms do often make passage jaegers much more detectable for us when they are in the Sound for a number of reasons, so this storm is an opportunity to watch for them. Another caution I might toss out is that young Laughing Gulls often chase other Laughing Gulls in a somewhat jaeger-like fashion (except for the jaeger's hard fast strait chase that scares the living crap out of the target bird!)

So Nick is absolutely right to urge birders to take advantage of the easterly wind. Yesterday a number of shearwaters (believed to be Cory's) were seen from shore in RI so they are already pretty close to us. Lastly many pelagic birds pass undetected over CT in a straight line for the sea and are impacted by the headwinds of a storm so inland birders should be checking lakes and ponds today for goodies like Black Terns, Jaegers, Phalaropes, Sabine's Gulls. Etc. Good luck and be ready to get wet!

Dave Provencher
Naturally New England<http://naturallynewengland.blogspot.com/>

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