[CT Birds] Weekend birds plus FOY thoughts

Jamie Meyers ctredbird2 at comcast.net
Sun Mar 21 18:22:10 EDT 2010

>From Jamie Meyers:
3/21 -- Canton, Barbourtown Rd, flooded farm field -- WILSON'S SNIPE.
3/21 -- Durham -- no Sandhill Crane
3/20 -- South Windsor, Ferry Road -- VESPER SPARROW, with Savannahs in hedgerow on the north side of the road about half way down.

I was in Durham around 11 AM or so, around the same time as Roy Zartarian.  There are a number of cornfields in the area, some more visible than others, some probably not at all visible, so it's likely a crapshoot with this bird.  The field where I had the snipe is more famous for hosting a female Red Phalarope several years back.  Flooded farm fields are great gathering places for good birds!

While looking for the crane, I heard my first phoebes of the year, and had a brilliant male Pine Warbler at Guiffria Park in Meriden, the earliest I have ever had an obvious spring migrant in CT.  Not as much duck action as I was hoping for, though I had some Buffleheads and Ring-necked Ducks in a few locations today.

There have been a few questions and I have had a couple from others off this list here on when things arrive, and it got my thinking about an exercise I have found satisfying and educational.  I have kept pretty detailed records on first and last sightings of a lot of our migrants over the years.  After a few years of this I found that I had an interesting little database of sorts, and while informal and unscientific, it's been useful not only in keeping track of the comings and goings of certain species, but it's given me a bit of a window into the complexities of migration and a good template of what to look for and when.  

Some of that can be gotten from reading reports here and elsewhere, but I found it a lot more fun and the lessons better learned when I went out and did it myself.  Knowing that my Pine Warbler today was a relatively early one, for instance, for me gave the sighting a touch more flavor.  Getting my first phoebe for the year on March 21st and knowing that my average first date for this one is March 22nd gives that one a touch more context as well.  Some folks here, especially newer birders, might want to give it a try.  It's kind of fun!

Now I need to start keeping track of when the bears come out and trash my bird feeders for the first time each year so I'll be better prepared in the future!

Jamie Meyers
Canton, CT

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