Frank Mantlik mantlik at sbcglobal.net
Tue Aug 10 23:26:03 EDT 2010

10 Aug 2010  Stratford
Short Beach Park (Dorne Drive).  Nominal entrance fee for non-resident's autos. 
 Afterwork I stopped to check the terns and shorebirds on the Housatonic River 
flats at low tide, as well as search for CT's first recorded White-Tailed Kite, 
present daily in the area since 1 August.  I promptly spotted the Kite atop one 
of the cedars across the river on the dune of Milford Point, and it remained 
perched there the whole time I was present (4:45-5:30).  A call was made to 
Scott Kruitbosch so that he may post its whereabouts online.   Aside from that I 
repeatedly scoped through the large flock (1000+) of Common Terns and gulls 
(usual 4 species) and usual shorebirds (Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones, 
Semipalmated Sandpipers, Am Oystercatchers,etc.)

Back home, just as we sat down for dinner (6:44), Scott called and said, "You 
won't believe this...but we just had a Pelican fly by Stratford Point and it's 
still flying around."  I'll be there soon.  Enroute to the shore, I called Scott 
back, who told me the immature Brown Pelican was now sitting on the water off of 
Walnut Beach, Milford.  In the interest of time, I decided to view from 
Stratford's Short Beach.  In the scope I promptly located the distant massive 
dark bird sitting on the water off the sw side of Charles Island.  It would 
frequently take a labored flight on massive bowed wings, only to fly a short 
distance (30-50ft), and drop into the water bill first.  It was apparently 
trying to catch fish; of which there has been many schools of bait fish around 
I called Scott (who was still at Stratford Point) to inform him my success in 
seeing the pelican.  [I had seen 3-4 Brown Pelicans off Stonington Point, CT 
back on 20 July 1992 (along with Charlie Barnard and Joe Zeranski), birds 
initially reported by fishermen to Bob Dewire.]  During the phone call, I 
resumed scoping through the large numbers of terns and gulls on the sandflats. 
 I promptly spotted a Black Tern (an apparent adult in basic plumage) with the 
Commons, and directed him (& Twan Leenders) to its location.  

After a pretty lackluster spring and early summer, the lower Housatonic River is 
now alive with birds.  Tonight was surely an exciting evening of birding.  When 
Scott asked me what's next, among the many possibilities is Magnificent 
Frigatebird (there have been about 4 sightings from the northeast U.S. in the 
last couple of weeks).  Keep your eyes to the skies.

Frank Mantlik

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