[CT Birds] More Nighthawks over Stamford

B Inskeep binskeep at optonline.net
Mon Aug 30 22:21:52 EDT 2010

8/30/10, 7:30 pm, Stamford, Shippan - while unloading groceries from the car, there were Common Nighthawks streaming by overhead.  I watched for about 10 minutes and counted at least 30, one after the other, until deciding the ice cream couldn't wait for the freezer any longer.  I was able to see them off in the distance over the tree-line towards Dyke Park while driving home; after dark I went to that location and was able to see 3 flying back and forth, feeding above the field lights.  My guess is there were more higher up and out of view in the darkness and, on this night, I was able to hear them vocalize, too.  What I also noticed were, again, lots of flying insects and dragonflies in numbers that seemed to be reduced to absent in areas where I looked for nighthawks over the past couple of days (and came up empty handed).

While residing out west, we had both Lesser and Common Nighthawks.  It was always difficult for me to distinguish between the two based on location of the white wing patches as shown in Sibley's.  But an easy way to differentiate, and what I learned from the experts, is that Lesser tend to fly lower and Common, higher.  Lesser were pretty much always observed (by me) flying and circling low, for instance, foraging below or at the level of lights on a lamppost or skimming along the surface of a body of water unlike what I've observed with Commons that remain much higher.

Needless to say, migration of Common Nighthawks has been just one of the many spectacular birding events that occur here in the northeast that has brought tremendous enjoyment.  Pretty neat birds!

Brenda Inskeep

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