[CT Birds] Storm outlook for weekend

David F Provencher david.f.provencher at dom.com
Wed Sep 1 09:35:43 EDT 2010

Well everyone's watching Earl of course. Hopefully we'll just get brushed by the big winds and not take a solid hit. In terms of storm birds, nearly all tropic storm related birds in CT are found after the storm's passage. There are some very obvious reasons for that of course. Depending on the strength of the winds, storm driven birds could end up in Long Island Sound or in lakes and ponds in CT. The passage timing looks to be Friday here and Saturday could be the day to be out looking. Because the storm is expected to parallel the coast, we have a very good chance of coastal birds being pushed northward as well. Earl is expected to be fast moving, which generally means a slightly reduced affect on pelagic birds. And I can not emphasize this enough, here in CT we usually see few if any storm related birds. So the list below includes possibilities, NOT probabilities by any means! Your birding mileage may vary (and will likely be less than you hoped. Experience speaking here).

So possibilities include Royal, Sandwich, Gull-billed Terns, Brown Pelican, and Skimmers (after one storm there were hundreds of Black Skimmers in CT and RI.) At inland waters/locales watch for both pelagic Phalaropes and Hudsonian Godwits could end up anywhere. Pelagic birds to be on the alert for are all three Jaegers (Pomarine the least likely at this point I should think), Sabine's Gulls, Arctic Terns, Brown Booby, (even Masked Booby should be watched for) Wilson's and Leach's Storm-Petrels, Cory's Shearwater, Greater Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Audubon's Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater. Tropical/warm water possibilities would include Black-capped Petrel, Sooty Tern, Bridled Tern, White-tailed and Red-billed Tropicbirds, Magnificent Frigatebird, among other even more rare possibilities. With all the White-faced Storm-Petrels seen on that pelagic trip, we should consider that possibility as of course. Anything I forgot?

If you see even one storm related good bird consider yourself very lucky. I have birded every one of these storms for quite some time now and managed just one really good CT bird, a very long distance scope look at a Sooty Tern flying over Long Island Sound. It (or another, which I consider very unlikely) was found emaciated on the North Shore of Long Island later that day. As always with these storms, safety first, birds second.

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

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