[CT Birds] Mouth of the Housatonic River
dennisvz at optonline.net
Sat Sep 4 17:47:27 EDT 2010
Hurricane Earl turned out be a flop in the Stratford area. I repeated
the route of Stratford and Milford I did on Wednesday to see what
changes there were. During the day there was a strong NW wind which
was the main determining factor in the abundance and distribution of
birds at the mouth of the Housatonic River.
In general birds were huddled in the Refuge pond and along the west
side of the river out of the wind. Herons were about the same in
number but clustered. In the Refuge Pond there were 52 Great Egret
and 16 Snowy Egrets(with an additonal 20 flying in)along with some
cormorants (hate to be a fish in there). There were also more
Mallards and the Blue-winged Teal remained. Over at Short Beach there
were another 7 Snowy Egrets roosting on the north side of the gut. At
Stratford Marina there were 25 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. It seems
they prefer the area in the morning because the trees face the sun.
Again, I had the weird experience of being surrounded by the herons.
I was standing between the boats getting ready to scan the trees when
the flock takes off, swirls around and a bunch of them land on the
pilings in front of me giving me the eye. This happened once before
and I thought maybe people are feeding them, but after asking around
could find no one.
Looking at the distribution of gulls and terns, they were
concentrated along the central part of the river from Short Beach to
Sniffen’s La. and less common at Long Beach and the Sea Wall. They
were feeding heavily, terns diving, gulls tipping like ducks. It was
quite the frenzy and a challenge to count. I did not notice any
exotics. Skimmers were around (all im.) one at Long Beach, 2 on the
bars, and another 8 flying in off the sound.
The cormorants were similar to the terns. Roughly the same number of
birds but none were on the jetties at Long Beach. Most were on the
river bar, out of the wind, with a few on the breakwater. Last time,
most were on the breakwater.
The Northern Pintail was back at Selby Pond. along with a lot more
Shorebirds were roughly the same as before. There were a few more
Yellowlegs (both) at Stratford Marina getting out of the wind. And
there was an increase in Short-billed Dowitchers there and an
decrease on the bars at Milford Pt. There seemed to be less peeps,
Sanderlings, and Semipalmated Plovers than before. The willets and
knots were still there. I couldn’t find the Golden Plover or Long
Billed Dowitcher on the bars, but then again the lighting is not as
good as in the afternoon. There were a number of birders looking at
the shorebirds before I got there (saw them from Short Beach). Since
I see no reports from them we can assume nothing new was found.
I then took a run to Mondo Ponds but there were few ducks and no
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