[CT Birds] Mouth of the Housatonic River

Dennis Varza 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  
yellowlegs there.

Dennis Varza

More information about the CTBirds mailing list