[CT Birds] Short Beach terns

charles barnard jr chbarnjr at gmail.com
Sun Jul 17 11:14:53 EDT 2011

Yesterday (Saturday), I birded the low tide at Short Beach in the morning
with Sara Szagorski, Brenda Inskeep and Bill Aristedes. The numbers of sand
lance (the bait fish species upon which the terns had been primarily feeding
) at the mouth of the Housatonic River  was greatly reduced from what it had
been. Consequently, tern numbers were also way down, with perhaps 100 Common
Terns present. The number of herons and egrets was also greatly reduced,
with the exception of Black-crowned Night Herons, which were still abundant.
There were a few sand lance remaining and I noticed one minnow, which looked
like some species of silversides, being fed to a juvenile tern by it's

There was a change in the proportion of juvenile terns. A high percentage of
the Common Terns yesterday were  juveniles, unlike previously when juveniles
were almost non-existent. Going forward, a return to large numbers of terns
which stay in the area will depend upon whether or not some species of bait
fish returns in large quantities. Jellyfish numbers were on the rise,
although they were of some variety which did not deliver a sting.

Charlie Barnard Jr.

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