[CT Birds] storm birds sunday 8/28

julian hough jrhough1 at snet.net
Mon Aug 29 21:51:37 EDT 2011

Apologies for the brief email, still without power in New Haven, but wanted to 
get some info out..

8/28 Morningside Drive Area, Milford, with Nick Bonomo
Nick Bonomo and I had mulled this spot as a good vantage point due to it's 
visibility and height. Nick started his vigil early and had a couple of good 
birds prior to me getting there (which I'll let him report). It was pretty 
intense as I left my house to meet him. A quick look at the harbor from my 
street revealed no birds. 

As I got to Milford, I decided to pull into the American Legion parking lot 
overlooking the sound as was rewarded immediately with the first bird I saw 
being an Adult SOOTY TERN over my car!! Fiercely battling the wind, it headed 
out to sea leaving me wet and suddenly awake with adrenalin!

Nick and I watched from his car together, but birds were few and far between, 
not even local terns or gulls were moving, so any bird that popped into view was 
likely to be a "goodie". Nick spotted a storm-petrel moving west and thankfully 
I managed to get on it immediately. We both watched it shearing and battling the 
waves, banking to reveal relatively longish wings (not as long as Leach's) and 
an obvious amount of white wrapping around onto the rump. We both agreed it was 
a BAND-RUMPED PETREL, a species we are both familiar with and was quite a 
startling find. Nick picked up a further WILSON'S PETREL and I had an 
unidentified dark bird that slipped into a trough and was never seen again.

Savin(?) Roasting Company/Route#1, Startford
Alerted by Frank Mantlik, Charlie Barnard and Scott Kruitbosch to a few SOOTY 
TERNS feeding in the bay, we left and shot over there. It was an insane 
spectacle, at least six SOOTY TERNS were whipping back and forth in front of us 
along with two Black Terns. AT that point, there must have been a change, since 
all the birds bucked out of the bay and heading south towards Stratford Point.

Access restrictions to coastal vantage points hurt us in detecting further 
pelagic birds, especially in light of what other species were being seen in NJ, 
NY and MASS.eg. White-tailed tropicbirds and many Bridled Terns, the latter 
noticeably absent given the reports from neighboring states.

AD. SOOTY TERN flying slowly east

Savin Rock, West Haven
AD. SOOTY TERN most likely different from the one above, but can't be sure.
Red-necked Phalarope (1)

An amazing day in CT for storm birds and hopefully everyone was able to get out 
birding safely. Thanks to all for communicating your finds promptly.


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