[CT Birds] CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW Stratford & more

Scott Kruitbosch skruitbosch at ctaudubon.org
Fri May 4 22:35:05 EDT 2012

Tonight several of us confirmed what had been a probable CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW that I discovered early this morning at Stratford Point. I flushed it from a small pine near the entrance while looking at many little migrants hopping all over. Hearing Wood Thrush while coming in told me that many had been dumped here, obviously out of place, with the rain hours earlier. After my shock and the first flush, I flushed it again a few seconds later and it moved around me, calling twice (a grunt or croaking kind of noise). It then went back into the thick shrubs, brush, and trees on the adjacent Coast Guard property. Subsequent extensive searches and playback with Twan Leenders, Sean Graesser, and Frank Mantlik came up empty, which was not a shock. I got a pretty good look at it for those brief glimpses in decent light directly in front of me. It was large, with long wings, a moderate brown overall with a little tawny towards the tail. I felt strongly enough that it was a Chuck, not a Whip, and hoped we'd have success later even though I doubted it.

This evening a small group waited in the area I had discovered it, and about 8:15 I spotted it fly out from just about the same pine it was in this morning. It landed perfectly on the fence in front of us, sitting on it in plain view in decent enough light for a minute. The large size and head combined with good looks at the body, then subsequent flight and hunting showing long and pointed wings, all said Chuck. It kept making that grunting rough call basically the entire time. It would occasionally land on the fence again or a tree branch. It went out of sight for a while after 9 but was hunting again as of 9:45 when the last of us departed. Photos were not obtained (well, none of real use despite effort), but several of CT's best were on hand who all had excellent views and continual looks.

I will open up Stratford Point tomorrow night and we can take a shot at this again. Feel free to come on down - 1207 Prospect Drive, White-tailed Kite country. Since I anticipate many visitors please drive in the driveway, slowlyyyyy because this is where the bird will be if it is there, and head up it until you take a left and get near some buildings. Park here wherever and then you can walk back down towards the entrance where the bird was seen and continued to hunt all night.

>From Scott Kruitbosch:
05/04/12 - Stratford Point, Stratford -- 73 species including 1 CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW. Numerous other highlights and FOY birds included Frank Mantlik spotting 4 WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, 1 AMERICAN PIPIT, 1 BROWN THRASHER singing and out for prolonged periods, 2 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, 1 Least Flycatcher, 16 Common Tern, 51 Semipalmated Plovers, 8 Least Sandpipers, 1 Eastern Kingbird. Many out of place woodland species like Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, 6 warblers, etc.
05/03/12 - Weston, Trout Brook Valley -- A few hours revealed 59 species with 14 warblers among them, most notably 4 Worm-eating and 22+ Ovenbird. Also 16+ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, dozens of White-throated and Swamp Sparrows littering the forest. Many FOYs for me.
05/04/12 - Stratford yard -- 1 BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER out of 11 species the last few days including Nashville on 5/2 and 5/4. Wood Thrush, Chimney Swift, Blue-headed and Yellow-throated Vireos common. Green Heron arrived on 5/3.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician
Connecticut Audubon Society
2325 Burr St.
Fairfield, CT 06824
CAS blog: ctaudubon.blogspot.com
CAS Twitter: twitter.com/CTAudubon
Email: skruitbosch at ctaudubon.org

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