[CT Birds] First Time Coastal Birding

Kaye Danforth danforthpainting at mac.com
Wed Jan 23 08:15:09 EST 2013

This weekend I drove south from Vermont to spend Sunday and Monday  
with my brother from Tolland, Mark Danforth,  on my first trip of  
Conn. coastal birding.   Thanks to all the folks that post their  
sightings, we selected Hammonassett State Park to begin our  
adventure.  Although the Red Knot was not to be found, tips from  
friendly birders directed us to Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlins, White- 
winged Crossbills, and two Savannah Sparrows near the picnic tables.   
It's always a pleasure to meet helpful, kind people willing to share  
birds with others, and I'm happy to say it's been my experience all  
around the country.   From Hammonassett we wound our way up the coast  
toward Saybrook, stopping along the way to enjoy sights highlighted  
with Canvasbacks, Common, Red-breasted, and Hooded Mergansers, and a  
stunning Long-tailed Duck.  It was a very exciting first day out.    
Monday we began with hopes of sighting a Razorbill, but as luck would  
have it (from reading the posts later that night) we were at  
Stonington Point when they were spotted at Harkness State Park, then  
later we were scanning at Harkness when, you guessed it, Razorbills  
were seen at Stonington Point.  Ah well, birding can be fickle.   
However, in the morning around 10 am,  just as we were about to leave  
Barn Island having checked out the boat launch and boardwalk area,  
while sitting in the car ready to turn on the key two birds flew  
across the trail in front of us.  Hmm....  Off we went to explore the  
brushy path.  Thank goodness we did!  Numerous White-throated  
Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, and a  
stunning Golden-crowned Kinglet danced around quite close to us. But  
the biggest surprise was perched on a limb not more than 8 feet away  
calmly feasting on bittersweet berries:  one. fat. Ovenbird.  In  
January.  We're still shaking our heads over that one!

As always, those two days went by far too fast.  Monday we hit a new  
Day List record (for us) of 49, and although that might be a breeze  
for some folks, we're pretty excited-  it's just January!  Now, if  
only that leucistic Robin in Franklin had been something else.......

Bird on!

Kaye Danforth
Hinesburg, VT

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