[CT Birds] Least tern

Kevindoyle01 kevindoyle01 at charter.net
Wed Aug 7 10:13:58 EDT 2013

I read where Frank M.saw his first least tern juvenile of the season the other day and mentioned something about the lose of the nesting birds ... I'm wondering what it was. Could it have been the super moon and the high tide since at Milford Point right through the protected are there was definitive line of brackish material (i hope that's the right word) along with a red line in the sand. To me it appeared to run right through where the terns set up their nests.

But 3 weeks ago at Milford Point by accident I spotted a new born least tern no larger than a piping plover looking nothing like it's parents a little ball of soft down.

Over the past 3 weeks I've been able to find it asuming it's the same bird and witness it's growth.

I believe last Friday I spotted it again now able to fly but no matter where I was I was being dived bombed very aggressively by 2 adults ... so much to the point I had to leave. Why so protective then and not other times ... I need someone with more knowledge than me to explain.

To continue I went down to Milford Point this past Monday to check on the lone osprey since my last visit I witnessed some very unusal activity with the birds. That 19 point post last week well again more unusal action this late in the season. From my observations this bird may have a 30 to 70% chance of survial ... Why because I don't believe it knows how to catch fish or where to find them. It's a long story but this still about the least tern chick.

I venturned out to the sand now dead low tide 4:30-ish where I saw my first ruddy turnstones this year and while moving forward 2 adult least terns sitting out in the open on the tide line. Where they didn't care if I was there or not. Scanning the area I spotted the chick maybe 20-25 feet from the adults semi camoflauged in the rocks. It now is nearly as large as an adult and to my eyes has lost most if early weeks feathers and has taken on far more adult like characteristics.

Despite semi hiding the adults didn't bother me and whether I should mention this or not I was no less than 15-20 feet from it and it couldn't have cared less. When it wanted to move it did and farther down the bar I found it protected by 5 adults. Again ill-concerned with my presence. With the terrible light I returned to my car.

On the way back I will leave the ladies name of this but she's an official bird counter observer for the Audubon and see told me she's spotted 5 juveniles on the sand bars. I can't argue since I haven't seen them and I told her I believe I've been lucky enough to have been following the same one and pointed out where it was.

So that's my experience with the first least tern chick now juvenile near adult that I've seen in my 5 plus years of birding.

Can any one tell me or explain why the shore birds at Milford Point are so scarce this year? In the past years they have never let me down photographably wise but for one day in mid May when there were more birds than one could even begin to count. Since that one very few and at times void of birds altogether. Not to saw they weren't there on the days I wasn't.

Kevin Doyle New Milford,Ct.

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