[CT Birds] Milford Point

Frank Mantlik mantlik at sbcglobal.net
Thu Aug 8 17:51:26 EDT 2013

Well put. Many people have made valid points.
I present another factor in tern colony nest failure, and one which may be a big factor at Milford Point (and Stratford's Long Beach) this season. That is the availability and abundance of food fish, such as sand lance.  I'm no fisheries biologist, but it appears to me as though there is very little in the way of small food fish in the lower Housatonic River and nearby LI Sound this year.  You can't raise young without an adequate food supply.
In past years, even with nest/colony failures, there has been a sizable summering population of terns and gulls in this area.  For the past month or so, the number of terns and gulls has been abysmal!  And even the flocks of DC Cormorants, which would normally be feasting via swimming/diving flocks, are not evident this year.  In addition, a couple of birder/fisherman friends have informed me that the Bluefish and Striped Bass fishing this summer has been equally poor.  No food fish, there goes the top-of-the-food chain predators. [Likewise I have recently been seeing Ospreys carrying Sea Robins and Cunners, instead of the usual bunkers(= Menhaden)].

I've been involved with colonial-nesting birds for 35+ years, and they have multiple pitfalls to nesting success.  Anything we can do to minimize these negative factors can only help these critical species.

Frank Mantlik

 From: Shaun Martin <birdj510 at gmail.com>
To: Mark Szantyr <birddog55 at charter.net> 
Cc: ctbirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org> 
Sent: Thursday, August 8, 2013 4:10 PM
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Milford Point

I do not see this as birders vs. birders, this is conservation vs. any type
of disturbance. And I agree, there is most certainly a difference between
most beach-goers and a well seasoned birder. The main difference in my
mind, is the experience and knowledge of just how important the area is. I
would think those who have birded the area the longest, are most aware of
the negative trends the habitat and species have taken in recent years.

The general public is unaware of the problems they can present near nesting
areas, and some just don't care. People do not like to be told what to do,
and asking somebody to stay off an area can become difficult for monitors
and volunteers. If birders, who should know the most about the sensitivity
of the area, are not willing to keep off, how in any way can we expect a
guy flying a kite with his son to care? Even though most are respectful and
cautious, birders have no special privileges over anybody else legally
using the beach. How do we draw the line over who knows what they are doing
and who doesn't? We all contribute no matter what.

The argument that birders have the least amount of impact compared to
others is not the point. The point is anybody, and everybody could have an
impact no matter how small. We owe it to the area, and all sensitive areas
where ever they may be, to educate, and set an example for others. If I was
a mom with my kids on the beach, there is no way I would say sure, I'll
turn around, while a birder trudged past me. That is not fair, and it would
not go over very well.

This is a subject I find very important, as I have done nest monitoring for
several years now, across many states. It never ceases to amaze me how
oblivious the general public is. But when I, as a Wildlife Biologist stay
out of an area, many people see the importance and respect the
restrictions. Perhaps we can stop birding the SENSITIVE areas for a little
while and show the public, that if the birders won't even go, maybe its
actually worth something.


On Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 9:26 AM, Mark Szantyr <birddog55 at charter.net> wrote:

> You know, I am going to get out of this discussion.  I don't bird Milford
> Point for many reasons but constantly bad light and a growing lack of
> access
> are the main reasons.  That I can be at Plum Island in MA in the same
> amount
> of time from my home is another.  I have not even been at the Point since
> the LeConte's Sparrow was there, and then for only one visit,  and not for
> years before that.  The best reason to go there is to see Frank Gallo's
> smiling face.
> I will say that I am disturbed by the idea that conservation professionals,
> including tern and plover monitors,  do not see a difference between
> long-time dedicated birders and the dog-walking, beach-going, fishing,
> kayak-paddling,  fire-work shooting public as it pertains to impact on the
> colony. I am especially interested in the impact the elaborate and
> gargantuan neighborhood fireworks displays have on the nesting colonies on
> the point and into what has been done to put a halt to these unnecessary
> disturbances.  I have not seen any numbers but I am sure the amount of
> non-birding people walking on the spit is far greater than the birders.  I
> am doubly sure that the number of people in the sensitive areas of the spit
> are far and away non-birders.  By singling out the part of the using public
> who actually provide useful information historically and in to the present,
> by means of field notes and reports, summer and Christmas bird census data,
> and word of mouth, singling the birders out because the monitors and the
> conservation agencies can have no enforcement impact on the general public
> who use this land, is disheartening.  Birders bashing birders .  We are
> resorting to cannibalism in order to hang on to a sense of importance and
> relevance in the conservation struggle.  Sort of funny.  Sort of sad.  A
> hurricane could certainly sort this out.
> Mark
> Mark S. Szantyr
> 80 Bicknell Road #9
> Ashford, Connecticut 06278
> 1-860-487-9766
> Birddog55 at charter.net
>  "first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then
> you win." Ghandi
> -----Original Message-----
> From: CTBirds [mailto:ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of
> Shaun Martin
> Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2013 8:05 AM
> To: Kevindoyle01
> Cc: ctbirds
> Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Milford Point
> I don't think it is feasible to say, I as a birder know what I am doing,
> therefore I should be let onto the bars. There is more to see and do out
> there then go birding. How is it fair to say that a jogger can't go, but
> somebody with binoculars can. Do we really think a nest monitor would have
> any power to tell a passerby to stay off when there is a birder out on the
> bars? There is no chance that would work, and it would hurt everything the
> monitor is trying to accomplish.
> All it takes is one person, birder or not, to wander to close to a nest and
> disturb it. Although we may see the adult land back down, there are other
> factors which may lead to the nests demise. Not many people realize, but
> long after you have left the beach, the scent from your tracks leads
> predators to areas they may not have investigated before. I have a good
> friend who works with large colonies on the Cape. She had a man wander into
> a protected colony before she was able to get to him. The next morning it
> was clear that a Raccoon had followed the mans tracks to the colony edge,
> and feasted. The Raccoon with this new source of food came back over and
> over that night. That is not what a ground nesting species needs.
> The only real way to protect the nesting area, is for the whole area to be
> off limits. This is maybe possible down the road with an increased presence
> of volunteers, and a massive effort by the general public, but at the
> moment
> this is unlikely. Once we begin thinking things like- I am a responsible
> birder, therefore I should be able to see the area, but those other people
> who are not responsible and do disturbing things can't- we are in my
> opinion, being slightly selfish. If we all want to see this area thrive,
> then we ALL need to stay out of it during the nesting season.
> Those 10 extra birders who stay off, may lead to 5 extra joggers staying
> off, which may help a dozen more birds fledge, and that in my mind, is
> worth
> it.
> Shaun
> On Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 4:15 AM, Kevindoyle01
> <kevindoyle01 at charter.net>wrote:
> >
> > To all the responsible and educated people who apparently replied to
> > Scott's email which was a direct reply to observations over 3-4 times
> > I was there maybe 2 hours at the most (by the I'm Kevin Doyle). 3
> > times i witnessed the birds from the tide line at low tide, why I was
> > dived bombed so much the other when I was well over 150 feet from the
> > coloney Scott it clear to me. STAY OFF.I have only birding and
> > photographing birds for 5 years but have been taught & educated by
> > some excellent birders who told,taught,educated me just what I'm
> > looking at and answered what I thought were stupid questions. I was
> > educated about the Piping Plover and Least Tern by the resident plover
> > checker. Please forgive by remembering his name. He gave me valuable
> > live lessons on these birds as well all shore birds ansd passing out
> > literature. I will credit Paul Fusco for all he's advised me and also
> > his 25 years of experience. The other the report that started this as
> > one said, when the birds are out on the tide line at dead low tide what
> am
> I to do? I stop in my tracks don't move, photograph ...
> > observe then move especially if the birds are upset by my presence. As
> > I said the adults and the lone chick I saw the other day didn't care
> > if was there or wasn't. They were being birds enjoying their freedom.
> > In no way did I upset them as Scott assumes I have.
> >
> > As many pointed out birders are respectful and knowlegable when it
> > comes to sensitive areas.Again as noted people, dogs, cats other
> > preying birds (Mother Nature) in the form the severe high tides surely
> > took their toll. I can tell you from the few hours spent out there ...
> > there maybe close to
> > &100 other people with 95% being none birders nor educated on the
> > plight of these birds that I've seen and if Scott needs to know close
> > some even walking through the protected zones. I do what I can to
> > educate just as I was and still am today that one needs to stay away
> > as far as possible not to affect these birds. Some listen and move
> > others reply I didn't know and thanked mevfor what LITTLE knowlege I
> > have in CAPS while others have said who the hell are you (me) to tell
> > me what I can and can't do. Then point to their homes. What can I do but
> walk away.
> >
> > Scott needs to understand which I'm sure he does but my time there had
> > very little if no affect on the lose of these birds. It's all the
> > other human traffic that's out there when no birders are there.
> > Joggers late in the evening or early in the morning and kids coming
> > and horsing around at the far end of the sand where they walk across
> > from the main land. Now at low tide there is no water as where last year
> and in the past there was.
> >
> > I hated now to have called out Scott since he didn't call me out but
> > I'm  well aware by his reply who he was talking too.
> >
> > It's a shame now that it's come down to this. Not being anywhere near
> > and expert but if people are mindful and respective of all birds and
> > wildlife we can co-exist with each other. Birds in particular have
> > taught me more lessons than I can count on life and cooperation. I
> > can't help if there a few who ruin it for everyone else not just at
> Milford Point but all over.
> >
> > I have no idea if those who replied helped me or not but for those who
> > defened being on the Point done right won't hurt the birds, thank you.
> >
> > To finish with my education on life regarding birds the ospreys whom
> > over
> > 5 years I'm going to guess I've spent well over 500 hours
> > watching/photographing/observing to my knowledge are the only bird of
> > prey to allow humans into their lives. What troubles me this year at
> > Milford as I noted with the 19 point posting last week and what I saw
> > the other day it troubles me greatly that this one lone chick will not
> > survive it's migration (maybe). Through it's actions I believe it
> > doesn't know how to catch nor where locally to find food thereby
> > what's it going to when the adults leave and it's left on it's own?
> > That's nature I guess keeping the situation in balance. Never-the-less
> > that doesn't help with how I feel. I love photographing the osprey
> > respect it"s life and how fast in such a short time life lessons need
> > to be shown, taught, learned for the survival of future generations.
> > Some of my best bird photography has come from the help of the ospreys
> > now anticipating their moves after spending so many hours with them.
> > What this has to do with the terns I have no idea other than they are
> birds also.
> >
> > To end it was a thrill 5 years ago when the DEEP piping plover expert
> > showed me my first pp and when the time came the newbornes, as well as
> > last year when I saw my first oyster catcher  chick fly and this year
> > the very first again least tern baby. I can't begin to tell all of you
> > how thrilled and honored to have witnessed such magical things as the
> > birth of new born life. Where else am I to see this?
> > I have no clue and when all the birds at Milford Point leave there is
> > a void in my life especially the ospreys who are here for over 5
> > months. One day they appear and when the time comes they are gone.
> > Looking at an empty nest knowing that it will be 6 long months before
> > their return as ridiculous as this may sound it's as though I've lost
> > a good friend. Am I wrong to feel this way just as I was when I heard
> > the terns had taken a major hit. It all upsets me since the odds are
> > stacked highly against them to begin with.
> >
> > Excuse any gramical (like) spelling I'm writing this at 4:30 am when I
> > saw all the posts. I now awake but when I started I wasn't. Lets just
> > hope that everyone can get along with birds, wildlife and more
> > importantly each other as human being.
> >
> > Thanks for listening.
> >
> > A very sleepy Kevin Doyle from New Milford, Ct.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Sent from my Samsung EpicT 4G Touch
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