[CT Birds] Icy Stratford
Mntncougar at aol.com
Mntncougar at aol.com
Sun Jan 5 20:19:29 EST 2014
I arrived at Stratford just as the freezing rain was starting, so the day
was less than spectacular. First thing I saw was a man returning from down
the beach with two dogs. One of them was carrying something white in it's
mouth, and when the guy finally made him drop it I got a look. It was
basically just a big clump of white feathers held together by a little skin,
But I am quite certain it was the remains of a Snowy Owl. Feathers definitely
didn't look like they were from a gull - pure white and small and fluffy,
like down. It was definitely not a fresh death, had been lying around a
while I'm sure. But it looks like one more of our Snowies has met a sad end.
Before the rain got too heavy I scoped the marsh from just past the end of
the parking lot. The whole marsh is coated with a sheet of white ice so
visibility was very bad, but I did see a bird sitting in a low tree by the
causeway. Couldn't be certain but it looked like a Dark Morph Rough-legged
Hawk to me. There was a Red-tail sitting in the trees near the airport
entrance. From the airport drive entrance I scoped out a Peregrine Falcon sitting
in a low tree in the marsh.
At Short beach there was a tremendous flock of Snow Buntings. I counted
210 but I'm sure there was more than that as the flock kept shifting as large
groups like that are prone to do. They were right at the entrance to the
main parking lot on the right as you drive to the beach. An hour or so later
they were gone, though. I didn't see a single bird of any other kind in the
flock but it was hard to look them all over that thoroughly. That's the
largest flock of them I've ever seen, by far.
In addition, there was a flock of 10 American Tree Sparrows down near the
east pavilion. Haven't seen many this year, usually only one or two.
Lots of ducks, Mostly Gadwall, in the tidal pond behind the beach towards
the airport. I counted 44 Gadwall, 8 Hoodies, and 8 Canvasbacks. Goldeneye
out in the channel.
I stopped back at Long Beach and got a good look at the Oldsquaw
(Long-tailed Ducks) and more Goldeneye just offshore. Perhaps they were in close
because of the weather. The almost-white Iceland Gull was at the jetty at the
end of the lot as usual, both morning and afternoon.
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