[CT Birds] Menunketesuck Island birds + an interesting DCCormorant observation

Christopher Loscalzo closcalz at optonline.net
Sat May 3 20:07:06 EDT 2014

5/3/14-- in Westbrook.  My wife and I kayaked around Menunketesuck Island at
the mouth of the river at high tide, in mid-afternoon today.  Highlights of
the birds sighted were: 18 PURPLE SANDPIPER, 40 Ruddy Turnstone, 180 Dunlin,
8 Black-bellied Plover, and 6 American Oystercatcher.   There was a large
flock of Brant (~150 birds) feeding among the rocks at the north end of the
island.  Three separate flocks of Glossy Ibis flew by, totaling 60 birds.
The most remarkable observation, though, was of Double-crested Cormorants.
There were eight cormorants roosting on the rocks at the south end of the
island, as they often do.  We then spied a large flock of birds flying high,
from west to east, along the coast, heading toward us.  As they approached,
we saw that it was a flock of migrating cormorants, about 40 birds, flying
in a loose V-formation, about 500 feet above the water.  As they flew past
over the island, 6 of the 8 cormorants on the rocks took off.   They slowly
rose, and eventually caught up to and joined the migrating flock.  It was
amazing to see.  It was as if they were catching the cormorant train as it
passed by.  Of course, one can see the advantage for these birds to do what
they did: by joining the larger flock, they'll take advantage of the reduced
wind drag of flying in the V-formation with the other birds.  In my 40+
years of birding, though, I have not witnessed such a phenomenon.  One of
the great things about birding is that every time you go out, you have the
chance of seeing something new.  


Good birding,


Chris Loscalzo, 


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