[CT Birds] Mill River Menhaden

Robert Hutton rvhuk at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 5 09:24:59 EDT 2014

Good morning friends. I was driving on Grand Avenue this morning and was greatly surprised to see a Great Egret landing almost right at the bridge by 259 Grand Avenue across from English Station. I stopped the car and walked back and was astonished to see hundreds of gulls on the water nearer to Lombard Street plus a Cormorant behaving very oddly, bobbing up an down on the top of the water. There were in fact two Great Egrets and a Great Blue Heron plus a second Cormorant flew overhead and on the other side of the water there were a good number of Ospreys and a few mixed gulls between the Chapel Street Bridge and the Grand Avenue Bridge at English Station.

Initially I didn't see the dead fish, but when I was watching the Ospreys I saw a Menhaden swimming on its side and looking very gray. As it approached the bridge two other Menhaden floated past with the tide. Further examination saw dozens of dead Menhaden and the birds are obviously having a feast. My concern was that the birds would also be affected by the dying fish but David Simpson of the marine Fisheries Department at the DEEP seems to think the birds will be fine, that Menhaden losses like this are not uncommon. There is an oily residue on the water here but Mr. Simpson thinks this is likely from the decaying Menhaden.

Anyway, this little spot is a new BIRDING LOCATION for me. 

2 x Great Egrets
1 x Great Blue Heron
8-10 Ospreys
2 Double Crested Cormorants
Numerous Ring-billed Gulls
Numerous Herring Gulls
2 Laughing Gulls

Robert Hutton
New Haven

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