[CT Birds] Long Island Sound drama

Nick Bonomo nbonomo at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 18:16:07 EDT 2015

My brother somehow talked me into fishing with him yesterday morning
around the Norwalk/Westport/Fairfield area. Given the weather
conditions (cold, strong NW breeze), I would have rather been birding
on land. However, it was very cool to see passerines reorienting north
back towards land after obviously having been blown over water by the
night's gusty winds. Several Yellow-rumped Warblers, sparrows, and
Dark-eyed Juncos could be seen struggling to fight their way back
towards land. Birds were dropping onto whatever piece of solid ground
they first reached. At one point we were right against the Penfield
Reef Light, and on/around the lighthouse itself at one time were
Chipping, Song, Savannah, and Swamp Sparrows. Kinglets and juncos also
made brief appearances before continuing the short distance to the
mainland. These birds were tired.

I wasn't the only one who noticed the struggling passerines though.
Laughing Gulls were opportunistically picking these birds off. The
gulls were most interested in the nearby bluefish blitz, but every now
and then I would see a few gulls break away to chase a landbird over
water. One of the juncos almost landed on our boat to take cover. It
was pretty dramatic stuff. A couple of the birds did seem to get away.
I had never seen Laughing Gulls do this out there before.

Later in the morning, on our way back through Norwalk Harbor, two
Laughing Gulls were pursuing a larger, long-tailed passerine as it
crossed the harbor moving west. It was clearly a cuckoo, though I
could not tell which species with my naked eye from that distance. The
cuckoo somehow broke away and safely dove into cover on Peach Island.

Nick Bonomo
Wallingford, CT

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