[CT Birds] New London Ferry, Eastern Point Beach Pond, 8/31

mresch8702 at aol.com mresch8702 at aol.com
Wed Aug 31 07:09:55 EDT 2016

On 8/30 I took the Noon ferry out of New London to Orient Point, NY, and then returned on the same ferry leaving NY at 2 PM.  Although I didn't see any pelagic species, I did run into some good concentrations of gulls and terns.  

Numbers by region -

Thames River - (Groton/New London area)
Laughing Gull - 7
Common Tern - 2
Cormorant - 38

Open Water in CT -
Laughing Gull - 9
Bonaparte's Gull - 1
Common Tern - 37
Forster's Tern - 1
Cormorant - 4
Osprey - 1

Open Water in NY -
Laughing Gull - 12
Common Tern - 5

Rips around Orient Point -
Laughing Gull - 60
Common Tern - 120

The vast majority of the birds were concentrated at rips where currents collide, along lines of detritus on the surface (formerly where rips had set up?), and behind fishing boats.  For instance on the route back our path crossed the wake of a fishing boat that had at least 100 gulls, and 15 terns including the Forster's.
Plus Orient Point had a gigantic flock of Tree Swallows, numbering well into the thousands.  At times large portions of the flock would take off out of the trees forming a dark cloud that looked like smoke.  

Prior to taking the ferry I headed to Eastern Point Beach Pond in Groton.  Nice shorebird show with birds close enough to just use binocs - park on Beach Pond Road right next to the pond.  Totals here -

Semi Sand - 55
Least Sand - 15
Pectoral - 2
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1
Semi Plover - 2
Killdeer - 1
Great Egret - 6
Snowy Egret - 4

Plus had 2 Solitary Sands at the pond to the east off Shennecossett Road.  (For you eBirders - the "Eastern Point Road Pond" hotspot is located here, and there are many recent shorebird reports in eBird from this hotspot.  But the shorebirds now are actually in the pond to the west on Beach Pond Road.  Not sure if they formerly were in the eastern-most pond where the hotspot is, or if that spot was used in error.)

Mike Resch
Pepperell, MA

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