[CT Birds] HAS Big Sit - Station 43 South Windsor

Brian Kleinman snaketat at cox.net
Tue Oct 10 20:11:52 EDT 2017

The annual HAS 'BIG SIT' happened on Sunday 10/8 at Station 43 in South
Windsor, and unfortunately just like last year, we got rained out after 4

Jay Kaplan, myself (Brian Kleinman), and my 9-year old son Luke arrived at
the Station 43 viewing platform around 5:30am.  The temperature was an
astounding 73°F, which was the warmest start to any Big Sit that I can
recollect.  It was overcast and windy, which is not a good sign if you're
hoping to see any land bird migration.

The marsh was a cacophony of peeping Spring Peepers, trilling Tree Crickets,
and Buzzing-clicking Katydid's, but devoid of bird sounds.  After a while we
heard the distant croak of a GREAT BLUE HERON flying low over the marsh.  It
was looking pretty bleak until an EASTERN SCREECH OWL started to call, and
then we heard the bass like notes of a GREAT HORNED OWL!  We usually only
get one species of owl, so not too bad of a start.

Once the sun came up, it stayed hidden behind clouds.  The wind was coming
out of the southwest in 10-20 mph guests.  This was great for raptors - bad
for land migrants.  During windy days, land bird migrants usually hunker
down and stay put.  So where we would usually have YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS
dripping from the trees, and SWAMP SPARROWS practically sitting on our
shoulders, today we saw 1 or 2 "butterbutts", and one shy Swamp Sparrow that
was foraging near the platform.

Luke was eager to help, and he soon spotted a BALD EAGLE flying south over
the CT River.  He's seen Bald Eagles before, but this was his first time
finding one - he was very pleased with himself!  Shortly after the eagle
flew past, a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK flew over the corn field.  A COOPERS HAWK
then flew under the Sharp-shinned Hawk, which apparently the sharpie did not
appreciate.  It was entertaining to see the sharpie swoop down and buzz the
coop a few times.  The coop eventually had enough and kept on going.

Ernie Harris showed up around 8am which a cheerful smile and doughnuts (mmmm
doughnuts).  Ernie helped us tick off PEREGRINE FALCON, NORTHERN HARRIER,
GRAY CATBIRD, and RUSTY BLACKBIRD.  Excitement came when a small flock of 3
shorebirds flew into the marsh and thankfully landed on a small mudflat
about 300 yards in front of us.  We quickly got the scope on them to
discover 2 were PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, and the third was a juvenile
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER.  The later was a new bird for the count.

By 9:30am we had 33 species - and then the rains came.  First just light
rain, then moderate to heavy rain.  If it was just a passing shower, we
would've toughed it out, but the forecast said rain until 2pm with the
possibility of thunder/lightning - so we called it a day.

Sylvia Halkin arrived at the platform at noon and managed to get COMMON
YELLOWTHROAT and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, and Maggie Peretto visited the
platform at 4:30pm and got a late OSPREY flying over, to bring the official
species list of the day to 36.

Without checking the records, I can say with certainty that this was the
lowest HAS Big Day species count to date.  But being in a marsh at dawn,
watching WOOD DUCKS by the hundreds fly over your head with good friends and
family is something I wouldn't trade anything for.

Below is the complete list:

Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Black Duck
Green-winged Teal
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper¹s Hawk
Red-tailed hawk
Bald Eagle
Peregrine Falcon
Pectoral Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Herring Gull
Mourning Dove
Great-horned Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling 
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Northern Cardinal
White-throated Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird

Brian Kleinman
Riverside Reptiles
(860) 653-2535

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