[CT Birds] HAS Big Sit - Station 43 South Windsor
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
American Black Duck
Eastern Screech Owl
More information about the CTBirds