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Trip Reports:

Stellwagen Bank Trip report - June 3, 2018

This trip was originally scheduled for May 19, 2018 but forecasts of high winds, high seas and rain caused postponement until June 3rd. On that new June 3rd date we had no rain but the winds kicked up and the seas became rough, forcing us to abort the trip after just three hours. The Captain kindly provided rain-checks for future trips on his whale-watching boat this year for all of the 70 birders and whale watchers on board.

​We left the dock at 7am, with 2-3 foot seas, and a remarkably beautiful clear breezy day, around 60F. Within several hours, however, growing winds caused 6-8 foot seas and too much bouncing around for good bird watching, so we elected to abort the trip and return to dock.  We did see three humpback whales in central Stellwagen Bank along with the following birds:

80 Herring Gulls, 20 Greater Black-backed gulls, 3 Double-crested Cormorants, 2 Common Loons, 3 Northern Gannets, and 2 Wilson's Storm-petrels.  We tried but were unable to find any shearwaters, jaegers or waterfowl.  The weather was also too dynamic to allow our plankton tow or deploying our Secchi disk. 

​We saw fewer birds than hoped for, but enjoyed a beautiful windy sunny morning on the ocean. ​The full trip report is available at trips33.blogspot.com.

Respectfully submitted, Tom Robben

Greenstone Hollow Nature Preserve - May 26, 2018

The day was clear and sunny.  We could not ask for a nicer day for our start of nesting season walk.  The leaves were out, so we practiced birding by ear.  Five of us gathered for the Greenstone trip, including two new members.  Welcome to Hartford Audubon.

The roadside started us off with a variety of birds.  A Green Heron flew over.  We had several Blue-winged Warblers that were the abundant nester we found.  We also had an Eastern Kingbird.   This was a new species for the preserve.

In the shrubby field we found a scattering of Yellow Warblers.  We are trying to improve the habitat for such shrub nesting species.  We also had a number of Great-crested Flycatchers.   This was a new species for the preserve.  Several Baltimore Orioles were singing, but the nests were hidden.

Crawling towards the road was an Eastern Box Turtle.  It was just sitting there closed up in its shell.  We moved it across the road in the direction it was heading and wished it well on its way

In the marsh we saw a Red-winged Blackbird nest with the female sitting on it.  Then she flew off and returned with some yummy morsel for the chicks, and repeatedly flew off and returned to feed the young.  The nest was not well hidden, so we got to see it easily.  I reported this to the Bird Atlas project.  To end it, we had a Wood Duck fly over.

We had a total of 34 species, including 4 warblers.

Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden

  Tanager Hill - May 9, 2018

Tanager Hill is, without a doubt, the most beautiful birding location in Simsbury.  And it happens to lie directly under the main approach into Bradley Airport.  For the sake of our May 9th fieldtrip we had to add seven species of “airline” birds in order to bring our total to forty.  Take away the airlines, and our total was a meager thirty-three species.  Fortunately, our dilemma was mitigated by spectacular looks at several very cooperative Blue-winged Warblers.  Sitting boldly in the sun along the powerline, the Blue-wings dazzled us.  Admittedly, their wings are not JetBlue, but they are blue enough to create a wonderful contrast with their vibrant yellow heads and undersides.  We suspect that at least several were males, posturing and displaying with the hopes of being United with a willing female.  Also putting-on a show was a very cooperative Louisiana Waterthrush.  Sitting patiently on a tree limb, it gave us a great opportunity to discuss the differences between it and its close cousin, the Northern Waterthrush.  We wondered where this one wintered. Did it come north from the Caribbean ?   Or perhaps it arrived from the Southwest, crossing the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Delta on its way to Connecticut.  Although our target bird, the Hooded Warbler, did make a brief appearance, it was seen by only a few of us.  Fortunately, the Hooded is a reliable nester at Tanager Hill, and at least one of our participants returned the next day for an excellent look.  Finally, a Barred Owl, made a spectacular and unexpected appearance, to the delight of all.  Looking regal and All American, he showed lots of Spirit by giving everyone an extended audience.  Incredibly, there was no sighting of the namesake Scarlet Tanager.  Either he missed his flight, or perhaps he continued non-stop to the Air in Canada.


Respectfully submitted, Doug Beach and Jon Ward

Quarry Park and Connecticut River Floodplain -  May 5, 2018

A partly cloudy and warm day greeted us as we started out the walk.  There had been a heat wave the previous three days, and the leaves were coming out.  Eight of us turned out to see what was in the park.

The upper level had a few birds new for the year, Baltimore Oriole, and Grey Catbird.  We heard a Hairy Woodpecker, an unusual one for this trip.  The upper part of the quarry had a wind blowing, so birds were few and far between.

On the lower levels we found several singing Wood Thrush.  We had a Red-shouldered Hawk fly over, a new species for this trip.  We had a Rose-breasted Grosbeak singing in the woodlands.

We also found several warblers, Black and White, American Redstart, Black throated Blue, and Pine.  We found an Ovenbird skulking under a log, a new species for this trip.  We had a Northern Parula that was identified by photo.  We also found two Brown-headed Cowbirds chasing a female.  The quarry part of the trip netted 37 species.

The meadows were flooded over from the recent rain, so we took the second part of the trip on the Wood Parcel on Middletown Ave. In the Wood parcel we had a Green Heron fly over.  We had two warblers, Black-throated Green and Yellow, both singing.  We had a Baltimore Oriole stripping nesting material off some small plants.  A good sign of a nest to come.  And we heard a Warbling Vireo in the trees. 

The Wood parcel part of the trip netted 23 species. Overall we had 46 species, including 8 warblers.  The results were shared with the CT Bird Atlas project as nesting activity was found.

Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden

Lower Greenwood - Barkhamsted walk - May 5, 2018

On the 5th of May 14 of us explored Lower Greenwoods in Barkhamsted. The property is owned by MDC and our birding was done by walking down the dirt road. We were rewarded with great views of 51 species.  We had the pleasure of watching several Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Baltimore Orioles flying and landing in the trees together. We also observed a sapsucker excavating a hole in the front and back of a tree. It will be an interesting tree to check on and figure out if they use either hole  as a nest site.  As always a great morning spent with friends.

Respectfully submitted, Mickey Nordell

Audibles and Edibles walk -  April 28, 2018

13 of us began to look Down at 17 species of healthful herbs and UP at 28 species of birds. The morning was cool but sunny. Highlights were: Double-crested Cormorants(FOx33) , Turkey and Black Vultures,Eastern Towhee and many Savannah Sparrows. The Longo Farm Preserve,off Hebron Rd. in Glastonbury is a beautiful open space.

Respectfully submitted, Ernie Harris

Greenstone Hollow Trip Report - April 7, 2018

Six hardy souls met around 8AM.  I had said that the walk would be cancelled in the event of rain, but had failed to mention what would happen if there was snow.  As we walked through all the trails of the preserve, the temperature hovered around 37ºF and occasional snowflakes drifted down.  Despite that, we did pretty well sighting a total of 23 species - not bad considering how late Spring seems to be in coming this year.  As usual, Larry Lunden kindly recorded the species and sent them to e-bird.  Here is his list.  

Wood Duck  4
Mallard  3
Wild Turkey  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Mourning Dove  6
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
Eastern Phoebe  3
Blue Jay  10
American Crow  3
Tree Swallow  5
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Tufted Titmouse  3
Carolina Wren  2
American Robin  5
Northern Mockingbird  1
Song Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  7
Red-winged Blackbird  2
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Common Grackle  3


Our next scheduled bird walk here will be Saturday, May 26 at 8AM, so mark your calendars.  However, feel free to stop by any time and enjoy the sanctuary - it’s a delightful place to walk as well as look for birds.  It’s on Ridge Blvd, left off of Rt 187N, about 1.8 miles north of Rt. 20 in East Granby center.  

Respectfully submitted, Chris Fisher

Satchuest Point RI trip - March 31, 2018

Five birders met at Sachuest Point N W R in Rhode Island for my annual trip. We started out along the trail that overlooks the ocean finding a small amount of the usual duck species but the best bird was one or two Northern Gannets. However, once we rounded the curve in the trail things picked up. We had good numbers of Surf and Black Scoters as well as two White Winged Scoters along with the usual Harlequin Ducks. In the distance were a number of Great Cormorants sitting on the rocks. Also seen here near the road was a cock Ring Necked Pheasant which I was assured by the refuge staff that it was NOT pen raised!

Our next stop was to Trustrom Pond N W R where we picked up a number of small birds at the feeders. We always get more passerine birds at the feeders than we see in the woods. Probably because they know the feeders are here! Downy Woodpecker, Black Capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White Breasted Nuthatch, White Throated Sparrow and Northern Cardinal were new for the day. Along the trail on the way out to Osprey Point we found a Golden Crowned Kinglet and Eastern Bluebird. Upon arriving at the pond we picked up good on the ducks including American Wigeon, Gadwall, Blue Winged Teal, Green Winged Teal and best of all several Redheads to bring our duck total to 20. Also found was one more Eastern Bluebird.

Next we visited Moonstone Beach where we added Piping Plover.

Our final stop was a new stop for this trip called South Shore Wildlife Management Area. We did not see many birds here but later in the season it should prove productive. What was here though was a huge Snapping Turtle! At the beginning of the trip I commented I would like us to see 60 species. Total species for the trip-60!

 Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins, guide

Stratford, Ct Trip - March 31, 2018

With the Hartford Audubon Society walk this morning we had some nice birds around Stratford.

A drake Blue-winged Teal off Stratford Point was a real treat, as I had not had one there before. There was also a flock of about 400 Long-tailed Ducks, fairly close to shore. Tree Swallows, a singing Field Sparrow and two Eastern Phoebes gave us a taste of Spring. A first or second Glaucous Gull flyby was another treat. We had about a dozen Great Cormorants flying by and at least one D.C.

Long Beach had thousands of gulls offshore and also both species of scaup. Mr Long Beach, the now adult Iceland Gull put in an appearance and an adult Northern Gannet flew by.

Birdseye had a drake Northern Shoveler. We also had a Snowy Owl at an undisclosed location.

Respectfully submitted, Patrick Comins, Meriden

Hartford County Boat Launch Tour. Feb 2, 2018

The highlights of this years boat launch tour included Cackling and Snow Goose at Donald Barnes boat launch in Enfield, Common Raven, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon at King's Island boat Launch in Enfield, great looks at a Bald Eagle nest at the Dexter Coffin Bridge launch in Windsor Locks, five Bald Eagles at Riverside Park in Hartford, another Bald Eagle nest at Charter Oak Landing in Hartford. We also visited the Rocky Hill Ferry, which had a lot of ducks, but nothing unusual. By the time we were done, we turned Super Bowl Sunday into Super Bird Sunday! Go Eagles! You know, the ones that wear white helmets!


Respectfully submitted, Paul Cianfaglione


Cape Ann/Newburyport. Jan 20 & 21, 2018

Nine HAS members and friends set out in hopes of moderately cold weather and lots of birds. On Saturday morning we explored the upper reaches of Cape Ann. The rewards included fabulous looks at Harlequin Ducks, Thick billed Murre, Barrows Goldeneye, Razorbill, Red throated Loon, Northern Gannet, and the scoter trifecta: Black, White winged, and Surf Scoter. A small flock of Purple Sandpipers were found on Bass Rocks in Gloucester. The best highlight was the sighting of two Peregrine Falcons. Sunday in Newburyport: The Government shut down, but Plum Island was open for birding. Sightings of Red tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier (Gray Ghost), a close-up view of a Rough legged Hawk, and distant looks at Snowy Owl were the raptor delights. Salisbury Beach State Park offered closer looks at 2 more Snowy Owls. The day ended with 12 Sanderlings. Total species: 44


Respectfully submitted, Fran DAmico






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