questions or comments?
Contact us at:
Hartford Audubon Society
P.O. Box 270207
West Hartford, Connecticut
Or e-mail us at:
hartfordaudubon at yahoo.com
Gay City State Park Walk
- May 5, 2013
A dozen birders spent a cool starting but
sunny morning in Gay City State Park. It was very bird-quiet. We stared
off with several road-hugging CHIPPING SPARROWS , an EASTER PHOEBE nesting
in a kiosk, a definitive song of SCARLET TANAGER and glimpses of YELLOW
WARBLERS,which later were less quick. Near the beach/pond aLEAST
FLYCATCHER and very active male TOWHEES. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS 'buzzed'
above us, VEERY'S at our feet, several BLACK&WHIE WARBLERS,OVENBIRDS. a
couple male REDSTARTS and the song of a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK.
While lunching on the deck at Fiora Rd. two
COMMON RAVENS flew over, calling. Some of us then visited the HERITAGE
FARM in the center of Bolton where we saw TREE SWALLOWS, two EASTERN
MEADOWLARKS and the male of a nesting pair of AMERICAN KESTRELS. Lastly we
stopped at the cemetery hoping to see a BOBOLINK but only got several
'cruising' BARN SWALLOWS and a vocal NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD. Species total
46 or 47
Respectfully submitted, Ernie Harris
Station 43 -
Beginners Bird Walk IV – May 4, 2013
On a beautiful Saturday morning 21 of us set out to find what avian
delights Station 43 had to offer. Although waterfowl were in short
supply we did find seven different types of warbler including
Redstarts and Black and Whites. Warbling Vireos were everywhere as
were Song Sparrows, and we were able to see a Rose-breasted Grosbeak
and a Baltimore Oriole. One of the highlights of the day was watching
a Bald Eagle wheeling in the air above a Common Loon on the river.
The Loon was kind enough to sing for us, much to everyone’s delight.
The other highlight? Watching the baby Great Horned Owls along Vibert
Road. After seeing 54 different species we retired to Duncan Donuts
to make up lies about all the ones that got away unseen.
Respectfully submitted, Gil Kleiner and Jon Ward
Great Pond - Simsbury, CT -
April 20, 2013
Twenty-two people participated on a mostly
overcast morning but a
little sun appeared before the outing was over.
The mud flats produced many Killdeer, several Common Snipe and a lone
Red and White-breasted Nuthatches, a Brown Creeper and a Ruby-crowned
Kinglet were seen from the dam.
Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers told us that spring was close.
Many ducks had migrated through but Wood Ducks, Blacks, Mallards and
two female Hooded Mergansers, along with a Pied-billed Grebe, kept us
The resident Red-tailed Hawk also showed off several times.
At the end of the morning twenty-nine species were counted.
Thanks to all for attending.
Respectfully submitted - Roger Preston, Gil Kleiner, Jon Ward
Hollow Birdwalk, Saturday April 13, 2013
The group met at 8AM by the entrance to
Greenstone Hollow on Ridge Blvd. in East Granby. There were 16 hearty
souls who braved the 38 degree temperatures and wind which seem to have
become all too common this year. Our final bird list consisted of 27
species. Not bad for a chilly morning in early April. We started our
birding along the overlooks to the Beaver Pond on both sides of the
road. We watched 3 Wood Ducks circling around and a couple of very vocal
Phoebes. We also walked along the Old Farm Road to the Wood Duck Pond
Overlook and looked out over Blackbird Marsh which lived up to its name
with plenty of brightly colored male Red-winged Blackbirds as well as
some females so our newer birders could see the dramatic difference.
About 8:30, we headed back along the Kinglet Woods Trail and the Old
Apple Tree Trail all the way back to the Willow Wander. The treat that
was waiting for us there was a sizable flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets.
We all had good looks including that nice bright yellow crown. We
continued around the White PIne Loop and down the Cardinal Trail to
Paradise Meadow. We then started back, stopping at the North and South
Meadows Overlooks and Titmouse Brook Overlook, seeing mostly common
birds along the way. We arrived back to the Old Farm Road about 10:30AM
where a few people left us, while the rest headed to the west end of the
road to see the new shed. Along the way we stopped at the Blackbird
Marsh Overlook and had good looks at a couple of Fox Sparrows and a nice
male Downy Woodpecker that was exploring the dead cat tail stalks.
After viewing the framework for the shed, we walked back down the road
to our cars and about 11AM most folks left.
Len and Cathy Schlude stayed longer to
help me set up a new log bench which Len has generously made for us. We
carried it out to Yellowthroat Overlook. This complements the earlier
log bench which Len made for us which now sits at Titmouse Brook
Respectfully submitted, by Chris and
Diane Fisher and Larry Lunden
Donnelly Preserve - April 8,
Six folks met at 7:30AM at the Sullivan Ave
parking lot of the Donnelly Preserve
in South Windsor for a morning walk - finally Spring weather! The HAS
Spring Census started this weekend, so we were able to contribute.
Thanks to everyone's sharp eyes, we got male Black & White and
Green Warblers, neither of which were singing! Other highlights included
Red-shouldered Hawk that was carrying a snake or a stick(?), and a pair of
nesting in an old bluebird box - one perched on top & one poking it's head
out the hole, watching us watch them. Total species for Donnelly Preserve
was 38. Most folks also saw Wild Turkey at Priest Farm while driving to
our meeting point. Four of us went over to Vibert Road afterwards & added
Great Horned Owl for a morning total species of 40.
The 38 species at Donnelly were: Canada Goose, Mallard, Great Blue Heron,
Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove,
Red-bellied & Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue
Jay, Tree & Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse,
White-breasted Nuthatch, House Wren, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird,
European Starling, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated
Green Warbler, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler,
Eastern Towhee, Chipping & Savannah & Song & Swamp & White-throated
Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle,
Brown-headed Cowbird, American Goldfinch.
Respectfully submitted, Patrice
Trip Along the Western
Connecticut Shore line - April 6, 2013
Eight people arrived at New Haven’s Long
Wharf by 8:00 A.M. While there we had many brant, three gull species and
gannets were tallied.
We drove to Sherwood Island SP where we
found old squaw, horned grebes, and more gannets in the sound. The Mill
Pond seen from the entrance road had quite a few ducks including a mallard
X black duck hybrid. It looked mostly like a black duck but with green
sheen to the head. We walked to the spruce grove and had some golden
crowned kinglets. On the way back to the cars a great horned owl flew
into a tree giving good looks for the brief time it was there.
From SI we went to nearby Burying Hill Beach
and found the lesser black-backed gull that has been there for a while.
It was on the water but then alit on a close piling giving us great looks
at its diagnostic yellow legs.
Our next stop was Long Beach in Stratford
where we found the strange white gull that had field marks of both
glaucous and Iceland gulls. There were hundreds of gulls loafing along
the shore near Cove Place in Stratford, and we were able to pick out two
There is a small pond behind an office
building on Access Rd where we found a pair of black crowned and a pair of
yellow-crowned night herons sitting close together.
We looked for the reported Eurasian widgeon
in the cove by Short Beach but, alas, the tide was too low for any ducks.
Bird’s Eye boat launch provided us with a group of coot.
On a small creek off Elm Street, also in
Stratford, we had four greater and one lesser yellow-legs.
Milford Point was at extreme low tide at our
arrival and we couldn’t find much there.
Our next stop was at Oyster River in West
Haven where low tide is usually a good thing since many gulls congregate
there then. We weren’t disappointed since there were about 200
Bonaparte’s gulls that began to leave shortly after we arrived.
Sandy Pt. was loaded with people so we
didn’t bother going out too far.
At New Haven Harbor near Lenny & Joe’s Fish
Tales restaurant, many scaup were resting and we found both species among
the flocks, along with more gannets, well inside the harbor.
Our total species list was 60, including: 15
species of ducks, 7 of gulls and four species of shore-birds.
Respectfully submitted, Carl Ekroth
Rhode Island Trip -
March 30, 2013
Eleven people showed up for the annual Rhode Island trip March 30th. Our
meeting place at Point Judith produced only a few birds such as several
Common Eiders and Horned Grebes. Nearby Fort Cronin produced perhaps the
highlight of the day with a flock of 10 calling Black Scoters seen at
Next we visited nearby Scarborough Beach State Park where a keen eyed
observer spotted a distant Piping Plover. Not much else here which turned
out to be the norm for the day with few birds seen at our various stops.
Trustrom Pond was next where we normally pick up most of the song birds.
Here we added Downy Woodpecker, Black Capped Chickadee, 3 Purple Finches
and American Goldfinch. Also overhead was a Cooper's Hawk and 2 Fish
From hear we ventured down the road to the Kettle Pond Visitor Center
where we enjoyed the exhibits and then hiked the trail behind it where
birds were scarce but ti make up for that we were serenaded by many wood
frogs in a vernal pool. We got to see their heads poking up from the water
which was meet.
Nearby Ninigret refuge was next which was almost devoid of birds save a
goodly number of Buffleheads.
Our last stop was East Beach where the only new bird for the day was a
Red Throated Loon.
We ended the day with an even 50 species including a Pectoral Sandpiper
seen at Trustrom Pond which I forgot to mention earlier. Although we had
hoped for more species we still managed to see 2 species never seen before
on this trip- Piping Plover and Pectoral Sandpiper.
Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins, guide
HAS Timber-doodle trip at
Donnelly Preserve, South Windsor, CT 3/18/2013
Thirteen hardy birders met at 6:30PM at the
West Road parking lot on this cold evening in hopes of hearing & seeing
the Timber-doodle (American Woodcock) mating display. After we walked
through the woods to the back meadow, several Woodcocks were heard
peenting in the wooded areas beginning around sunset. Soon a few birds
were seen flying & landing along the edge of the meadow where we had
excellent looks a couple times of a male peenting on the ground & taking
off for a flight display. It was a cloudy evening, so not easy to follow
the flight all the way up & down, but we could hear well the twittering
sound of the Woodcock wings on descent. We formed a lovely string of
lights (flashlights & headlamps) as we tread our way back in the dark to
our cars. All in all, a rewarding trip!
Respectfully submitted, Patrice Favreau, trip leader
Beginners Bird Walk II - March 2. 2013 - Station 43
Twenty enthusiastic birders were greeted by
overcast, cool and damp
weather in the 30's, complete with snow cover and wet walking.
Four Great Blue Herons and several Red-tailed Hawks were seen flying
over the swamp. Some of the open water produced Wood Ducks, Mallards,
Black Ducks, three Pintails, and a pair of Hooded Mergansers. HAS's
platform is popular with everyone and will be even better when all the
The CT River gave us another pair of Hooded Mergansers and six Common
Mergansers. Two immature Bald Eagles were perched and flying across the
Along Vibert Road everyone was treated to a beautiful male Kestrel
(thanks to Nik Salem). As we watched, he caught a vole (or mouse) and
proceeded to perch and enjoy his meal. Near the treatment plant the
group was able to get good looks at a Merlin (spotted by Ernie Harris).
On Main Street while heading back to our cars, a Red-tailed Hawk with
scraggy tail feathers was perched atop one of the street lights. He
remained there as everyone walked by, thus giving us the perfect end to
Thirty-seven species were tallied up on our lists as we thawed out with
hot drinks at Dunkin' Donuts.
With many thanks for great participation.
Respectfully submitted by Roger Preston and Jon Ward
Beginners Bird Walk II - January 12. 2013 - Station 43
Drizzle, overcast skies and snow cover made
for a wet and muddy walk
but twenty-seven brave birders ventured out.
From the new platform, good views of several Red-tailed Hawks and a
lone Belted Kingfisher were seen.
Walking along the pumpkin field we had Song, Tree and White-throated
Sparrows. Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy Woodpeckers and also a Flicker were
in the hedge row.
A few Mallards and Black Ducks also flew over.
Other birds of interest were Mockingbirds, Robins, Ring-billed Gulls
and a Great Black-backed Gull.
In the CT River were Common Mergansers. A few birders were treated to
a beautiful Golden-crowned Kinglet in the brush close to the boat ramp.
At the ramp a White-breasted Nuthatch and a Brown Creeper completed our
Nine members of the group retired to Dunkin' Donuts to compile our list
of thirty species.
Respectfully submitted, Roger Preston / Jon Ward
Bird Count Summary – Hartford Audubon –December 15, 2012
It didn’t feel like a Christmas Bird Count. Although it wasn’t as warm
as some Counts have been, it certainly wasn’t cold. There was a mild
feeling to the air, perhaps due to lack of any wind. By mid-afternoon,
there were small insects on the wing as temperatures climbed into the
mid-forties. The lack of cold weather in the weeks preceding the Count
kept most water open, and there had been no substantial periods below
freezing that would have eliminated lingering insectivores. And, with
reports of winter finches from around the state, we knew we should have an
impressive species total. The mild weather (and perhaps the elimination
of Audubon’s $5.00 fee for observers) provided 133 field observers and an
additional 7 feeder watchers, our highest participation rate since 2006.
These factors combined to give us a species count of 105, breaking our
2005 record of 102 species. Unusual species abounded, beginning with
geese. A flock of some 800 feeding on the grass of Hartford’s Goodwin
Park Golf Course included a White-fronted Goose, a Brant and two Cackling
Geese. Open water produced a wide range of water birds including American
Wigeon (last seen in 2009), Ring-necked Duck (last seen in 2007) and a
pair of Greater Scaup (last seen in 1998). Three Pied-billed Grebes were
reported in East Hartford and four Double-crested Cormorants were seen
along the Connecticut River, both species last seen in 2008. A Great
Cormorant seen in Glastonbury, and an American Coot, last seen in 2007,
were also notable.
The warm temperatures of late fall no doubt played a role in the
appearance of an Eastern Phoebe in Hartford, a Marsh Wren in Glastonbury,
and a Common Yellowthroat in South Windsor. Although a yellowthroat was
also found on last year’s Count, phoebe was last reported in 2006, and
marsh wren in 2004. Without question, the bird of the Count was a
LeConte’s Sparrow seen on the northern edge of our Count circle
in the Bloomfield Community Gardens. The bird marks only the seventh
record for this species in the State. It was well photographed on Count
Day, but could not be relocated in the days following the Count. It might
be interesting to note that the first record for this species was also
found on a northern Connecticut Christmas Bird Count in 1987 – twenty-five
Reports of winter finches in Connecticut were concentrated along the coast
in the days leading up to our Count. However, a Pine Grosbeak was
reported in Manchester on Count Day, the first time this species has
graced our Hartford Count since 1988. A ten year high count of 138 Common
Redpolls included a flock of 100 feeding on phragmites seeds at the
Hartford land fill.
In addition to the impressive redpoll count, numerous other species
reached ten year high counts in 2012. Some, like Belted Kingfisher, were
likely attributable to the open water. Others, such as seven Barred Owls,
including some in unusual locations, may have been in response to a
scarcity of small rodents making these birds more active and more visible
in daylight hours. Ten year highs were also reached for Merlin, Killdeer,
and American Pipit. Other birds of note included two Long-eared and two
Saw-whet Owls, a Brown Thrasher in Bloomfield, and a Northern Shrike on
Wethersfield’s Main Street, not an expected location for this rarely
encountered predatory songbird. The locations of the winter owls are not
provided on purpose so as not to disturb these birds on their winter
Where there are highs, there must also be lows. Although gull numbers
held steady, the only unusual gull reported was a single Iceland Gull at
the large evening roost located at the north end of West Hartford
reservoir #6. With the closing of the area land fills, it is not likely
that we will see the unusual gulls reported in past years. A count of four
Sharp-shinned Hawks is of some concern, and it is hoped that this smallest
of the accipiters will not go the way of the American Kestrel in years to
come. It should be mentioned that a single kestrel was found atop the
Hartford land fill on this year’s Count. A ten year low for Rock Pigeon
may have been the result of less effort in our more urban areas, while a
low Blue Jay count may be partially attributable to a poor acorn crop. In
2009, we tallied over 16,000 Common Grackles. This year, seven were
reported along with but five Brown-headed Cowbirds and “only” 732
Red-winged Blackbirds. Perhaps a shortage of food plays a role here?
Christmas Bird Counts provide valuable insights into changes to our avian
communities. For the second year in a row, Rough-winged Swallows were
found at East Hartford’s sewage treatment plant. Is this a short term
event, or will this bird, never found on our Count prior to 2011, become
an annual lingerer in our area. This appears to have occurred with Black
Vulture, a bird first reported in 2008. This year, fifteen black vultures
marked yet another record high.
With 105 species, few commonly reported birds were missed this year.
Eastern Towhee and Snow Bunting are seen often, but not every year. The
surprise here was missing Yellow-rumped warbler, a bird that was last
missed 40 years ago in 1972! Three additional species were seen during
the Count Period (or Count Week), three days preceding and three days
following Count Day. An Osprey reported along the Connecticut River in
Wethersfield the day prior to the Count could not be re-located.
More frustrating was the Horned Grebe in the Cedar Hill Cemetery Pond and
a Black Scoter in the Connecticut River off Hartford’s Riverside Park the
day following the Count. Both areas were well-covered on Count Day!
always, the compilers thank all those who participated in this year’s
Christmas Bird Count, and without whose hard work the Count would not be a
success. For those interested, a complete ten year record of the Count
will be available at Hartford Audubon Society meetings, or by sending a
stamped, self-addressed envelope to Stephen Davis, 120 Springwood Lane,
Bloomfield, CT 06002. It was a great Count and the compilers hope that
everyone enjoyed participating in the Count. We look forward to next
Submiitted by Jay Kaplan and Steve Davis
Hammonassett Beach State Park Birding Trip
- December 2, 2012
HAS birders met at Meigs Point, having driven through thick fog . The
fog was beginning to wear off. From the parking lot by the Nature
Center we noted a smallflock of Horned Larks, the rear view of a hawk
sitting on the Os;prey nest in the Marsh (possibly a Cooper's Hawk) , a
Song Sparrow, and a Northern Harrier. We moved to the Bathhouse on the
beach . A leisurely view of the area revealed Black Ducks and a
Greater Yellowlegs in the Rock Pond, Red Crossbills and White-Winged
Crossbills moving from Pine to Pine, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, a flock of
Chickadees, . a Tufted Titmouse, and a Northern Mockingbird. On the
beach were assorted Herring Gulls and Ring-billed Gulls. A Great
Cormorant sat on a rock at the end of the jetty A small flock of Cedar
Waxwings flitted here and there. On the Sound were seen White-winged
Scoters, Surf Scoters, Common Loons, and a Scaup species.
Black-bellied Plover, and Sanderlings were noted at the end of the
Moraine Trail. Also, a Seal(Harbor?). 2 Great Blue Herons wete seen in
A Merlin flew
into the line of trees between the picnic area and the marsh.
Mergansers were in the Swan Pond.
Crossbills, Pine Siskins and a Dark-eyed Junco were seen of the West
end Parking Lot. 28 spies were seen by noon.
Respectfully Submitted, Louise P.
Ten birders found the
Delmarva to be a great place to be birding despite some post Sandy
inconveniences such as gas rationing in New Jersey. Bombay Hook NWR
was the first and last stop on the trip. The refuge headquarters had
fox and white-crowned sparrows, turkey and
black vultures, and red-shouldered and red-tailed hawks,
northern harrier and bald eagle. The refuge road which
passes three major pools, had a variety of duck and shorebirds
including 300+ american avocet, marbled godwit, and good
numbers of close up pintail, shoveler, gadwall, dunlin and
dowitchers. About 2000 snow geese kept their distance on
the hoizon.Lastly, a peragrine falcon whizzed over a pair of swimming
Saturday morning birding began behind the hotel where a
red-breasted nuthatch and over 30 brown headed nuthatches
entertained us, A visit to Chincoteague NWR headquarters revealed
many down trees along with chipping and white-throated sparrows,
and fly by cedar waxwing and evening grosbeak! Although
the refuge road was closed 1/2 mile before Asseateague NS we walked
the distance and were rewarded with greater yellowlegs,
dunlin, semi-palmated and black-bellies plover, marbled godwit
and willet, a calling clapper rail, and a fishing belted
kingfisher. 200+ tree swallows flew overhead, occasionally
landing on the power lines. Also flying overhead were 5000+ snow
geese, a pair of adult bald eagles, kestrel, sharp-shinned
hawk, northern harrier, and another evening grosbeak! The storm
surge had brought the beach over the parking lot and two royal
terns thought this was just fine.Heading off the islands we saw
15 oystercatchers and 6 boat-tailed grackles.
Late afternoon brought us to Blackwater NWR whre we were treated a
flock of 8 tundra swan and four white pelican. We all
enjoyed the beautiful sunset which behind a perched bald eagle. The
final bird of the day was an American woodcock on the side of
the road in Ocean City.
Sunday morning birding began with a black-crowned night heron
near the hotel, many duck at Elliott's Pond, and a single brant
and ruddy turnstone at the Ocean City Inlet. Half the pier was
in the ocean but the area was in relatively good shape otherwise.
Heading north we stopped at Indian River Inlet where 50+ forester's
tern and 30+ gannet were plunge diving, Laughing and
boneparts gulls and black scoter were also visible.
Rehobeth beach had both red-throated and common loons. The
final species count for the trip was 93.
Respectfully submitted, Peter Stephan
Teach the Teacher Session - Hammonasset
- Saturday, October 27, 2012
Sarah Faulkner led a teach-the-teacher
session at Hammonasset State Park on Saturday, October 28th, to share
lesson plans and teaching ideas for outdoor education for grades 3-8.
Many of the lesson ideas were gleaned from her week at the Hog Island
National Audubon Camp's Educators Week this past summer (for which HAS
gave Sarah a partial scholarship). It was a small group, 6 in total,
due to several last-minute cancelations caused by the impending
arrival of Hurricane Sandy. The packet of prepared materials was
mailed to people who had registered but could not attend. The group
first did an "observation walk" to see things that did not belong, to
develop observational skills in students. We then walked the trail out
to the tip of Meig's point, stopping along the way to discuss how to
help students identify birds, plants, habitats, and the
interconnectedness of biotic and abiotic factors. A number of lesson
plans were distributed and the group shared ideas of how to engage
students in the field and how to follow up in the classroom. It was
sunny and 60's -- a beautiful day for the shore! We saw a few birds
(including dc cormorants, ruddy turnstones, purple sandpipers and
sanderlings, plus a nice flock of migrating chickadees), and everyone
went home with good ideas for teaching in the outdoors
Jamaica Bay Trip Report - Saturday,
October 27, 2012
The Jamaica Bay trip was moved from Sunday October 28, 2012 to October
27 because the weather forecast called for the rain from Hurricane Sandy
to start on Sunday. We were rewarded with unusually nice weather: lower
60’s at the start with a high of 73, more sun than clouds and no rain.
We saw 50 species. Several duck species were present but some in
unexpectedly small numbers. This was balanced by some harder to see
species. Before we got to the first big viewing site of the West Pond we
saw an American Bittern, an American Oystercatcher, a Black-crowned
Night-Heron, a small flock of Pine Siskins, many Yellow-rumped Warblers,
both kinglets, a few Horned Grebes, American Black Ducks and a
The West Pond was covered with Brandt and Ruddy Ducks but everything
else was hard to find. We did see small groups of scaup, American
Widgeon, Gadwall and individual Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal
and Pintail Ducks. On the Bay side of the walk we saw a large group of
Greater Scaup and a Peregrine Falcon. As the trail continued on to the
woods side of the pond we saw sparrows and a Brown Creeper.
At lunch at the Visitor Center we saw Song Sparrows, White-throated
Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, a Field Sparrow and a number of
Crossing over to the East Pond we saw several dozen Great and Snowy
Egrets, a dozen Great Blue Herons, more Ruddy Ducks, four Hooded
Mergansers, a tiny island covered with more than a dozen Greater
Yellowlegs and one Dunlin, numerous Cormorants and three friendly Mute
Swans looking for a handout.
We left Cromwell at 7:30 and were on the West Pond trail before 10. We
left at 2 and were back in Cromwell by 4:30. Attendees were Fred and
Donna Nowak, Carl and Catherine Ekroth, Rich Nieman and Joan Lupacchino.
All in all, this was a very nice trip.
Respectfully submitted, Fred Nowak
Rhode Island Trip - Saturday October 27, 2012
Only three of us assembled to bird the
Rhode Island shoreline. We started off at Sachuest Point National
Wildlife Refuge with partly sunny skies and the temperature in the 60's
which I believe is the warmest we have experienced on this trip! One of
the first species we encountered was a nice look at a Long Tailed Duck.
For some reason we hardly ever see one on this trip. As we continued
down the path we flushed 2 Eastern Meadowlarks, one of which perched for
so long that we were able to scope it! They may have been responding to
the habitat enhancement at the refuge which is converting former scrub
into grasslands. Soon after this we spotted a Merlin harassing a crow.
Soon he perched right in front of us for a lengthly time allowing scope
views just like the meadowlark! Next we had 5 drake Harlequin Ducks and
16 Ruddy Turnstones. Waterfowl were scarce, probably due to the mild
weather. Further down the trail we found 3 Great Cormorants mixed in
with their more numerous cousins the Double Crested Cormorants as well
as a Peregrine Falcon sitting on the rocks.Next it was back to the new
visitor center where we enjoyed the new exhibits.
Next we paid a visit to the reservoir just down the road in Middletown
where we added a few Ruddy Ducks, 5 Greater Scaup and a couple of
American Coots. It was here that we decided to go to Barrington to
search for the Ruff that has been around for a while. After much trying
we finally spotted him hiding in the marsh grass. A new state bird for
Our next and final stop was Jamestown where we quickly located the
long staying Wood Sandpiper seen at very close range. There are only
seven records in the lower 48 so what a way to end the trip! A total of
53 species were seen, a bit on the low side as we spent a lot of time in
travel. But what we lacked in quantity we got in quality!
Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins
Meadows Walk - October 21, 2012
Eight birders met behind Glastonbury Town Hall shortly after sunrise
hoping for some interesting mid October migrants. We started out heading
north, making a circle through Riverfront Park, noting dozens of
Yellow-rumped Warblers feasting on poison ivy berries, a lone Hermit
Thrush, a few Pine Siskins mixed in with many Am. Goldfinch, a vocal
Red-breasted Nuthatch and three White-crowned Sparrows. We also had very
good views of two Purple Finches in a treetop and several Am. Black Duck
We spent the rest of the trip in the vast fields of Glastonbury Meadows
(fortunately hunter-free on a Sunday, although, it should be noted, the
meadows are mostly privately owned land). A bit disappointing was the
farmer's decision to till the extensive vegetable fields, removing most
of the weedy growth that attracted so many sparrows a week ago.
Nevertheless, we were greeted by an American Kestrel perched in nearby
treetop and a few American Pipit flyovers. Along the marsh and adjacent
edges and fields, we found a couple more White-crowned Sparrows, a few
Ruby-crowned Kinglets and many more Yellow-rumped Warblers working the
trees and weedy growth (our final estimate was 200 for the walk).
Deeper into the Meadows we spotted many raptors, including a pair of
adult Bald Eagles in apparent early courtship flight, a flyby Coopers
Hawk, and several soaring Red-tailed Hawks. In the best patch of
remaining weedy growth, we found a couple hundred sparrows including
Savannah, Song, Swamp, White-crowned, White-throated, Chipping and a
lone Field Sparrow. The birds were active but difficult to observe as
they dove into cover after taking flight. Our final species was an
Eastern Phoebe perched on the fence of the wastewater plant where we
started the day. After five hours in the field and about 6 miles of
walking, we ended up with 62 species and spring-like temperatures.
Respectfully submitted, Bill Asteriades and Andrew Dasinger
Eight birders spent an evolving 'summer'
day from the parking area behind Goodspeed Opera House on the Ct. River
to a power line 'cut' to Machimoodus S.P. We saw 45 species including:
MERLIN, RUSTY BLACKBIRD, PINE SISKEN (24+),WHITE -CROWNED SPARROW.
Respectully submitted by Ernie Harris
for Rob and Alberta Mirer
Big Sit - Sunday, October 24, 2012
The annual Hartford Audubon Society Big Sit was held on Sunday, October
14th. For the first time, the Station 43 Platform was utilized as the
Center of our circle. The platform affords a good look at the marsh,
making the tall ladder used in prior years unnecessary. The platform
also provides good visibility to the sky both to the east and west, as
well as proximity to the corn field immediately to the south. There is
also substantial brush and trees for migrant songbirds. Unfortunately,
the weather was not to our advantage this year with intermittent
morning showers, an overcast sky, and a sustained south wind in excess
of 10 mph. These conditions were not conducive to migration especially
in the early morning hours. In spite of the weather, there were birds
to be seen. One of the first birds seen just after dawn was a Marsh
Wren. An early Peregrine Falcon that put up numerous Wood Ducks
(several hundred were seen) was a nice surprise so early in the day, as
was a Pied-billed Grebe far out in the marsh. Perhaps the best bird of
the day was a Northern Waterthrush in the brush below the platform along
with numerous Yellow-rumped Warblers. Another surprise was more than
twenty American Coots, the first time this species has been recorded on
the Big Sit. As the skies brightened around noontime, birds were added
in the trees - a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a Towhee, a Purple Finch.
Late day birds included Turkey Vulture, Rough-winged Swallow and
Sharp-shinned Hawk. The total for the day was 57 species. Thanks to the
nine participants - Sylvia Halkin, Ernie Harris, Jay Kaplan, Gil
Kleiner, Brian Kleinman, Micky Nordell ,
Jon and Gerry Smalley and Brian Toal. The Platform was
a great spot and we look forward to doing future Sits there, perhaps
under better weather conditions.
Seabirding on Cape Cod, MA - Saturday,
September 29, 2012
Fifteen of us met in Provincetown, Cape Cod,
Massachusetts for an HAS trip focused on searching for Sabine’s Gull and
other seabirds. It was about 60F degrees, with 10mph winds largely from
the east, and several days of steady rain caused by a stationary front.
The bad news is that we missed our #1 long-shot target bird, Sabine’s
Gull, which was however seen that same weekend near the Maine/Canada
border. The good news is that the steady rains luckily stopped just long
enough for us to enjoy our 3.5 hour cloudy and breezy boat ride around
the waters north and east of P’town, with a very cooperative boat crew,
and enabled us to see lots of good seabirds actively feeding, many
within 20 feet of the whales, and within 100 feet of our boat.
Highlights of our sightings in P'town waters included approximately 50
Manx Shearwaters (excellent close views), over 100 Cory’s Shearwaters,
20 Great Shearwaters, 3 Sooty Shearwaters, over 30 jaegers (most
identifiable as Parasitic, mostly near Race Point, and 2 Pomarines), 11
Red-necked Phalarope, about 300 Gannets, 7 Forster’s Terns, 1 Roseate
Tern, hundreds of Common Terns, etc.
We also enjoyed several more beautiful sea-watches from land, including
Herring Cove Beach, Race Point Beach, Head of the Meadows Beach,
Marconi Station Beach, South Sunken Meadow Beach, First Encounter Beach,
and Nauset Light Beach, where we added more gannets, terns and a few
shearwaters, but at long distance.
For more details on this go to
which is my website dedicated to this Cape Cod Seabirding trip (which
will then also point you to Keith Mueller’s detailed photo-report on
this trip, and the several days before and after this trip). We plan to
run this trip next year on September 8th.
Respectfully submitted, Tom Robben, Keith Mueller, and
Beginners' Bird Walk I
-Station 43 - Saturday, September 15, 2012
Early morning rain must have discouraged a
large attendance but as the weather cleared, eight people enjoyed a
beautiful morning. The new platform made it easy to see Black and White
Warblers, an American Redstart and Common Yellowthroats, as well as a
Marsh Wren sounding off.
Many Wood Ducks, Mallards and a Great Blue Heron were in the marsh. Hawks
included Sharpie, Harrier, Red-tailed and two adult Bald Eagles. Other
birds of interest included Killdeer, Warbling Vireo, Tree Swallow, Gray
Catbird, Mockingbird, Swamp Sparrow and many Red-winged Blackbirds.
The tally at Dunkin' Donuts netted 36 species.
Respectfully submitted, Roger Preston and Jon Ward
– Middletown, Saturday, September 15, 2012
The day began with a
drizzle, cloudy skies and 61 degree temperatures. The first stop was a
very active area on City property at Reservoir Road and Cedar Lane. A
Carolina wren sang while chickadees, titmice, juncos and white-breasted
nuthatches dominated the property. A silent Philadelphia vireo popped up
just 8 feet from the road and electrified the morning. Further south
access to the property was discovered and two brown thrashers and a
red-breasted nuthatch were seen. The next stop were power line cuts on
Berar Hill Road. A kettle of 24 broad-wing hawks was seen while coopers
hawks and a black vulture soared underneath. A pileated woodpecker called
in the distance as it does every year. Blue-gray gnatcatchers flew across
the road. An agricultural area on Brooks Road yielded another thrasher and
a red-tailed hawk with a snake. The trip ended at Guida Farms Conservation
Area where a green heron stalked a small pond while being watched by a
red-shouldered hawk. Yellow-rumped warblers and redstarts darted around
the wood edges and at the distant power line cut two flickers, 15 turkey
vultures, a merlin, a hairy woodpecker and a prairie warbler ended the
day. No HAS members attended and a total of 37 species were seen.
Joe Budrow, Leader
Birding – Meriden, Sunday, September 16, 2012
Partly sunny skies and
63 degree temperatures greeted the day. Meriden was fantastic and the
first stop at Hanover Pond started the day off with a bang. The early
stars were a pair of northern shovelers and three pied-billed grebes. The
grebes have occurred for at least the last three years but I have never
seen a third. Two belted kingfishers actively flew the entire pond. A
red-tailed hawk surveyed the area over the community flower garden while
tow ruby-throated hummingbirds checked out some mums for a potential
drink. They moved on. Great blue herons and a great egret probed the shore
line while tow yellow legs hung out nearby. Mallard duck were plentiful as
were mute swans. No bald eagles here today. A trip to the land fill/
airport area yielded bobolinks and a light-phase red-tailed hawk that
continuously hovered and landed on a distant mound. Shockingly, a barred
owl hooted just once from somewhere. Mockingbirds flitted around the
airport while killdeers flew circularly to the north. A flock of
sad-looking turkeys ate on a vacant residential parcel nearby. A trip to
Hubbard Park’s West Peak yielded a funny interaction between a turkey
vulture and a raven. Upon getting out of the car they were observed slowly
soaring to a radio tower where the raven landed first, then the vulture
just 4 feet away. The raven kept yelling at it until it until the vulture
flew off and soared to the other tower. The raven followed it and landed
four feet from it and continued to annoy. A walk to the peak overlooking
southern Connecticut yielded yellow-rumps, a peregrine falcon, black
vulture and more broad wing hawks. The trip ended at Foster’s Pond in the
City’s east side. The pond was alive with wood ducks, American widgeon, a
pied-billed grebe and a black-crowned night heron. No HAS members attended
and a total of 42 species were seen.
Joe Budrow, Leader
Greenstone Hollow Nature Preserve Trip Report - June
An overcast day greeted us as we started
out the walk. The rain from the previous night made for a few wet
trails. Ten birders met for the walk, including one new junior birder.
Let’s hope he will be an enthusiastic birder in the future. There is now
a group of semi-regulars that show up for most of the walks. This is one
of the best signs I have been that this preserve is becoming a success.
The front part of the preserve was quiet, with only the most common birds
present. We did get the first of several Common Yellowthroats that
are nesting on the preserve.
The trails in the shrub swamp were a little damp, but not extremely so.
The new walkways installed by Chris Fisher kept our feet dry. We found
one or two singing Blue-winged Warblers, a bird typical of this
habitat. Most birds are keeping quiet now that nesting season is here.
The cedar woods gave us our first good bird of the day. We found a pair
of juvenile Green Herons hopping on the branches of a cedar tree.
Chris had spotted them earlier, and we wanted to get them.
The marsh had our best bird of the day. Only giving one call, we
identified a Virginia Rail, a new bird for the preserve. We also
heard a Field Sparrow, another new sighting for the preserve. We
now total 98 species seen or heard there.
We had a total of 30 species, with 2 warblers. Not bad for a quiet
Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden
Station 43 Trip - June 9, 2012
I had been to Station 43 on Friday the 8th to check things
out. The road in was very overgrown and I hadn’t thought to bring
clippers to cut back some of the briars and branches. This morning I did
bring them and so did two others that were on the trip. There were five
of us and were joined by Rick Macsuga who was doing the summer bird
There were a few birds on the way in including a pair of cedar waxwings
at their nest. There were some yellow warblers and a sparrow or two.
We got to the ponds where there were some wood ducks with ducklings, and
the usual suspects. We couldn’t find any Virginia Rails but did get an
orchard oriole, one blue-gray gnatcatcher,(a first for this trip) our
first willow flycatcher and then….a least bittern flying over the pond.
It landed in some weeds and we were able to get scopes on it for good
looks. We continued on and scoped a warbling vireo nest in a tree over
We stopped at the platform and realized a lot of trimming needed to be
done to make it useful. One can only see infront and not up to the
north. Going through the field near the platform was a group of 5 wild
turkeys,also a first for this trip.
Continuing on, we had an American Redstart in the wooded section. The
large corn field was next and as we walked around the edge there were at
least 4 willow flycatchers and more yellow warblers. There were no
Virginia rails responding at the north end of the pond so, on towards the
river we went. There were two killdeer in the field. Walking along the
river, a blue-headed vireo was seen as well as a redstart. A light rain
started so it was decided that discretion should be used and we headed
back to Main St. to drive to Vibert road. While at the ponds there was an
orchard oriole tee’d up in a tree. A second least bittern flew from the
large pond to the small one. Here we got a Virginia Rail to respond,
although it wouldn’t show itself. A marsh wren was also heard here. In
the past, this trip used to have good numbers of marsh wrens but not any
Raptors were noted by their absence.
At Vibert Road we parked by Newbury Brook and walked the dirt road
north. We finally had some raptors, three red-tails. Swamp sparrows,
yellow warblers and willow flycatchers made their presence known. The
roadpassed the planted corn area was overgrown with tall grass. It
doesn’t appear to be used now. At the pumpkin field we headed west
towards the river and the dirt road back to Vibert. An immature bald
eagle crossing the river up stream was nice. At the river, bank swallows
were skimming along the surface. Cat birds serenaded us as we walked.
Once at Vibert Road things quieted down until we got near Newbury brook
when a spotted sandpiper flew into the newly plowed field and two more
catbirds were the final birds of the trip.
We totaled 50 species. Since it was bird count day we tried our best
to get an accurate count and tallied the following: 9 willow flycatchers,
10 warbling vireos, 16 catbirds, 10 cedar waxwings and 33 yellow warblers.
Respectfuly submitted, Carl Ekroth, leader
Spice Bush Swamp & Westmoor Park
Trip Report - June 9, 2012
A cool and cloudy day greeted us as we started out the
walk. Five of us gathered for the bird walk and summer bird count. Due
to the rain last week, the walk was postponed to today. The 33 acre park
was acquired by the Town of West Hartford in 1962. The park has a variety
of habitats including swamp, woods, a pond, and a small field. The town
cleaned up the trails, which had been severely blocked by the October 2011
The leaves were completely out, exercising our powers of
birding by ear. A light drizzle came down on us later in the day, but was
The pond held families out for a swim. The pair of
Canada Geese had 4 goslings in tow. A pair of Mallards had 7
ducklings swimming and foraging in the weeds. The back of the pond had
our first warbler, a Black-and-white Warbler who could only be
heard. Also a Baltimore Oriole was heard singing in the trees.
We heard, and then saw, the first of numerous Gray
Catbirds. In the woods we heard an American Redstart, which
was a life bird for some of us.
Back at the pond we saw a few swallows darting around. It
took us a while to decide they were Northern Rough-winged Swallows.
We also heard a Yellow Warbler calling.
Still looking for more birding sites, and to continue the
summer count, we went to Westmoor Park to try our luck there.
The field by the barn had lots of Barn Swallows.
This is a reliable species here. We also had a flock of 30 European
Starlings. More fledgling activity was noted as a young House
Sparrow was begging for food from its father, who was trying to get
away from it. I guess they have to eat also.
In the woods we heard a Wood Thrush calling in the
distance, but no other notable species. A drizzle was keeping all the
other birds in bed, including the water fowl.
We had a total of 30 species, with 3 warblers.
submitted, Larry Lunden
Canada Goose, Mallard, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied
Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Warbling Vireo, Blue
Jay, American Crow, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Northern Rough-winged
Swallow, Tufted Titmouse, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird,
Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Black-and-white Warbler, American
Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged
Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, House
Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow.
III – New Haven Trip -
Trip leader Joseph Budrow was joined by Sheila Huddleston and Steve
Frazzinifrom West Hartford. Westarted the day in North Haven behind a
plaza on Universal Drive where they spent an hour looking out over the
Quinnipiac River and some tidal marshes. We were welcomed by a belted
kingfisher looking triumphant on a dead tree limb. Incoming waves of
birds kept us actively searching for yellow warblers, yellowthroats, song
sparrows and red winged blackbirds. A tortured raven was hounded out above
the marsh by blackbirds and a pair of osprey were rearing a youngun’ on a
nearby platform. A total of eight osprey were seen here. The next stop was
Peter’s Rock Park off Route 17 in North Haven. This is an amazing habitat
of woodlands, ravines and rock outcrops. The woods were symphonic with the
sounds of wood thrushes, robins, warblers, vireos, orioles, redstarts and
blue jays. And while a great-crested flycatcher “weeped” somewhere else an
ovenbird yelled out for a “teacher”. Deeper in the park a worm-eating
warbler was calling emphatically. After getting temporarily lost we found
our cars and headed to New Haven’s Quinnipiac Meadows where we were
greeted by the rubber band sound of a willow flycatcher. Sheila spotted a
black vulture high in the sky…a most impressive specimen. We opted to stay
out of a grassed path that led to the marsh as it looked like a
tick-infested area. We followed a utility road to an area that yielded
cowbirds, a mockingbird, another willow flycatcher, and a warbling vireo.
With 11:30 approaching it was off to East Shore Park where the highlights
included an elusive 1st-year Baltimore oriole, a great egret
and a small flock of brant. As we walked back to our cars we were passed
by a parade of of cedar waxwings.The weather was spectacular and the
birding was more so. A total of 48 species were seen and/or heard.
submitted, Joe Budrow
AUDUBON SOCIETY - LETHAL TOUR REPORT - MAY 19, 2012
The Hartford Audubon
Society’s Lethal Tour had a long and storied history long before I joined
the organization in the early 1970s. At one time, HAS members scoured the
entire state of Connecticut looking for as many species as could be found
within a 24 hour period. An HAS team even held, albeit briefly, the state
record for most birds seen within a twenty-four hour period as the Lethal
Tour morphed into what is now called “Big Day.” Eventually, The Big Day
became the domain of the state’s top birders. HAS participation on Big
Days gradually waned and ceased altogether in the mid 90s, perhaps
succumbing to the high price of gasoline, ever increasing traffic, and no
doubt the advancing age of many of the participants.
In 2009, and in
conjunction with the HAS 100th Anniversary, this trip leader
was of the opinion that a slightly less rigorous schedule might breathe
new life into what had always been an entertaining if somewhat draining
day in the field. Rather than begin at midnight, we would start at a more
reasonable 4 AM. Rather than bird throughout Connecticut, we would limit
our travel to within Hartford County limits. Perhaps I was mistaken
because on this sparkling Saturday, perhaps the best weather day of the
spring migration period to date, only two participants arose well before
dawn to meet at Station 43 for our 4 AM start time.
Station 43 was eerily
quiet. There was a single marsh wren, a few swamp sparrows and other
sporadic songbirds, but where were the bitterns, rails or owls that can
make this one of the most exciting early morning birding hot spots in
Connecticut? . Perhaps it was just too nice a night? Without any
weather systems to slow migration or drop birds into Connecticut as had
occurred on weekends earlier in the month, it was quickly apparent that
recent migrants had passed us by and we would have to be content with
those species that were already on their breeding territories. Alas, we
would set no records on this date. The two birders, already suffering
from minor maladies, made a pact. They would bird until they exceeded 100
species and call it a day by 5 PM.
Faring no better on
Strong or Vibert Roads, other than a singing Orchard Oriole, off they went
to Hartford’s Cedar Hill Cemetery. If there were migrant warblers to be
found, they would be there in the early morning. A Magnolia and a
Blackpoll Warbler, one of the later migrants, were the only migrants
found. The only colorful species to be found were breeding birds
including Great-crested Flycatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Scarlet
Tanager. The Peregrine Falcon nest above Balf Quarry did hold a fat gray
chick and Common Ravens were heard beyond the cliff, but there was little
else to hold us and we soon departed for Rentschler Field.
previously reported Tricolored Heron had left the pond behind Cabelas, nor
was there a shorebird to be found at the pond. The grasslands did provide
Grasshopper Sparrow, Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark, but no Upland
Sandpiper, a coveted species on the Tour. North we went through Hartford
and on to Windsor’s Northwest Park, where Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Towhee
and Field Sparrow were quickly added. The nearby Bloomfield-Windsor
Landfill does not receive garbage on Saturday and a giant wood chipper
made access to the dump somewhat problematic. We were happy to find three
departing Greater Black-backed Gulls and a juvenile Bald Eagle, who were
as disappointed as we were with the weekend menu.
Now it was time to
head back to our home base in the Farmington Valley, where we were
confident we could continue to add species at each location we visited.
Penwood State Park provided Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Vireo and
an unexpected Louisiana Waterthrush hopping on the road. Nod Brook
Wildlife Management Area gave us Greater Yellowlegs and Black-and-white
Warbler. Ethel Walker Woods offered Brown Creeper and Pine, Blackburnian
and Black-throated Green Warblers. Great Pond in Simsbury provided
Broad-winged Hawk and Spotted Sandpiper. We were now in the low nineties
and on pace with our 2011 total. A quick stop to change shoes netted our
first Ruby-throated Hummingbird at a feeder and now it was on to the wilds
of Canton’s Ratlum Mountain to finish our Tour.
After ticking off
Yellow-rumped Warbler and Hermit Thrush, we netted our hundredth bird,
Black-throated Blue Warbler, at exactly 2:50 PM. Moments later, we added
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Red-shouldered Hawk. At that point, we were
done although we did take the “long” way home through Collinsville adding
Common Merganser as the 103rd and final bird of the day. Same
total as last year and after over 100 driving miles and walking a few more
on foot, we were ready to take a break. After all, tomorrow is the final
day of the Spring Census, and we’ll have to be up early!
Jay Kaplan and Jamie Meyers
East Rock Park Trip Report -
Saturday - May 12, 2012
people showed up for the East Rock Park trip in Hamden/New Haven May 12th.
The weather was nice for a change after all the rain but the birds were
hard to come by as we had to work hard to find them. As we started out on
the lower level someone spotted a Spotted Sandpiper along the river and we
began to see or hear the numerous Warbling Vireos as well as a few
warblers such as the usual Yellows and a nice Northern Waterthrush. To
make up for the scarce warblers we did have a nice White Crowned Sparrow
right on the path. Upon back tracking we did hear a Hooded Warbler which
somehow evaded us.
We then drove up to the upper level in hopes of improving our score. A
Wild Turkey gobbled and we did add a few more warblers like Black Throated
Green, Black Throated Blue and best of all a Tennessee. Further along we
had a good view of a Swainson"s Thrush and a pair of young Common Ravens
who provided us with excellent looks along the road as they waited for
their parents to return. We continued a ways further down and spotted what
was one of the most washed out Scarlet Tanagers I have ever seen!
Obviously a bird born last year. We soon turned around as things were
really quiet. We ended up with 57 species with 15 of them warblers.
Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins
Station 43 Trip Report -
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Three green herons flying overhead started
the May 5th Station 43 walk off on a high note. Early into the
walk we were treated to the sight of a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak
gathering nesting material, and Yellow Warblers everywhere. We heard a
Black-throated Green Warbler, some had a semi-obscured view of a Magnolia
Warbler, and we all got very good looks at Baltimore Orioles. The pond
was very low and pretty empty, with only a few Mallards and Wood Ducks.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were soon seen as were
several more varieties of Warblers. A Black-billed cuckoo was heard along
Vibert Road marking the end of a successful day. We retired to Dunkin’
Donuts to tally our results: 57 different species.
Respectfully submitted, Roger Preston / Gil
Kleiner / Jon Ward
Quarry Park and Connecticut River Floodplain
Trip Repor - April 28, 2012
cool and breezy day greeted us as we started out the walk. Two of us
gathered for the annual Quarry Park walk. It was not an ideal day for
birding. An early warm spell brought out most of the leaves, and a cold
snap kept the birds further south. Occasional breezes swayed the trees,
but the sun poked out to warm us up.The ridge trail had many of the usual
suspects. We had a Great Blue Heron or two fly over us. And
Red-winged Black Birds were well represented in the small quarry
pond.Coming down to the upper level trail was more rewarding. We heard a
White-breasted Nuthatch in the trees, but could not see it. Then
we heard a squeaky sound that was a Black-and-white Warbler, our
first warbler of the day. It hid behind the bushes and would not come out
for a look. The best bird of the day was a Brown Thrasher that
sang and hopped about in a bare tree. We got a good look at this
cooperative bird.On the lower level, we could see across the railroad
tracks into some good habitat. Unfortunately we didn’t see any birds
there.On our way back up the levels to the ridge trail we had a
Yellow-rumped Warbler ahead of us. In the forest we had our only
Black-capped Chickadee of the day, and a small flock of American
Goldfinch.Due to the slow birding, I skipped the caravan through the
meadows.Our total species of 23, with 2 warblers, was the lowest I have
had for this trip, and there were no new species added to the cumulative
Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden
SATURDAY, SUNDAY, April 13-15, 2012
Prime Hook, & Blackwater National Wildlife Refuges
Nine eager members joined me for a weekend
of birding the marshes of
Maryland and Bombay Hook. We met at noon in Delaware and took our
time going around Bombay Hook, highlights there were hundreds of
Avocets and American Coot. Sharp eyed Tina spotted a Yellow crowned
Night Heron near the ditch. Working our way down to Princess Anne
where we spending the next two nights, first we did Port Mahon Road
where the tide was very high, but we did see Gannets plunge diving and
Caspian Terns on the pilings. We stopped at Fowlers Beach where
coming around a curve we came apon a crowd of Great Egrets and Snowy
Egrets just hanging out. Prime Hook was our last and we picked up a
Field and Chipping Sparrow .
Saturday was to be spent all day in the Rumbly Point and Deal Island
area. rumbly Point first where we explored all the roads and to our
surprise, not an Osprey, but a Great Horned Owl on a nest on a channel
marker! Heaps of Purple Marins were in chattering away. The marshes
had at least a dozen Seaside Sparrows singing for mates, and the
Clapper and Virginia Rails were also making themsleves heard.
Crisfield pavalion was a quick stop, no amounts of ducks, but a
beautiful Common Loon in breeding plumage.
The afternoon was spent on Deal Island refuge area, where there wer
lots of Shovelers, a Pintail, Green and Blue wing Teal and what we
think were two Tricolor Heron but too far away to call for sure. We
paused for a moment by the side of the road where there were trees and
just lucked out finding Brown Headed Nuthatch squeaking away and at
another impromtu stop a nest building Bluegray Gnatcatcher. A stop at
Messick Road had Royal Terns and a another far away Bittern.
A lovely dinner that evening at a very nice restaurant made every one
Sunday up to the north to Blackwater NWR by way of Egypt Road where
yes! there were two Kestrels. There wasn't all that much on the
impoundments til we got almost around to the exit where there a few
Black necked Stilts (they had just come in there) and across the
water, a pair of Bald Eagles with chicks feeding them in the nest.
All in all a terrific weekend, 112 species total, beautiful weather -
a bit chilly in the morning, but by Sunday it was in the high 60's and
going up! Just wonderful to see everyone.
Respectfully submitted, Stephanie Lovell, leader
Western CT Shoreline Trip - April 7, 2012
was the smallest group ever on this trip, just 7 people. It was a
gorgeous, sunny day with periods of fairly strong wind.
per usual we drove to Sherwood Island State Park to start the trip. Here
we had many horned grebes, some in breeding plumage, gannets, old squaw
ducks also in breeding plumage, both loons, white-winged scoter and 2
Bonaparte’s gulls. From here we tried for the previously seen lesser
black-backed gull at Burying Hill Beach. No luck. Then it was on to
Southport Beach. The hope for today was large flocks of gulls that had
been in the area lately. Southport beach had none.
Stratford. Long Beach Blvd being the first stop. At the small pond at
the end there were a pair of boat-tailed grackles, one each great and
snowy egrets. The rail trail produced two hermit thrush, palm warbler and
beach did not have much of anything, no shorebirds that we could see or
any gulls of note.
went over to the seawall in Stratford, just around the corner from Long
Beach, to hopefully find lots of gulls. Here it was much the same not too
many. There were, however, some Bonaparte’s gulls. A few flew close to
us as we ate lunch and some landed on the water. Many had full black
heads which was nice. Again there were gannets cruising off shore.
stop for this trip was a small pond behind an office building on Access
Road near Frash Pond. Here were at least seven black-crowned night
herons, another ruby crowned kinglet, northern rough-winged swallow and
then drove to the Birdseye boat ramp where we added American coot.
Milford Point marsh had a very high, full moon tide which pushed any
ducksto where they were visible. Within many green-winged teal we found
American wigeon and one pair of blue-winged teal. As we were heading for
the beach side, two common ravens landed in a tree near the parking lot.
This is only the second time raven have been reported here. On the sound,
were more gannets.
Oyster river on the Milford/West Haven line can sometimes have loads of
Bonaparte’s gulls and sometimes something really good like black-headed or
little gulls. Well nothing like that today. Just the regular herring and
point, our last stop of the trip held many brant but little else.
trip total was 57 species, with the bird of the day: boat-tailed grackle.
Respectfully submitted, Carl Ekroth, trip leader
Field Trip for Hartford
and Mattabeseck Audubon - March 18, 2012
Top Spots Along The
Connecticut River in Portland
22 birders met at the Brownstone intermediate School parking lot in
Portland. It was a cloudy day with temperatures in the 60's.
Our stops included the northern and eastern portions of Wangunk Meadows,
Petzold's Boatyard, and a viewing area near the Arrigoni Bridge.
Highlights of the trip featured views of: Pileated Woodpeckers, Wilson's
Snipe, Killdeer, Wood Ducks, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Ducks, Osprey,
Bald Eagle on the nest, Horned owl on the nest, Peregrine Falcon, Belted
kingfisher, Eastern Bluebirds, Osprey, Tree Swallows, and approximately 85
Great Blue Herons seen in the nests.
Other species included: Turkey Vulture, Canada Goose, Tufted Titmouse,
Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Black Duck,
Mallard, Hooded Merganser, Red-tailed hawk, Ring-billed gull, Red-belllied
Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, American Crow,
American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern
Cardinal, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch
and American Goldfinch.
Overall, it was a great morning to view ducks, raptors on the nest and a
whole lotta herons! -total species seen 40
Respectfully submitted, Larry Nichols
Ann Trip - January 14-15, 2012
Saturday started out
with a bright sun and southerly winds which were cold. We were joined by
the group affectionately known as the “Felton Sisters” consisting of
Annie, Janet, Marjorie and Margaret. There were eight other HAS members
on the trip making it easy to get around using two cars.
Our first stop was at
Folly Cove. Here our first birds was a flock of robins. The cove itself
didn’t have as many birds as in the past but did have 15-18 harlequin
ducks, all three scoters and a fly by long tailed duck.
From here we went a
short way back route 127 to Halibut Point. It seemed strange to walk all
the way out to the point with out any snow or ice, even the quarry was not
frozen. Once at the point proper we were buffeted by the strong winds
(what else is new?) and started scanning the ocean. There were sea ducks
and some distant razorbills. A large flock of shorebirds landed on the
rocks along the waters edge. Mostly sanderling but we were able to pick
out one purple sandpiper and a few dunlin. There weren’t many gulls and
no white-winged gulls.
Next was Andrew’s Point
where there was much less wind. It was nice not to have any ice to
contend with. There were some fairly close razorbills and red-necked
grebes. The usual harlequin ducks were there and a double-crested
cormorant was found. Unusual there at this time of year. A thick-billed
murre was found along with more scoters. A good sized flock of purple
sandpipers flew in but landed below the rocks so we could not study them.
The “Felton sisters”
told us of a location just south of Rockport ,that had harbored a yellow
breasted chat. They led us there and we walked a ways along a path
through a tangle of briars but could not coax out the chat.
We bypassed the
Emerson Inn and met at the Jodrey Fish Pier. The usual large flocks of
gulls were all sitting on distant roof tops making it difficult to pick
out anything good. There was, however, one Iceland gull sitting in the
harbor on the west side of the pier. Another birder came to tell us of a
close thick-billed murre on the east side of the pier. When we got there
the murre was “attacked” by a razor bill that came up from under the murre
and landed on it. The razorbill then disappeared and resurfaced a long
distance away. Another murre was found farther in the harbor.
There had been a
townsends warbler, a western species, visiting a private home in Ipswich.
The owner is a birder and very hospitable to anyone who wanted a look. We
drove there and in a few minutes the warbler showed up and gave us
wonderful looks. It is feeding on meal worms and appears quite healthy.
We spent 30 minutes or so before returning to Gloucester.
Eastern Point was our
next to last stop and here we found three black guillemots out beyond the
light house and a small flock of gadwall in the small cove by the parking
There had been an
adult king eider off the Elks on Atlantic road but it was not to be found
this day. We did find about 18 red-necked grebes.
Sunday morning started off sunny and frigid, temp around 7
or 8 degrees and windy. There was much “sea smoke “ on the ocean.
We drove drive up to Plum Island, spotting a flock of
turkeys along the way. Lot 1 was our first stop where we hooked up with
the Feltons, here we found more razorbills, scoters, loons and a few
harlequins. The Feltons had arrived before us and found snow buntings and
horned larks at Hellcat. We all went there and again found these two
species out on the dike. A couple asked us if we had seen the snowy owl,
we had not and told them so. Paul Walter overheard another couple telling
the first couple, “go to lot 5, walk out to the beach and look left”.
Correctly thinking the directions were to a snow owl we followed them and
did find the snowy. It was a distance away but it was a snowy.
Emerson rocks was our last stop on the island and it
wasn’t too birdy but we did find a greater scaup, an unusual specie for
this trip. There was a large flock of mostly dunlin with a few sanderling
thrown in along the beach. On the way out Paul Wolter spotted a raptor and
it turned out to be rough-legged hawk, a species we have missed for the
past couple of years.
Cashman Park in
Newburyport was our lunch spot along the Merrimac River where there were
many ring-billed gulls and a few common goldeneye.
After lunch we went to Salisbury Beach on the other side of
the river. We drove around the campground and found nothing, ending up at
the jetty at the mouth of the river. There was so much turbulence we
couldn’t make out anything and with the temperature dropping and the wind
not, we called it a trip.
Our trip total was 64 species. The usual leaders called in
sick (again) and asked me to lead the trip. It was easy with the small
group we had, and fun.
Respectfully submitted, Carl Ekroth
Beginner's Bird Walk -
Station 43 II - 9:00 A.M. - January 14, 2012
There was no ice on the marsh but still
plenty of water to navigate
before getting to HAS's new platform. A lone Muted Swan and hundreds of
Canada Geese greeted the group. Also, many Blue Jays, Mourning Doves
and Rock Doves were present.
Moving along the hedge row to the CT River we had Song, Tree and
White-throated Sparrows. A Downy, Red-bellied and Hairy Woodpecker were
seen. The CT River gave us 4 - 5 Common Mergansers and one Ring-billed
Along Vibert Road several Red-tailed Hawks and an immature Bald Eagle
made a brief appearance. One Wood Duck, Blacks and Mallards rounded out
count, making a total of thirty species.
Eighteen people enjoyed a cold crisp day with no snow to hamper our
progress. Warming up with coffee at Dunkin' Donuts was enjoyed at the
end of a successful morning.
Respectfully submitted, Roger Preston / Jon Ward / Gil Kleiner