New England Coastal BIrds

New England Coastal BIrds

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In and Out of the Fog

A few Highlights from Wednesday, November 9- The morning started out with a moderate fog hanging over Killingworth. On my drive to Milford Point, the fog had broken and lifted by New Haven; it looked like the morning would be OK. By the time I reached the parking lot of the Coastal Center, it slowly crept back! When I walked to the beach, the soup was back!

 Small flock of Sanderlings and part of a flock of Brant. The Sanderlings were only a few yards away!

                                 A few Dunlin appear out of the fog

                                   A Sanderling turns over a small shell

     The heavy fog continued for over an hour, and with only an occasional quick glimpse of a few shorebirds passing through the fog, and the continual calling of Black-bellied Plovers, Sanderlings, Dunlins and Brant echoing through the fog, I decided to leave. By the time I reached the beginning of the sanbar, the fog began to break a bit, or at least thinning so the visibilty increased to fifty yards. A small group of Brant, Sanderlings and Dunlin were resting on the quiet beach.

                 Sanderlings- Mother Nature's gift of camoflauge; "sand and broken shells"

Sanannah Sparrow

As I was nearing my truck in the parking lot, this Brown Thrasher flew into this tree and stayed for only a few seconds.

In Stratford, at Short Beach, part of the sizeable roost of Mourning Doves.

    Near Bonds Dock, behind the old Shakspeare Theater, a flock of Monk Parakeets were feeding on Bittersweet. Jen and I enjoy these birds very much, I wish we had them in KIllingworth!

     With permission from the office at the Stratford Marina, I walked back to the "x" dock and found a large gathering of Greater Yellowlegs roosting on the docks. Boats in the yard were being prepped for winter storage, and many of the boats were being shrink-wrapped. The sound of the heat gun would occasionally cause the birds to flush.....but they would return in a minute and settle back in.

    There were no Lesser Yellowlegs in any of the flocks, but there were a pair of
Long-billed Dowitchers in this flock on the end dock........(front center and left-sleeping). Three Short-billed Dowitchers were present, scattered amongst the other Greater Yellowlegs.

The heat gun again.....but they came right back. (L-billed Dowitcher middle right)

               When the yard activities moved closer.....all the birds flew off up river....

                 .........I waited for fifteen minutes, the birds didn't return.

East Shore Park. By late morning, the fog had lifted and the sun was out in all of its glory! There was good Warbler activity at the end of the fence/tree line by the small marshy area near the shore. Most were Yellow-rumped Warblers......

......and this first winter Blackpoll Warbler

At Hammonasset, the sign of fall was in the air.........

Sanderlings, Dunlins and Ruddy Turnstones gathered off Meigs Point.......

A Greater Yellowlegs takes a leisurely swim with these Black Ducks in Meigs Pond.......

   A lone Carolina Wren searches for food on Willards Island.

    The Brookline Birding Club from Massachusetts scheduled a pelagic trip for this past Saturday, November 12. The trip leaves from the home port of Hyannis and would be exploring the waters off Nantucket Shoals. Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled due to high winds, a common occurance in November. Since Jen and I had planned for a long weekend of Cape Cod birding around the pelagic trip and we were already on the Cape when the trip was cancelled, it was not really that much of a disappointment! Even with the high wind warnings being predicted on the Cape, there would still be a positive aspect to this; it meant ideal conditions for watching seabirds from shore. 

   A little great news: The trip was rescheduled for this Sunday, November 20th! If the weather and wind hold, this should be a fantastic weekend! On Saturday, November 19, I am also signed up on the Rhode Island pelagic trip out of Galilee, Point Judith. That means back to back November pelagics. Judging by the amount of sea birds Jen and I saw this past weekend on Cape Cod, this weekend should be one "seabird-filled" weekend!

   My report from this past weekends Cape Cod sea bird bounty will be posted in a few days.....please check back, it will be worth you time, I can promise you that!!

Keith Mueller    Killingworth, CT