As I was packing up my scope to leave, I noticed a large scrap freighter coming into the harbor between the gap in the outer break walls. When I reached the West Haven boat ramp, I noticed that the freighter was passing by the UI bldg. and ESP. I didn’t pay too much attention to the vessel and continued on my way along the West Haven Shore; no Pelican. I decided to go to Stratford for Shorebirds for a little while and head back to New Haven later in the morning. As luck would have it, I was just pulling off the exit for West Broad St, when Brenda Inskeep’s CT Birds alert came in to my Blackberry: Brown Pelican in New Haven Harbor off ESP. It flew into the harbor following a large Barge and landed on a buoy! Well the rest is birding history, I arrived back at ESP, no Pelican, in fact no Pelican all day! I stayed until 4:30 pm, but did have nice conversations with many birders including Brenda, Sally Brown and Paul Desjardins. Although the Pelican didn’t show up, the birding was exceptional.
The all-day Brant Show was tremendous...........
The flocks of Brant showed a high percentage of juveniles as in this image (Sandy Point)
Two banded adult Atlantic Brant preen together
There were also a few unexpected surprises such as I almost stepped on two Snipe as I walked across the wet field by the parking lot (lower Park by the Coast Guard Station)....
........a spectacular Royal Tern sitting with a few Cormorants on the small breakwater at the Coast Guard Station........
.........a hen Wood Duck along the shore at ESP (unusual location for a Wood Duck-it was in the area all day, later flying out into the harbor and landing with a few Black Ducks)....
.......an early pair of Gadwall in the harbor........
...... and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, to name a few!
The "bright rufous" dorsal and ventral primaries, field ID for a Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Another unexpected surprise- five Horned Grebes swimming along the beach at Sandy Point. (four of the five below)
I walked down to Sandy Point on the beach side of the long spit to look at the birds at the tip of the Point. While I was on the "Sound side" of Sandy Point, Sally Brown was on the "Harbor side" of the spit, and she found this awesome Peregrine standing on the beach next to a few Swans. Here is her digiscoped shot, its a beautiful bird. Excellent shot Sally!
As I watched the Cormorants feeding heavily near the rip just off the channel by UI, they were gorging themselves on Menhaden….since the baitfish are still here, maybe the Pelican will “hang-out” a bit longer!?
Part of a small raft of Lesser Scaup off East Shore Park
Pair of Palm Warblers
Female Belted Kinfisher
Flock of Sanderlings and Dunlins (Sandy Point)
Dunlins and a few Sanderlings
Greater Scaup (Long Wharf)
Flock of Scaup (Center Breakwall-Outer Harbor)
It was 4:30 pm, so I thought I would spend the last hour of the day at Hammonasset seeking any lingering Shorebirds before the puddles and the ground froze!
Royal Tern, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers, both Kinglets, hen Wood Duck, pair Gadwall, 2 Common Snipe, Brant**- 700+/- in the harbor from East Shore Park, Sandy Point, West Haven Beaches and Long Wharf, 2,000- 2,500 flying is steady lines outside the center wall heading west all morning, mid-day and afternoon, 300+/-, Scoters (mostly Surf) in many small flocks outside center wall, 2 Peregrine Falcons flying along the outer walls, 3 Forster's Terns, 50 Sanderling, 65+ Dunlin, 24 Black-bellied Plover, 7 Greater Yellowlegs, 1 Yellow-Crowned night-Heron, 3 Great Blue Heron, 7 Great Egret, 1 Snowy Egret, 11 Common Loon, 5 Horned Grebe, 17 Lesser Scaup (rafted off ESP), 24 Greater Scaup (flying into Long Wharf and landing by the Amistad pier, 3 Belted Kingfishers.
Hammonasset Beach State Park (5:00 - 5:45 pm):
- in the small puddle in the west end of the park: 7 Pectoral Sandpiper, 3 Semi-palmated Sandpiper, 1 Stilt Sandpiper, 1 White-rumped Sandpiper, and 1 Dunlin with colored bands and white flag band....sending data in now.
"Puddle of Sandpipers"- Pectoral, White-rumped, Semi-palmated and Stilt.....and a Dunlin!
Two Pectoral Sandpipers....notice the size difference?
Portrait of a Stilt Sandpiper
Striding Stilt Sandpiper
Feeding Pectoral Sandpiper
Excellent view of a Stilt Sandpiper
Great field mark.....White-rumped Sandpiper
Beautiful White-rumped Sandpiper
The banded Dunlin........
Dunlin (rear) and Stilt Sandpiper (front)
Dunlin, Stilt Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper
The end to a great day!!...........
Keith Mueller Killingworth, CT