New England Coastal BIrds

New England Coastal BIrds

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Spectacular Sunrise, the Pelican Chase continues!

     Day 4, Wednesday, (Nov. 2)- Wednesday started at Hammonasset Park. The gate was open a bit early, so I drove in under a spectacular sunrise! The amber brown marsh  was glowing from the sun's offering as the swirling smoke from the cold creek water completed the eerie dynamic to the mornings canvas. It was a beautiful morning!

     In the Park, flocks of small passerines were flying everywhere; so many in fact it was hard to pick a group and sort through them! I decided to go to Meigs Point first for a bit of "Sound watching". At the end of the breakwater and on the two rocks just off the breakater, small groups of birds were roosting. At a distance it apperaed to me to be Sanderlings and a few Terns. When I set up my scope on the beginning of the wall, I immediately identified the two dozen Shorebirds as Sanderlings, Dunlins and a few Ruddy Turnstones. There were seven Terns present both on the rocks and the end of the breakwater: Forster's Terns. The birds were only slightly hidden by the swirling sea smoke.

                                         Forster's Terns with Laughing Gulls

                                            Five Bufflehead fly by the breakwater

    One of the three flocks of Brant flying by the outer breakwater. The exposed rock holds a single Double-crested Cormorant, and first cycle Herring Gull, a small flock of Sanderlings, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstones and two Forster's Terns (one landing on the left)

                                                     Another flock of Brant

Walking down the Moraine Trail.....a single Merlin watches from a small tree.

                  Canada Geese were flying over the end of the Trail flying towards Clinton Harbor

     At the beginning of the Morain Trail (on my return to my truck) I had the opportunity to photograph this Phoebe at close range; the bird was very cooperative.

Yellow-rumped Warblers were everywhere in the Park, these associating with House Finches.

     As I was photographing the Phoebe, Jim Carr walked over and we decided to go back to the western end of the Park to look for Sparrows along the hedgerow of the marsh. Along the road halfway to the entrance rotary, a female Harrier flew along the edge of the marsh. The bird was bathed in the soft ambient light from the early morning sun.

     We did find a few of the usual species, and this Swamp Sparrow..............

......and this curious and ever watchful Mockingbird

     My time for the early morning was over, having to return home for generator duty. I asked Jim if he wanted to go with me to Grove Beach in Westbrook for Shorebirds in an hour or so, after I ran the pumps cycle. He agreed and I left, I would pick him up at his house about 10:30 am. While I was home, I decided to go to East Shore Park instead, maybe the Pelican would show up!

     At East Shore Park, we found the usual passerines: Kinglets, Song Sparrows, Yellow-rumped and a few Palm Warblers, and this beautiful Northern Parula Warbler.

In the flocks of Black Ducks along the shore were these three Wigeon......

      .............and this startled Red Fox that may have been stalking the ducks along the shore.

     Well, the Pelican never showed up, and good news, the power was turned back on at home! In another bit of irony......When I got home, a report came over CT Birds that the Brown Pelican was seen off Grove Beach in Westbrook flying close to the sand bars at "Mungie" Island. The bird was reported at 11:30 am, we would have arrived around 10:45 am and would have made the sandbars in a fifteen to thirty minute walk; just in time to see the Pelican fly in front of us!! This story will continue!

Keith Mueller    Killingworth, CT