Date: 1/28/19 7:50 am From: Gina Nichol via CTBirds <ctbirds...> Subject: [CT Birds] 1/27/19 Waterman Field Trip Highlights at Hammonasset
January 27, 2019 - Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club Field Trip to Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison, CT.
Thanks to all of the CTBirders who provided info and reports in advance of this field trip. It has been fairly quiet at Hammo recently but we had a great day. Below are highlights. For anyone interested, also below is commentary about our birding victories of the day.
Highlights: Common Eider (4), Lapland Longspur (1), Peregrine Falcon, Northern Harrier (2), Sharp-shinned Hawk, Dunlin (278), Ruddy Turnstone (87), Black-bellied Plover (5), Cedar Waxwing (18), Horned Lark (25), Yellow-rumped Warbler (6), Sanderling (3+), Surf Scoters (3), Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Common Goldeneye (4), Red-breasted Mergansers (4) and others
Gina Nichol & Steve Bird Branford, CT
Steve and I drove through the Park on our way to meet the group and witnessed the Horned Lark flock (presumably with the attendant Lapland Longspur) departing the parking field by the nature center. We're they gone for good :?
When we arrived back at the nature center parking lot with the group of nine smiling birders from Dutchess County, New York, the Lark flock had not returned. We set off walking toward Willard Island all the while watching the parking field and scanning the marsh to the east. As we reached the far corner of the parking lot, I could see a small flock of birds coming across the marsh straight at us. They flew right over our heads, almost within reach, and landed in the field and for the next 20 minutes gave us great views with everyone able to admire the Lapland Longspur in great light.
Willard Island was dead quiet except for a few Yellow-rumped Warblers. At the far end, though, we had great views of a Northern Harrier and our first Red-breasted Mergansers.
The water in the Long Island Sound was kicked up by the wind coming out of the southeast and that, along with the kite boarders on the beach at Meig's Point, meant the lonely Red-throated Loon hanging out very close to shore quickly worked it's way along the jetty and away.
We walked out the Moraine Trail to the end and found 4 Common Eiders. There, as well, the water was washing over many of the large rocks in the river so no seals or birds on the rocks. We scoped Surf Scoters and Common Goldeneye as well as some distant Brant and Canada Geese. Steve found a Peregrine Falcon perched on a stump on the beach near Cedar Island and we surmised that this could have been what put up the 60 or so Black Ducks out of the marsh earlier. I kept seeing flocks of shorebirds flying in the distance but never close enough to id. Then, all at once, the flocks converged and made a beeline across the river straight toward us landing on the rock bar right in front of us. Facing toward us and into the wind, the birds occupied nearly every space on the bar in front of us offering gorgeous views at fairly close range. We took our time and went right through them to enjoy them and make sure we didn't miss anything. Our inland birding visitors were elated.
Gina Beebe Nichol Sunrise Birding LLC Worldwide Bird Watching Tours & Wildlife Safaris PO Box 274, Cos Cob, CT 06807 <gina...> www.sunrisebirding.com USA 203.453.6724