Date: 6/7/19 3:54 pm From: Pam Hunt <biodiva...> Subject: [NHBirds] Knots and Brant on coast
Mike Marchand and I were on the coast today for my final shorebird survey of the season. Migrants were sparse, with a single Semi Sandpiper near Little Jacks and a Black-bellied Plover on the far side of Hampton Harbor from the Yankee Co-op. On a second pass by the plover, I discovered a flock of 10 Red Knots that had not been there previously. Steve got the word out and before we left Leo McKillop showed up to see them as well! Breeding shorebirds were more in evidence, with multiple Willets in the harbor area - including a mating pair at the south end of the Seabrook Flats. Near Little Jacks there was a mostly-grown Killdeer Chick in the same place as a copulating pair, making me wonder if they were attempting a second brood.
Working up the coast, our only highlight was a lone Brant off Ragged Neck, but we didn't scan the ocean very carefully in Rye.
Then we shifted to Cliff Swallow surveys, starting with the pair nest-building at Fort Constitution previously reported by Jim Sparrell. Checks at two historic sites on private property in Dover found them at one.
For those who might not be aware of if, NH Fish and Game listed Cliff Swallow as "threatened" in 2017 - on the basis of long-term declines in both the number and size of colonies. Based on recent surveys and a perusal of eBird data, there are probably only 25 colonies in the state (they were confirmed in 80+ blocks in the Breeding Bird Atlas in the early 1980s), and these support roughly 120 pairs. Of these, 3-4 are in the seacoast area, half a dozen in the Lakes Region, and the rest in the North Country (especially Pittsburg). Right now I *think* I know where most of the colonies are, but there is always the potential for smaller ones to go under the radar. If anyone finds Cliff Swallows during their travels, you are encouraged to watch them more carefully to see if you can determine where they might be nesting. And if you FIND the nests, please enter the location into eBird with appropriate notation (e.g., precise location, number of nests) or otherwise get the information to me at NH Audubon so I can follow up on it.