Showing posts from August, 2011

Pre-, During, and Post-Irene photos/video

Here's a collection of a few random images from the peri-Irene period in Connecticut. Sorry, no particularly exciting or mega rare species included here. I kept my brand new camera setup safe and dry during the storm itself. Not all birds here are necessarily storm-related. Pre-Irene: adult Pectoral Sandpiper Forster's Terns Laughing Gulls juv Stilt Sandpiper juv Black Skimmer adult Little Blue Heron adult (left) and juv (right) Red Knots with two Sanderlings between juv Black Tern During: plastic bag keeping the dash mostly dry... watching from the car with Julian Hough and Post: Royal Tern (banded) record shot of Black-necked Stilt Black Tern - NB

Irene Update #4

Woke up today to clear skies and light west winds, making it difficult to believe a strong Tropical Storm had made landfall less than 24 hours earlier. I started at dawn today with a low tide visit to Milford Pt at the mouth of the Housatonic River, which was quickly rewarded with a BLACK-NECKED STILT and a single Royal Tern. I watched the mouth of the Housatonic River for a brief time, without seeing anything interesting, before deciding that taking the boat out might be a great idea. Our boat, located in Norwalk, survived the storm without any damage. I headed out around 8am and had very little in a brief tour of the islands. I went back to the dock to pick up a few birders: Greg Hanisek, Tina Green, and John Oshlick. Long Island Sound was back to its normal, quiet state. We didn't have anything interesting out there despite a few hours total spent near the middle of the sound. On our way back in we swung by Cockenoe Island in Westport for a second look and had a few goodie

Irene Update #3

Irene arrived this morning, with birds in tow. What a hectic day, with great birds seen from Cape May to inland Massachusetts and probably beyond. The jackpot birds were the several (!) White-tailed Tropicbirds seen between NJ, NY, and MA. Connecticut had a ton of goodies as well despite no tropicbird reports. Here are my highlights, seen along the coast between Stratford and West Haven with various other birders at times: 2 Wilson's Storm-Petrel 1 LEACH'S STORM-PETREL 1 BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL (first state record if accepted) 3 Red-necked Phalaropes 1 phalarope sp. (almost certainly Red-necked) 10 SOOTY TERNS (all adults) 1 LONG-TAILED JAEGER (light-intermediate juv) 1 jaeger sp. (likely Parasitic) What a &$%#ing day. Probably the best all-around pelagic birding day in CT's history. It may not be over yet. There are still displaced birds to be found, albeit not in the concentrations they were found today. Good luck! - NB

Irene update #2

The early returns from the Carolinas and Virginia are in, which took the brunt of it today. Sooty and Bridled Terns were the main component. I'm sure not all reports have made it to the Internet yet. Not overwhelming sightings but at least we know that tropical terns have been entrained. I spent most of the day along the eastern CT coast between Stonington Pt and Hammonasset. No storm rarities noted, as expected that far ahead of the storm. Black and Forster's Terns were around. There was an American Golden Plover at Hammo. We should wake up to tropical storm force winds with a landfall on what looks like maybe the CT/NY line around midday? We shall see. Will be birding as the weather allows. Many coastal areas evacuated or blocked off, which will make things tougher than they should be for us. Nick Sent from my iPhone

Irene Update #1

Since my initial post on the storm, Irene has picked up some speed and should arrive sooner than we had thought. Rather than a Sunday into early Monday event, this looks like late Saturday through Sunday. We should see the first rain bands, but minimal winds, this afternoon. Things will really get cranking overnight and it seems certain that we'll be waking up to tropical storm-like conditions on Sunday morning. The center of circulation should reach our latitude around midday on Sunday, perhaps still a Cat 1 hurricane. This is not good timing for potential storm surge, as high tide is during the late morning in western Long Island Sound. During the worst of it, coastal birding does NOT look like an option at this point. Low-lying areas in particular should be 100% avoided as these will be the most deadly locations. Exact track is still unknown, with CT remaining in the crosshairs. Since we're right in the projected path, the slightest shift in position would make a big impa

Birding Hurricane Irene

[Note: This is geared toward birding in CT, though some of it may apply to neighboring states] Before I go into detail about birding this storm, a little perspective about these things. Hurricanes are serious storms, so I am told. In my adult life I’ve never sat through anything more than a tropical depression. For us here in southern New England, Hurricanes Bob (1991) and Gloria (1985) are probably distant memories for most people. I vaguely recall sitting on our enclosed porch in Bridgeport as a child, waiting out the wind and rain of Bob. We’ve seen via the media that poor preparation coupled with bad luck can cause disaster, so let’s all be as safe and smart as possible. Switching gears to the birds, many displaced seabirds do presumably perish, especially those found on lakes hundreds of miles inland. Also, many migrant passerines and shorebirds are negatively affected by these systems. It is very unfortunate, but it is nature at work. But as birders, we can’t help but

Bluff Point morning flight

This morning I joined Glenn Williams and Jerry Connolly at Bluff Point in Groton, CT, well-known locally for its morning flight of nocturnal migrants. As expected we had a nice flight today, dominated by American Redstarts. We tallied 13 species of warbler and counted about 400 individual warblers. Here are some numbers (mostly morning flight augmented with a walk on the trails): Ruby-throated Hummingbird 12 Eastern Wood-Pewee 4 Least Flycatcher 1 Empidonax sp. 4 Eastern Phoebe 2 Eastern Kingbird 7 Warbling Vireo 3 Red-eyed Vireo 5 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 50 Veery 1 Worm-eating Warbler 1 Blue-winged Warbler 3 Black-and-white Warbler 35 Common Yellowthroat 4 American Redstart 220 Northern Parula 2 Magnolia Warbler 12 Yellow Warbler 10 Chestnut-sided Warbler 4 Prairie Warbler 1 Black-throated Green Warbler 1 Canada Warbler 2 Wilson's Warbler 1 warbler sp. 100 Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1 Dickcissel 1 Bobolink 5 Baltimore Oriole 3

Aug 19-20 - Block Canyon Pelagic (and boobies after dark)

Last Friday night, just after 9pm, a full boat departed Point Judith for an overnight travel to Block Canyon in Rhode Island waters (waters also claimed by NY state for those of you keeping score at home). We arrived at the tip of the canyon at dawn and were greeted by a slow but steady trickle of Wilson's Storm-Petrels and Great Shearwaters along with Finback Whales and Risso's Dolphins. Little did we know this was the most life we would see until we returned to the same area later in the day! The plan was to steam out to deep water (5-6000 ft) where we had success last year in the form of Black-capped Petrel, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, and Long-tailed Jaeger. This year, however, we had nothing but a verrry slow trickle of WISP and GRSH. We ran east to the Massachusetts line at this depth, headed back north into 2500-3000 ft and ran back west to the canyon...again with slim pickings despite setting up a couple chum slicks. Great Shearw