Showing posts from July, 2017

BRIDLED TERN in Connecticut

Falkner Island is a 2.87-acre island that lies about 3 miles off the Guilford, CT coast in the central basin of Long Island Sound. The entire island is part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and hosts a large colony of Common Terns plus a few dozen Roseate Tern pairs. During each breeding season the island is manned by researchers/wardens who manage the island for the terns and monitor their breeding attempts. On Friday, July 28th researchers Cedric Duhalde and James Heuschkel were thrilled and stunned to find an adult BRIDLED TERN on the jetty on the west side of the island among the Common and Roseate Terns. This is the second state record; the first came in 1992 (25 years ago!) guessed it...Falkner Island. Bigtime kudos to James and Cedric for not only finding and promptly identifying the bird, but also for getting word out ASAP, along with some killer photos in their eBird report ! The problem for everyone else is...the terns on the island are just

Long Island Cory's Shearwater variation

Cory's Shearwater ( Calonectris diomedea ) is a common summer-fall species off the southern New England and mid-Atlantic coasts. Currently two subspecies are recognized by the AOS, and both occur in these waters. Calonectris diomedea borealis breeds in the northeast Atlantic Ocean and is the much more common subspecies in this region. It is characterized by dark undersides of the primaries and averages heftier in structure. Calonectris diomedea diomedea (AKA 'Scopoli's' Shearwater) breeds in the Mediterranean and is usually greatly outnumbered by borealis in these parts. It shows quite a bit of white bleeding onto the underside of the primaries, including p10. It is important to know that field identification of these forms (considered separate species by some authorities) is still being worked out. I certainly struggle with some individuals, while others fit pretty neatly into one form or the other (based on current knowledge, anyway). The bulky birds with litt

Interesting Stratford, CT egret

Yesterday late afternoon at the Access Road pool in Stratford (opposite R.E. Michel building) there was an odd egret standing thigh-deep in the water. It was Snowy Egret-like but had one long head plume and lores that were darker than usual, though still with warm/yellow tones. It did have a somewhat shaggy mane, a feature that is typical of Snowy Egret (and unlike Little Egret). Unsure of what to make of head/bill size and shape, as it appears somewhat large and mean in some of the poor images and more gentle and SNEG-like in others. Not totally sure what to make of the bird, but I think hybrid Snowy x Little Egret is on the table (versus SNEG with anomalous head plume and darker-than-usual lores). These species breed side-by-side in the Caribbean (Barbados, at least), and hybrids have been reported there. I have personally seen a mixed pair at a colony in Barbados. Views were poor through the phragmites, scoping was not possible, and I was politely urged along by lo

!Warning...Graphic Content!

Yesterday I took a quick boat ride over to Cockenoe Island in Westport, CT to check out the Common Tern colony. While observing the begging chicks being fed by adults, a small ruckus broke out at the north end of the sand spit. Out from the colony flew an adult Herring Gull with something in its bill. As I had suspected/feared, it was a tern chick. The gull downed the whole chick as effortlessly as Joey Chestnut throws down a hot dog. I grabbed a shot of the incident from a distance. Herring Gull with tern chick by the head as adult helplessly tries to intervene moments later, life goes on in the center of the small colony It's not easy being a tern chick on Cockenoe Island!  - NB