Saturday, July 18, 2020

Last Weekend report: T.S. Fay & Western Sand incursion - July 11 & 12, 2020

Last weekend was spiced up by Tropical Storm Fay, a weak cyclone by tropical standards, that made landfall in southern New Jersey after a quick run up the coast from North Carolina. Given the brevity of the storm's track over open ocean, not much entrainment was expected, but you never really know with these systems...they are ALWAYS worth birding [safely].

Here in coastal CT we were expecting an 8-12 hour window of 30mph east winds during the evening and night of the 10th. When that magic number of 30mph is reached, it seems to greatly increase the chances of something pelagic being blown into Long Island Sound.

Several birders spent the early morning of the 11th (Saturday) sound-watching along the CT coast. The eastern Sound delivered with a few GREAT SHEARWATERS from land in the first 90 minutes of daylight. They were generally seen flying east, back towards the open ocean. A mid-morning ferry ride across the eastern sound yielded nothing of interest - clearly those few shearwaters were blown in overnight and GTFO as soon as they could.

Shifting gears to shorebirds, I birded high tide at Sandy Point in West Haven on the afternoon of the 12th (Sunday). Numbers and diversity were decent for the date, highlighted by 10 WESTERN SANDPIPERS, which about doubles my prior state high count. Adult WESAs have made an uncharacteristic push into southern New England and Long Island this July, when they are generally very scarce. 

Western Sandpiper

Laughing Gull

 - NB

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