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Contact us at:

The Hartford Audubon Society

P.O. Box 270207
West Hartford, Connecticut
06127-0207

Or e-mail us at: hartfordaudubon at yahoo.com

 

 


Trip Reports:

Catskills / Hudson River Valley NY, Trip - May 16-17, 2017

Our Catskill trip began near Oneonta at the Portlandville boat launch on the Susquehanna River on NY route 28.  The water was high, covering the usual mudflats, but 2 Mallard Ducks and a single Solitary Sandpiper were still hanging out. The adjoining swamp had Baltimore Oriole, Northern Cardinal, warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Swamp Sparrow.         

Before heading north on county route 35, we went south where we picked up a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Dark-eyed Junco, and Wood Thrush.  Proceeding north we picked up Savannah Sparrow and nesting Tree and Barn Swallows.  Traveling up Wightman Rd. we found breeding Blackburnian and BT Green Warblers and Winter Wren.   Boy Scout Rd had BT Blue, Yellow-rumped, Chestnut-sided and Black-and-White Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and Hermit Thrush on territory.

 

 A brief detour down Walling Camp Rd found Least Flycatchers and a Ring-necked Duck.   Back at the intersection with Boy Scout Rd. a Hermit Thrush called and a

Yellowlegs (sp) was on the far side of the pond.  Brown Creepers and a porcupine were found on the way to Crumhorn Lake which was lined with American Restarts. Crumhorn Lake Rd. had Towhee and Blue-winged and Prairie Warblers.  

 

Proceeding to Cooperstown, Otsego Lake had fly over Osprey, gulls, and a female Common Merganser with young.  Heading back south on County route 33 we had great looks at hunting Kestrel and male Northern Harrier, a beautiful gray ghost.  Milford center had Chimney Swifts and a nesting pair of Wood Duck were on the pond at the intersection of West Main and Chlorinator Rd.  

 

The nesting Bald Eagle on Schoharie Creek in Prattsville was cooperative, flying overhead with a number of Turkey Vultures.   The creek also had good numbers of common mergansers off route 23A.  The Ashokan Reservoir stop had a breeding colony of cliff swallows and Double-crested Cormorants. The day ended in New Paltz where Purple Martins had returned to their nest box.

 

Sunday began in the Bashakill WMA main parking lot.  We had south winds overnight and some warblers and flycatchers were on the move.   Moorhen and Willow Flycatchers called from the marsh, a flock of Cedar Waxwing flew overhead, and Canada, Magnolia, and Blackpoll Warblers called from the forest. A Swainson’s Thrush took a stroll across the parking lot. After birding the area we made our way to Bear Mountain State Park where near the top we had Worm-eating Warblers, Eastern Bluebird, and Indigo Bunting.  After stopping at West Point, we headed home.  Our Trip total was 112 species.

 

Respectfully submitted, Peter Stephan

 

Greenstone Hollow Nature Preserve - May 27, 2017

The day was cloudy and cool.  Recent rains created some muddy and water logged spots.  The leaves were out, so we practiced birding by ear.  Only occasionally did we get to see the birds.  Seven of us gathered for the Greenstone trip.The roadside started us off with a variety of birds.  A Green Heron flew over.  Several Yellow Warblers were calling.  One Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was sighted.  Fully a third of our count was seen before starting down the trail.In the shrubby field we found a scattering of Blue-winged Warblers.  This is one of their favored habitats, and one we are trying to maintain.  Single Common Yellowthroats and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were heard.In the marsh we heard an Adler or Willow Flycatcher.  Not sure which.  Back out at the road we got a pair of Wood Ducks flying over.  We got some looks at an American Redstart in a tree, and a small flock of Cedar Waxwings. We had a total of 34 species, including 4 warblers.

Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden

Babcock Pond Bird Walk - May 20, 2017

 On a cool, drizzly morning, 9 intrepid (foolish?) birders took a long (4 hour) walk through woods, fields, ponds, and an old dump. Our efforts resulted in finding-or hearing-a total of 54 species, none of which was unusual, but included 5 individual Black-billed Cuckoos, several Ravens, and N. Rough-winged Swallows. And, as we drove off for home, the sun came out.

 Respectfully submitted, Rob Mirer


Mt. Auburn/Plum Island Bird Walk - May 18, 2017

A hardy group of folks set out on the hottest day of the year to see what birds might also not have the sense to stay out of the sun. Highlights from Mt. Auburn were black- and yellow-billed cuckoos, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Tennessee, Black-throated Green, and Blackpoll Warblers, and a great view of a Cooper's Hawk who was a kind enough to fly in low over our heads. Because we weren't quite hot enough yet we then set out for Plum Island where among other things we saw Chestnut-sided and Magnolia Warblers, Black-bellied Plovers, Glossy Ibis, and a red and orange Scarlet Tanager. 

A total of 71 species were seen, 44 at Mt. Auburn and 46 at Plum Island. And, in what was a major victory, no one succumbed to the heat.

Respectfully submitted, Jon Ward


Cromwell Meadows WMA, Cromwell - May 20, 2017


A beautiful day greeted a quiet group of 2 birders.  The leaves were all out, so we had to bird by ear for many of the species.

We heard several Black-throated Green Warblers singing in the trees.  None of them came out to se seen.  We did get a quick look at a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  Yellow, Blue-winged, and Black and White were the only other warblers to be heard.

The only waterfowl were Mute Swans and Canada Geese.  The only raptor was a lone Turkey Vulture.

We had a quiet walk and saw 21 species with 4 warblers.

Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden


 
Tanager Hill and Goodrich Road, Simsbury - May 10, 2017

Fifty-three species of birds, a howling pack of coyotes, and one garter snake met at the Simsbury Land Trust’s Tanager Hill and nearby Goodrich Road properties to observe eighteen birders from HAS.  Despite the cool, early morning temperatures, a spectacular male Scarlet Tanager serenaded us from high in a tree, just yards from the parking area. This provided a wonderful start to the proceedings.  Our group then ascended the hill and was greeted by a low-flying Pileated Woodpecker.  Soon thereafter our target bird, a male Hooded Warbler, appeared, but for only an instant before swooping down and disappearing into a nearby thicket.  However, just slightly farther up the trail, a second Hooded Warbler ventured onto a wide-open branch and gave each of us a long, thorough and thoroughly satisfying look.  Other warblers included Northern Parula, Black-and- white, Black-throated Blue, and Ovenbird.  After traversing the narrow boardwalk across a wooded swamp, we were happened-upon by a rather late Blue-headed Vireo.  Emerging from the forest and onto the powerline cut, some from our group were observed by a single Prairie Warbler, a Blue-winged Warbler, and an Indigo Bunting.  Back into the woods and down the hill by an old farm pond were a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Common Yellowthroat, and a very cooperative Green Heron which perched in a tree for several minutes.  Leaving the pond and descending toward the parking lot, we were bade farewell by a Swainson’s Thrush and a distant Veery.  After departing Tanager Hill, several of us drove three miles to the Land Trust’s Wegner Property on Goodrich Road.  This open field served as a militia training field back in the days of the Revolution.  Here we were observed by several newly-arrived Bobolinks and a female Bluebird.  Also present were a male and female Turkey, each marching in perfect formation. 

Respectfully submitted,
Doug Beach, Roger Preston, and Jon Ward
             

East Rock - May 13, 2017

Saturday May 13 5 birders assembled at East Rock Park New Haven/Hamden for my annual trip there. Viewing conditions were horrible with heavy cloud cover but at least it was dry and not windy. We started off at the lower level where we spotted 3 Great Egrets, a very late (probably sick) sleeping drake Common Merganser, many Northern Rough Winged Swallows and a Rose Breasted Grosbeak. However, warblers were very hard to come by and of the 7 species noted some were only heard.
We next drove to the upper level where the best birds were 2 rather close Common Ravens and a good look at a Swainson’s Thrush. We observed an American Robin on the nest and had a nice look at a Wood Thrush feeding on the ground. Although the Wood Thrush is a rather common bird one does not always get a good look at them since they are shy. With the sky becoming darker we decided to call it quits at 10:30. We tallied a total of 48 species. Under better conditions we could have achieved probably 60 or more species.

Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins

Jug Bay, MD - May 5 - 7. 2017

In spite of awful weather, eight members of HAS joined me in Upper Marlboro, MD to go on one of Greg Kearns pontoon boat trip up the Patuxent River in Jug Bay.  The drive down was hard for people, some arriving just in time for dinner at a local place in Upper Marlboro, but the dinner was good.

Saturday morning we drove down to Patuxent River Park and joined Greg Kerns, the naturalist there for the past 30 years, for our trip up Jug Bay.  The boat was covered in Tree Swallows who had to make room for us.  We were joined by several members of the Montgomery Bird Club who took advantage of the opportunity to check out the nesting Osprey.

There were many, many juvenile Bald Eagles flying about in the gray skies.  Fortunately the forecasted rain held off til the last half hour of the trip.  We motored up the Bay slowing at a few of the more than 30 nests Greg had installed.  He was full of stories and information about the bay and its history.  An interesting moment was when two eagles flew over with huge escaped goldfish in their talons. People have dumped their small fish in the bay, and they've grown into large carp.  The last bit up the narrow neck of the Patuxent Rive was one of the best moments where we had a Prothonotary Warbler giving us great views as he flitted among the trees and ferns.

After lunch in a local market which had great barbeque, we were picked up in the Park van and taken to an area where there was a Great Blue Heron rookery. It was the first visit Greg had made this season and he was very disappointed at the fact that there were so many fewer nests than in the past.  The Sycamore trees where they nest were huge! and the way there was difficult, a steep slope to reach the bottom to look up at the nests.  But we all made it down, and back up! only one person got baptized with "wash" from the nests.  The murmur of chicks and parents filled the air.

Dinner Saturday night was on the Chesapeake Bay at a restaurant that served, natch, sea food!

Sunday morning dawned bright and clear and sunny but cold.  After a big breakfast we headed to Merkle Sanctuary which was founded originally to provide a stopover for Canada Geese, little did he know what he was doing!  The drive around provided a few more warbler species, Parula, Redstart, Hooded and Eastern Kingbird.  The cool wind was picking up again, and kept down many species, but we ended with a respectable list of 65.

 Respectfully submitted, Stephanie Lovell


Beginners Bird Walk #4 - Station 43 - April 29, 2017

Twenty-seven people enjoyed a long, hot and muggy morning at Station 43. Boots were
still needed at the swamp area. Highlights of birds seen were:

Wood Ducks, Common Mergs (on the river), Mallards, Great Blue Heron, Wild Turkey.
Also - D.C. Cormorants and Common Loon (on the river), Red-tailed Hawk, Palm Warbler,
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Spotted Sandpiper (on the river).
Also - Bank and Tree Swallows, House Wren, Bluebird, Yellow Warbler,
Northern Waterthrush, White-throated Sparrows.

A total of 51 species was tallied at Dunkin' Donuts.
Thank you to all who attended.

Respectfully submitted,
Roger Preston / John Ward

Great Pond Simsbury CT,  Saturday, April 15, 2017


A group of twenty-seven people arrived at 8:00 a.m. It was a very cool morning that warmed up as time went on. Many of the ducks had moved on but Wood Ducks remained, as well as Blacks, Mallards and one pair of Green-winged Teal.

The Killdeer are staying - also many Tree Swallows and Belted Kingfishers.
Pileated Woodpeckers put on a good show and were seen by all.

Other birds of interest were Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers,
Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Towhee, Brown Creepers, Red-tailed and
Red-shouldered Hawks, Turkey Vulture, Eastern Phoebe, and Great Blue Heron.

Thirty-five species were seen. Many thanks for the large and enthusiastic attendance.

Respectfully submitted, Roger Preston / Gil Kleiner / Jon Ward


Sachuest Point, RI - Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday March 25 enticed only five birders to show up for the annual Rhode Island trip. We birded all day under overcast skys but at least the rain held off. We started off at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge where we saw the usual assortment of ducks including Harlequins, Common Eiders, several White Winged Scoters as well as Black Scoters. Both loon species were seen including a Common Loon in breeding plumage. Unusual for this early was a Lesser Yellowlegs and numerous Purple Sandpipers added to the mix.

 Next we visited Scarborough Beach State Park which is located near Point Judith. We were hoping to spot the Black Headed Gull which is often see here but no luck this time. Almost nothing was seen here so we headed to Point Judith where we ate our lunch hoping to spot whatever came by. The only new species for the day were several Surf Scoters.

 Our final Destination was to Trustrom Pond National Wildlife Refuge. The only Northern Gannet of the day was seen here. It is here that we always add a lot of passerine species. New for the day here were Downy and Hairy Woodpecker, White Breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, an audio Golden Crowned Kinglet and a couple of sparrows. The real treat here are the waterfowl. We observed Gadwall, American Wigeon, 4 Northern Pintails and several Redheads among others. We ended with 18 species of ducks thanks to Trustrom. We also had both cormorant species side by side for comparison and we saw a Great Egret. We ended the day with 60 species.

Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins

Beginners Birds Walk #3 - Station 43 - February 25, 2017

On a very warm morning with temperatures in the sixties, thirty-one birders enjoyed a snow-less walk. A large group from the Manchester Garden Club attended.

The swamp produced Wood Ducks, Mallards, Green-winged Teal and Ring-necked Ducks. Many Red-winged Blackbirds were back. Belted Kingfishers were heard and seen.  A flying and perched Cooper's Hawk showed off and at least three Red-tailed Hawks were seen. One Common Merganser and a group of Canada Geese were spotted on the CT River.

Other birds of interest were Flicker, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebirds, Mockingbird, Tree Sparrow, Song and White-throated Sparrows, Juncos, Cardinal, and Common Grackles. Two Rusty Blackbirds were a good find!

A total of thirty-nine species were identified and tallied at Dunkin' Donuts

Respectfully submitted,
Roger Preston / Gil Kleiner / John Ward


 Hartford County Boat Launch Tour - February 5, 2017

 

Twelve birders gathered at the Donald Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield for the first of seven visits to local boat launches along the Connecticut River. Tolerable temperatures, light winds and clear skies made for a near perfect day of birding.

 

Our first task of the morning was sorting through the two-thousand or so Canada Geese gathered along the far shore of the river. In time, our group was rewarded with sightings of not one, but two Barnacle Geese, a species typically found this time of year wintering in northwestern Europe. We were also fortunate enough to discover a drake Barrows Goldeneye among the constantly diving Common Goldeneye, three Bufflehead and seven Ring-necked Duck.

 

Of course, Bald Eagles showed well, at least ten birds were spotted between the Donald Barnes and nearby Kings Island boat launch. An odd sighting at the Kings Island boat launch were two Wild Turkey roosting high in the trees next to the eagles!

 

The State Boat Launch just south of the Dexter Coffin Bridge in Windsor provided birders with a nice view of an active Bald Eagle nest as well as a number of Common Merganser hunting for fish in open water.  

 

The Bissel Bridge Boat Launch, also in Windsor, allowed a couple more distant Bald Eagle sightings and a Belted Kingfisher. But the highlight of the stop, and most surprising, was when a pair of Peregrine Falcon decided to perch in a dead tree right next to our group! The falcons were so obliging, people were even taking selfies with them! Both of these birds are alleged to have previously nested under this exact bridge.

 

Boat launch stops at Riverside Park and Charter Oak Landing in Hartford produced two Bald Eagles, Hooded Merganser, a variety of common gulls and one more Peregrine Falcon. Our last site, the Wethersfield Cove boat launch in Old Wethersfield, left us with an lasting image of an eagle soaring over a picturesque winter scene. A fitting way to end a successful day.

 

In addition to seeing great birds, this trip was designed to expose people to lesser known Hartford birding sites and an easier way to enjoy bird watching during harsh winter months.  

 

Respectively submitted, Paul Cianfaglione

Beginners Walk #2 - Station 43 - January 7, 2017

Sixteen birders gathered at 9:00 a.m. on a very cold morning (20-22 degrees). Much ice was moving on the CT River and there was very low water level in the swamp.

Four or five Red-tailed Hawks were the raptors off the day. Four species of Sparrows followed us through the cornfields. Other birds of interest were Red-bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Bluebird and Cardinals.

Total species for the walk amounted to only twenty-four. The group was able to head for home before the impending snow storm moved in.

Respectively submitted,
Roger Preston / Gil Kleiner / Jon Ward

Hammonasset Beach - Trip Report - December 4, 2016

Sunny, chilly but light wind-to start increasing later in the morning. Ten birders and 38 species. Generally quiet but we did have a sighting of a flycatcher of interest. Monday morning John Barringer, who was on the Sunday walk, confirmed it as an Ash-throated Flycatcher. Other birders later re-affirmed that ID.

Respectfully submitted, Ernie Harris
 

 

 

Stellwagen Bank, MA - Trip Report - October 22, 2016

Rough weather postponed this pelagic trip from October 1st to October 22nd, and it was almost cancelled on the 22nd by forecasted high seas. We went out bravely at 8am, searched the waters about 20 miles off Gloucester, MA for almost 8 hours, and were rewarded by two encounters with one juvenile SABINE'S GULL

see this website for photos of this very late bird:   

trips33.blogspot.com<http://trips33.blogspot.com

60 Black-legged Kittiwakes, 5 Pomarine Jaegers, 5 Northern Fulmars, 164 N.Gannets, and four species of shearwaters (1200 Cory's, 400 Great, 15 Sooty, and 12 Manx).

We missed a Yellow-nosed Albatross by a few miles in the afternoon, and we saw four species of whales, including 12-15 Humpback Whales which were very active and close to our 100ft ship.  Overall it was a very exciting trip.

We want to learn why seabirds and whales congregate at some locations and not others. We took two plankton samples, to compare the waters where seabirds and whales were active ("hotspots") vs. those waters where there were no seabirds or whales. The water color was very different, due largely to more phytoplankton in the water at the hotspot.

Full plankton laboratory results will be published in December at our trip website:

  trips33.blogspot.com<http://trips33.blogspot.com/>

Respectfully submitted, Tom Robben

Gulf Of Maine Pelagic - Trip Report - September 17-18, 2016

September 17-18​ was the only weekend we could schedule this long Gulf Of Maine "overnight pelagic" ​round-​trip for (including one night in a hotel in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia), and we (6 observers ​assembled together with only one week lead time, after getting a green-light from the ferry company) did okay with the birds, including our #1 target, GREAT SKUA;  we got two of them, fairly close to the ship on 9/18. 

Other species included  Northern Fulmar, Cory's Shearwater, Great Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Wilson's Storm-Petrel, Leach's Storm-Petrel, Northern Gannet, Double-crested Cormorant, Red-necked Phalarope, Black-legged Kittiwake, Bonaparte's Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern, Atlantic Puffin, GREAT SKUA, Pomarine Jaeger, and 1 Long-tailed Jaeger (on a 9/12 reconn trip on this ferry).

Thanks to our collaborative team of six​ observers that worked well together:   Nicole Giambro,  Christine Howe,  Anthony Laguidara,  Dan Nickerson,  Dave Pettee,  Tom Robben.
 

For trip report go to  trips33.blogspot.com  and scroll down.

Respectfully submitted, Tom Robben
 

Glastonbury Meadows - Trip Report - September 17, 2016

Our morning walk for an ambitious group of 9 birders started with a brief visit to Riverfront Park, where we encountered a nice mixed species flock that included an American Redstart, Nashville and Northern Parula warblers and an Eastern Wood-Pewee feeding in the trees.  

On to Glastonbury Meadows, where we were greeted by a flyover Pileated Woodpecker with its resonant call and a brief look at a Peregrine Falcon. We focused most our birding in the marsh area, which, thanks to beaver activity was still full of water despite the drought, and noted a Prairie Warbler in the crown of a tall tree and a western Palm Warbler.  In one dense patch of weeds we had a Lincolns Sparrow, two Yellow Warblers, Indigo Bunting, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and a House Wren.

A walk to the south end of the marsh yielded several Bobolinks, a few Marsh Wrens and a flyover American Pipit. There was quite a show of raptors during the morning, which included multiple Sharp-shinned, Coopers, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks and two Bald Eagles.  

A careful look at many swallows revealed a Bank, Rough-winged, numerous Trees and Barns as well as a surprise Cliff, the latter rarely seen in the Meadows.

Our final tally was 63 species on a warm, sunny day.

 Respectfully submitted, Bill Asteriades and Andrew Dasinger
 

Great Pond - Trip Report - September 17, 2016

The sun rose on a beautiful cool morning for birding. A few Killdeer turned into a dozen as a Sharpie flew by and spooked them. Near the dam a co-operative Solitary Sandpiper was foraging in the mud.

One Great Blue Heron was in the tall grass with only his head showing until he perched on a dead log.

Other birds of interest included: many Flickers, Phoebes, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker (heard), Yellow-throated Vireo, Catbird, Eastern Towhee, Kestrel, and American Redstart.
       
Fourteen people enjoyed twenty-three species. Thanks to all who attended.


Respectfully submitted, Roger Preston

Beginners Bird Walk #1 - Station 43 - September 10, 2016
The swamp area was completely dry - no need for boots! Six Great Blue Herons and two Green Herons were seen, as well as a group of Wood Ducks.

Warblers included Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Black and White, American Redstart and Common Yellowthroat.

The river produced a Great Egret, an Immature Bald Eagle, D.C. Cormorant, Belted Kingfisher, and another Green Heron.

Other birds of interest were Red-tailed Hawk, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, Cedar Waxwing, Swamp Sparrow, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Hummingbird, Warbling Vireo.

Thirteen participants enjoyed a muggy morning, interrupted by a half-hour  shower, and then clearing. A total of 46 species was tallied.


Respectfully submitted, Roger Preston / Jon Ward 
 

HARTFORD SUMMER BIRD COUNT SUMMARY - 6/11-12, 2016

The Summer Bird Count (SBC), unlike Decembers Christmas Bird Count (CBC), comes at a difficult time of the year.  It conflicts with vacations, weddings, graduations, gardening, golf and a myriad of other activities.  As such, getting the same coverage for our fifteen mile diameter circle is problematic with a third the number of field observers that participate in the CBC.  Although we try to cover the hot spots like Station 43, the Connecticut River meadows and the Rentschler Field (more on that later) area, vast swaths of our woodlands go uncovered each year and this results in a noticeable lack of certain warblers and other interior forest nesting species.  This year was no exception although our 34 observers turned in a herculean effort.  Party hours went up from 97 to 113, and this with a half dozen fewer participants than worked in 2015.  

Total species increased to 113, a dozen more than last year, and perhaps the highest total since the start of our SBC.  Of course, we were a little bit lucky as several species were represented by only a single individual including Least Bittern, Coopers and Red-shouldered Hawks, Black-billed Cuckoo and Eastern Screech Owl. Broad-winged Hawk and American kestrel, both seen in 2015, went unreported this year.  Among the more unusual waterfowl species were a pair of American Black Ducks in Glastonbury and a Green-winged Teal in Newington.   This marks the first appearance for the latter on our SBC.  Glastonbury also reported two Virginia Rails and 3 Sora, birds that went missing at Station 43 this year.  A Glastonbury Least Sandpiper was another first, as were a pair of Ring-billed Gulls, no doubt feasting on food scraps at the Rocky Hill ferry dock.  Upland Sandpiper went unreported this year, as the grasslands at Rentschler Field in East Hartford birds are now being managed, apparently to insure that the area is no longer suitable for this rare and state-listed shorebird.  Fortunately, other grassland birds were noted in several areas. Of note were 8 Eastern Meadowlarks found at the former Hartford Landfill and 6 in Bloomfield.  Bobolinks, found in three areas, totaled 20 individuals.

Other birds of interest included a pair of Common Nighthawks in Glastonbury.  This is a species that formerly nested in our area, but is now listed by the CT DEEP as an endangered breeder in our state. Alder Flycatchers came from two South Windsor locations.  Two Purple Martins from Glastonbury were down from the 8 reported the previous year.  One hopes this small colony is not disappearing.  A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the West Hartford Reservoir marked a continuing southward movement of this more northerly species.  Mourning Doves continue to increase with 466 reported this year, an increase of over 100 from the previous year.  Is this due to a population increase or increased coverage in areas that this species prefers?   The lack of coverage in our forests was notable from towns like Manchester and West Hartford.  Although a Red-breasted Nuthatch in Manchester and single Brown Creepers in Glastonbury and West Hartford were more than commendable, consider the following totals for woodland warblers:  Worm-eating Warbler 3, Black-and-white Warbler 2, Chestnut-sided Warbler 2 and Black-throated Green Warbler 1.  Are these birds just not breeding in the greater Hartford area or do we need to boost our coverage in the forests?  It should be noted that Ovenbirds totaled 18, Blue-winged Warbler 16, American Redstart 29, Pine Warbler 24 and Prairie Warbler 31! These are impressive numbers. 

The Hartford SBC, now in its twenty-sixth year, provides valuable information on the status of breeding bird populations in the Hartford area.  Both upwards and downward trends are apparent for select species, and the Summer Bird Counts provide a valuable tool in assessing bird populations, habitat health and other important environmental issues going forward.  As compiler, I thank the 34 area captains and participants who donated their time to provide this information in 2016.  Results of ours and the other Connecticut SBCs will be published in an upcoming edition of The Connecticut Warbler, quarterly journal of the Connecticut Ornithological Association. 

A full accounting of those species found on the Hartford Count is available by e-mailing me at jaybrd49@aol.com


Jay Kaplan, Compiler, Hartford Summer Bird Count

 Greenstone Hollow Nature Preserve Report, May 28, 2016

We had a beautiful day.  The sky was sunny and the temperature was warm.  The humidity was rising as summer was approaching.  The leaves were out, so we practiced birding by ear.  Only occasionally did we get to see the birds.  Six of us gathered for the Greenstone trip.  We had a two birders new to Hartford Audubon who found us on our web site.

The roadside started us off with calling Common Yellowthroats, our first warbler of the day.  Also calling were Blue-winged Warblers and American Redstarts.  All three were probably nesting in the preserve.

In the shrubby field we found a small flock of Cedar Waxwings. A pair even perched in a bush just five feet from us.  We got a fine view without binoculars.  Also heard were Yellow Warblers.  There were a few of them, but not as many as in past years.  The blue-wings and yellow-throats were the predominant species present.

On the Willow Wander we came across a few Baltimore Orioles. We got looks at them as they flew over.  A sharp eyed birder found a large bird in a tree.  After waiting for it to move into view, we found a pair of Black-billed Cuckoos.  These were the best birds of the day, and we were able to see them for quite a while.

We had a total of 27 species, including 4 warblers.

Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden

Cromwell Meadows WMA - Trip Report, May 21, 2016

A beautiful day greeted a lively group of 4 birders.  The leaves were almost all out, so we had to bird by ear for many of the species. Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats were in good supply, as many of them were singing along the trail. 

We spotted a Blue Jay flying to and from a nest in a tree.  We saw several Baltimore Orioles singing in the tops of trees.  We heard a Chestnut-sided Warbler and saw a couple of Canada Warblers.

At the end of the trail we had looks at a Blue-winged Warbler, Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing, and a Veery.

Overhead we had a flock of Canada Geese, and several Great-blue Herons.  Other waterfowl were not seen.  Osprey were absent as the nesting platforms have been removed. We had a good walk and saw 31 species with 6 warblers.

Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden


  East Rock Park - Trip Report, May 14, 2016

Seventeen adults and a 1 1/2 year old girl gathered at East Rock Park New Haven/Hamden for my annual trip there, The weather was perfect for a walk in the park. In the parking lot we had both Orchard and Baltimore Orioles and as we started out we soon encountered warblers among which were Northern Parula, Magnolia, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush and a Canada. Right near the trail a female Baltimore Oriole was busy building a nest and overhead a flock of Double Crested Cormorants were flying in V formation just like Canada Geese. Eventually we headed to the upper level where we encountered two birders who reported seeing a SUMMER  TANAGER! We thought it would be a long shot for this one. We added more warblers here including Black Throated Blue, Blackburnian, Prairiie and a Hooded, the latter not seen by everyone. Later on someone in our group received a call saying the Summer Tanager was being seen just down the road from us! A quick strut to the other group revealed the bird, a first year male. This was the final species added to the trip! We ended up with 53 species.

Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins

Tanager Hill Trip Report - May 11, 2016

Twenty-two people joined us for a walk at the Simsbury Land Trust Tanager Hill Property.  The scarcity of warblers was indicative of spring migration as a whole.  Nevertheless, we were able to observe twelve species, including a very cooperative Hooded Warbler who diligently inspected every member of our group.  Not to be outdone, two male Black-throated Blue Warblers made a welcome appearance to the approval of all.  Additional warblers included Blue-winged, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided, and Magnolia.  Not unexpected, but always a delight to see were Baltimore Oriole, Scarlet Tanager, and Great Crested Flycatcher.  Cedar Waxwings and a Winter Wren were also observed.  Our group then moved to the militia training field at the intersection of Terry's Plain and Goodrich Roads, where two Bobolinks saved the day for one of the leaders who had positively guaranteed that they would be seen.

Respectfully submitted, Doug Beach and Roger Preston

 Quarry Park and Connecticut River Floodplain - Trip Report, May 7, 2016

A cool and damp day greeted us as we started out the walk.  There had been rain the previous day, and we got some rain while driving through the meadows.  Five of us braved the weather to see what was in the park.  The trees were beginning to get some leaves, so a lot of the birds we saw by ear.

The upper level had a few patriotic birds, American Goldfinch, American Crow, and American Robin.  We heard a Hairy Woodpecker, an unusual one for this trip.  The birds were few and far between.

On the lower levels we found a singing Carolina Wren, and Wood Thrush.  We also heard a Blue-winged Warbler singing.  Our only warbler of the day.  The quarry part of the trip netted 19 species.

Then we caravanned through the Rocky Hill Meadows.  One person found a Baltimore Oriole.  At the stop at Goff Brook we had a singing Warbling Vireo, a first time bird in the history of this trip.  An Eastern Kingbird flew ahead of us as we drove through the fields, as well as small flocks of European Starlings and Savannah Sparrows.  Lots of Barn Swallows and some Tree Swallows were found cruising over the turf fields.

A Red-tailed Hawk flew over and landed in a far tree.  This was our only raptor for the day.

The Ferry Park area surprisingly had no gulls.  Usually it is overloaded with them.  The Meadows netted us 23 species.  35 species overall.

Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden

Beginners Bird Walk - Station 43 - South Windsor- 4/3/2016

A cool start soon turned into a gorgeous day for twenty-five birders. The water had receded from the month before so a little mud was the only deterrent.
Sightings included: Wood Ducks, Mallards, and two Common Mergansers flying down river. Also seen were Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Killdeer and two Spotted Sandpipers. 
Warblers included Yellow, Yellow-rumped, and Palm. Swallows included Tree, Rough-winged, Bank and Barn.
Other species seen were Bluebird, Catbird, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Common Yellowthroat, Towhee, Savannah Sparrows (along with Chipping, song, Swamp, and White-throated). 
Carolina, and House Wrens, along with colorful Baltimore Orioles ended the morning.
Fifty-one species were tallied at Dunkin' Donuts.

Respectfully submitted, Roger Preston / Jon Ward

Great Pond Bird Walk - Simsbury, Ct,  4/16/2016

A cool, windy, sunny morning greeted thirty-two birders at 8:00 A.M. The group worked its way from the dam to the east side of the pond where the wind was less strong. Ducks of note were Mallards, Blacks, Wood Ducks and Ring-Necked Ducks.
Flyovers were Great Blue Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, Turkey Vulture, and a hovering Osprey. Seven Snipe were seen on a far mud flat, along with several Killdeer.
Other birds of interest: Phoebe, Tree Swallow, Fish Crow, Brown Creeper, Pine and Palm Warblers, and many Red-Winged Blackbirds. 

A grand total of 34 species completed a successful morning of birding.

Respectfully submitted,  Roger Preston / Gil Kleiner / Jon Ward


Greenstone Hollow Nature Preserve Bird Walk, 4/9/2016

We had a beautiful day.  The sky was sunny and the temperature was chilly.  Seven of us gathered for the Greenstone trip.  We had a few new to Hartford Audubon.

The roadside started us off with calling Hairy Woodpeckers.  Also many of the usual suspects flew by.  The woods were quiet with nothing unusual.  At the clearing we found a pair of Black-capped Chickadees building a nest in a dead tree.

In the shrubby field we found numerous American Goldfinch.  The hawks were present during the day.  We had a Coopers Hawk and several Red-tailed Hawks with good looks at a pair overhead.

We explored the Cedar Woods and found a group of feathers that could have been a hawk kill.  The winter birds were still around.  We had several White-throated Sparrows.

Exploring the marsh and the beaver pond to the south, we turned up several more raptors.  We had Turkey Vulture, Osprey, and Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Several spring birds were also seen.  We had a pair of Eastern Bluebirds exploring possible nesting sites.  Also Eastern Phoebes and Tree Swallows.  We had a possible sparrow, but it hid away and we could not positively identify it.

The preserve was showing good early spring activity.  We had a total of 28 species, too early for warblers.

Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden 

 Southwestern Ct Shoreline - 3/26/2016

The group of 8 started the day at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. The day was partly cloudy with temps in the mid 40s, but fortunately not too windy for viewing seabirds. Our patron saint Carl Ekroth sent 6 Northern Gannets for us to admire, as well as the continuing Lesser Black-backed Gull. There was quite a big group of Long-tailed Ducks on view also. Next stop was Seaside Park in Bridgeport where the group was thrilled to see the Ross's Goose, a life bird and state bird for many, as well as a vocal Monk Parakeet. The McKinney Wildlife Refuge had some vocal Boat-tailed Grackles to study, as well as a group of 13 Wild Turkeys. Sikorsky Airport, Frash Pond, and Long Beach had the usual suspects, and then we were delighted to find 2 beautiful adult Yellow-crowned Night-Herons at the pond in back of the business building on Access Rd in Stratford. Short Beach provided us with Northern Harrier and 3 American Oystercatchers. The trip ended with a visit to Birdseye Boat Ramp and the Coastal Center at Milford Point, where we had 2 Northern Shovelers in the marsh, and 2 Piping Plovers on the beach. Our species total was 55 for the day. It was a great group and we all enjoyed our day admiring birds by the sea.

 Respectfully submitted, Sara Zagorski

Sachuest Point, Rhode Island, Bird Walk 3/26/2016

Six people met at Sachuest Point N W R Rhode Island for this annual trip. We started off with very close views of Harlequin Ducks, Common Eiders and Black Scoters. Continuing along we soon added Surf and White Winged Scoters along with a Red Necked Grebe and a Northern Gannet as well as the more usual species. 

We next visited Trustrom Pond N W R where we always pick up good on the land birds. Here we added 11 species of songbirds with all but a Golden Crowned Kinglet seen near the feeders. A hike down to the edge of the ocean produced Greater Scaup, Ruddy Ducks along with a hen Common Merganser. The merganser was unusual for this location. Also seen here was a Northern Harrier, several American Coots, Osprey and a Mallard pair sitting in an Osprey nest! Then we headed to the Moonstone Beach area where we were afforded close views of a drake Blue Winged Teal.

 Our last stop was to Ninigret N W R where we obtained excellent looks of the Lesser Black Backed Gull that has been seen here for 17 years now! Thus ended a great day of birding with 55 species seen.

Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins

Station 43 Bird Walk - 2/27/16

The morning started out cool but quickly turned into a sunny, beautiful late February day. Heavy rain a few days before the walk created very high water at both ends of the trail, keeping us from walking the usual route. Bushwacking enabled the group to reach a grassy area east of the marsh pond and let the birds come to them. In this area the following were seen: Wood Ducks, Mallards, Black Duck, Red-tailed Hawk, Pheasant, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Robins, Carolina Wren, Cedar Waxwing, Red-winged Black Birds, and a White-throated Sparrow.

At the end of forty-five minutes the group went to Vibert Road, parking at the Water Treatment Plant and walking about fifty yards to where the water was across the road. Thousands of Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds were seen on both sides of the road, along with several Mockingbirds, Juncos, Cardinals, and more.

Twenty birders learned that sometimes staying quiet in a birding area will mean that the birds will appear.

Thirty-five species were tallied at Dunkin Donuts.
Respectfully submitted, Roger Preston and Jon Ward

Station 43 Beginner's Bird Walk - 1/9/16

Impending bad weather did not deter twenty-three people from taking the hike. It was an unusually warm, cloudy day. Work had been done at the swamp to divert the water under the road, so walking was much easier. 
Thirty-five species were identified, including the following highlights:
Hooded Merganser, Pheasant, Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Common Raven,  Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, Mockingbird, Tree Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Juncos, and Rusty Blackbird.
Many thanks to all who participated.
Respectfully submitted,
Roger Preston, Jon Ward and Gil Kleiner


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

         

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