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Trip Reports:

Hammonasset Beach State Park  - December 3, 2017

We had 21 birders including: Adrian and Beth Nichols,a member of NH Bird Club and two young women from Glastonbury ( future members). 42 species, especially: surf&white-winged scoters, both loons, Bald eagle, N. Harrier, Coopers, Red tail hawk, purple sandpiper, SNOWY OWL, horned lark, hermit thrush, yellow-rumped warblers (many), swamp sparrow. Before: 4 of us had a red-shouldered hawk; After: 8 of us had many hooded mergansers on swan pond. And some good fish at the Tale.

Respectfully submitted, Ernie Harris

Stellwagen Bank -- October 22, 2017

For the last five years HAS has been collaborating with Krill Carson's NECWA organization on pelagic trips going out of Plymouth and Gloucester MA for eight hours in and around Stellwagen Bank waters, for a 100-mile round trip offshore.  This year we ran it on October 22nd and the weather was beautiful and calm, around 60F. About 80 people participated on the ship, half of them birders and half whale watchers. 

We saw a wide variety of seabirds, including  2 Black-legged Kittiwakes, 10 Razorbills (1 very close to the ship for several minutes),  3 NorthernFulmars, four species of shearwaters, two species of jaegers (seen well as they chased Common Terns), but we saw no phalaropes or storm-petrels.  We looked for three specific rarities but none of these were seen (Sabine's Gull, Scopoli's Shearwater, skuas).  We enjoyed good views of about 1,000 Double-crested Cormorants flying in several formations over the ship, migrating south as we approached Gloucester in the afternoon.  We also had good views of 10 Humpback Whales, 20 Common Dolphins and one sunfish.   We did a 5-minute plankton tow, and we will be taking the preserved samples to UConn for lab analysis soon, hoping to learn more about the changing ocean ecosystem in these waters. 

We ended up with 35 species of birds offshore, and a happy group of observers.  The full trip report and some photos are available at trips33.blogspot.com.

Respectfully submitted, Tom Robben


Gulf of Maine - September 29-30, 2017

Six birders took the September 29, 2017 ferry at 3pm from Portland ME 212-miles across the GOM (Gulf Of Maine) to Yarmouth NS, stayed in a local hotel that night, and returned the next morning at 8am, with passports in-hand. The large ship (the 300-foot Alakai Cat Ferry) was super stable and nobody got seasick.

Our stated goal was to find at least one SKUA, preferably a unambiguously identifiable Great Skua, probably as an early arriving winter visitant from Iceland.  We focused especially on that eastern 30% of the route where we had seen skuas several times in recent years, and we were not disappointed!  During our six hour return trip on September 30th we had five sightings of skuas in that target zone!  At least 3 and maybe 4 of those were different individuals, including one South Polar Skua and at least 2 different birds being identifiable as Great Skuas.  The Great and South Polar Skuas were lifers for a few birders.

Although we had pretty good looks at these skuas, including one that passed in front of the ferry 150-200 feet away, most of our photos (three birders had big telephoto lens cameras) were out of focus, because their cameras auto-focused on the very distinct wavetops rather than the skua flying in the middle of the frame. Bill Asteriades dug through his thousand photos and was able to find some well-focused shots of our bird #5, a dark Great Skua, in molt, and showing diagnostic gold streaks on its mantle and scapulars, which was enough photographic evidence to corroborate our binocular descriptions of the birds.

The eBird regional coordinators for both the ME and NS sides of our route confirmed all our skua IDs.

In total, we saw 25 species with many birds passing close to the ferry, and we kept a timed log counting all species seen on our crossings. Other notable species included Leachs Storm-petrel and Sooty Shearwater, rare for this time of year, dark morph Pomarine Jaeger, Black-legged Kittiwake and Northern Fulmar.  Marine mammals in deeper GOM waters included sightings of 8 Finback Whales, 32 Atlantic White-sided Dolphins and 4 Harbor Porpoises.
Trip details are available at this site:  Trips33.blogspot.com

Note that this was the fourth year of our annual HAS Skua Search two-day trips across the GOM, looking for skuas, and finding them principally in Canadian waters.  Three of those trips had good enough weather to sail, and all those 3 trips had skuas:
2017: two Great Skuas, one South Polar Skua, two Skua species.
2016: two Great Skuas.
2015: trip cancelled by extreme weather.
2014: one Great Skua, three Skua species.

Please join us next October on this exciting round-trip across the Gulf Of Maine.

Respectfully submitted, Tom Robben & Bill Asteriades


  Glastonbury Meadows  -   October 1, 2017


With poor weather forecast for September 30, we moved the walk to the following day. Our expectations for a sunny morning, however, were challenged with a rather foggy start. Barely able to see across the river, the 8-person group made do with the croak of a Great Blue and the distant rattle of a kingfisher while we walked the south end of Riverfront Park. After entering Glastonbury Meadows, we started our typical route along the marsh, picking up a Lincolns Sparrow and a first-of-fall White-throated Sparrow. In trees bordering a weed-covered tomato field, a small mixed species flock included several warblers and a Philadelphia Vireo. A flock of Am. Pipit flew over and disappeared into the corn stubble. Farther south, where a large pumpkin and squash field meets the marsh, we found greater sparrow activity and diversity, including a couple more Lincolns and a singing White-crowned, but highlighted by a Dickcissel that teed up and patiently perched for all the photographers in the group. Some of us spotted a Sora scooting across a dirt road in the marsh, and we subsequently heard both a Sora and Virginia Rail. Leaving the marsh and walking over the farm fields, we saw multiple Northern Harriers, a Bald Eagle, and other raptors.


We ended up with a respectable 63 species on our list.


Respectfully submitted, Bill Asteriades and Andrew Dasinger  



Glastonbury Meadows  -  September 16, 2017


Ten birders met on a cool, foggy morning for what everyone hoped would be a great day of birding. After bidding farewell to a noisy construction crew that was preparing to pave part of the parking lot (yes, at 7 a.m. Sunday morning), we first made a quick pass through Glastonburys Riverfront Park. Our most notable observations were two Northern Parulas chasing each other among the tree tops. A Great Egret and a few Great Blue Herons stalked the banks of the Connecticut River, while a lone Double-crested Cormorant flew quickly by. Unexpectedly, loudspeakers blared at a fundraising event farther up the river.


As we entered Glastonbury Meadows, mostly free of distracting sounds, the fog began to burn off, followed by sunshine and temperatures in the upper 70s; an ideal day for birding. We focused on the marsh area, which has expanded further due to a beaver dam on Hubbard Brook. Our patience was rewarded by vocalizing Soras and Virginia Rails, a few of which we ultimately glimpsed walking among the marsh vegetation close to the dirt road. Chattering Marsh Wrens were heard frequently, some of which perched out in the open to the delight of many birders. We detected 12 in all (heard or seen), suggesting a very successful breeding season at this site. The edge of the overgrown horse pasture had some great birds, including Dickcissel, Grasshopper Sparrow and three Lincolns Sparrows. A Pied-billed Grebe, quite rare for the Meadows, was spotted swimming and diving in a flooded swale in the pasture. We will be sure to check for evidence of nesting next spring, given what seems to be prime habitat for this species.

On our way out, an adult Bald Eagle flew over the Connecticut River, a large flock of Bobolinks passed overhead and a Wilsons Warbler made a momentary appearance in a dense thicket by the river. In all, we saw 60 species.


Respectfully submitted, Bill Asteriades and Andrew Dasinger      

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








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