|Marbled Godwit (Point Reyes, CA)|
The next bird in the review of rare Connecticut Valley birds is the Marbled Godwit discovered by Tom Gagnon on July 24, 1977. The sighting was the first (and so far only) sighting of this species in the valley. Here is the report of the sighting in Tom's words:
July 24, 1977Hadley Cove.The Hadley Cove as you know it today was VERY DIFFERENT back in the 70's comparing it with what we see now in 2012. For starters, the last three houses that are there today were not there. That area was someones vegetable plot and a small old gravel pit, with a dirt road that went down to the waters edge and you could stand there and look up the river. At that time there was a very big sandbar on the north side of the river just before the where the cove entrance is today. We always would fine some shorebirds there. That was why I was there that morning. My entry for that day reads:Marbled Godwit 1 Excellent look. This is a first for Western Massachusetts. I called many people and everyone came and saw it. (There was also an Upland Plover there with other regular shorebirds.)It rained on July 25th, but I saw the bird on the 26th and the late Bob Goodrich of Pittsfield saw it there on the 27th.
A few years after this great discovery, the river took away the sandbar it had created in the first place and it has never reappeared again to my knowledge.
Hadley Cove continues to produce some great sightings but the access to the area is very limited now that several houses have been built here. It is a truly great spot for waterfowl in migration and during mild winters (like this year). At least 15 species of waterfowl have been seen in this very small area over the last several years including notables such as Greater White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, and Gadwall. It is no longer as much of a shorebird hotspot as it once was but given low water levels in the river some fairly large mudflats occur which could attract any of a variety of shorebird species at the right time of year.