Friday, September 28, 2012

Trip to the Connecticut coast and heavy migration before the rain

Osprey, Rocky Neck SP, CT, Sep 27, 2012

Snowy Egret,  Rocky Neck SP, CT, Sep 27, 2012

 Snowy Egret, Rocky Neck SP, CT, Sep 27, 2012

With the forecast of all day rain on Friday and showers and drizzle on Saturday we ditched our plans to go to Cape Cod for a few days and instead headed down to the Connecticut coast for the day on Thursday.  We went to Rocky Neck State Park and spent several hours there.  The small beach there held little in the way of bird life but the marsh and river nearby had some good birds.  The best birds of the day were actually right from the parking lot and included a Dickcissel that called several times and then dropped into a hedgerow not to be seen again and at least one flyover Pine Siskin with a group of goldfinches.  The raptors in the area also put on a bit of a show with the handful of Ospreys present showing well.  The several American Kestrels that were moving through were all quite high and moving down the coast.
Yellow billed Cuckoo, Rocky Neck SP, CT, Sep 27, 2012

Walking the series of trails near the marsh and river produced a few small flocks of birds including one that had a Yellow billed Cuckoo with it. The bird stayed at the very tops of some oaks so great photos were impossible.  
Snowy Egret, Rocky Neck SP, CT, Sep 27, 2012

Snowy Egret, Rocky Neck SP, CT, Sep 27, 2012

Snowy Egret, Rocky Neck SP, CT, Sep 27, 2012

The Snowy Egrets were the most numerous and active waders there with lots of interaction between them. 

Video 1 of birds passing in front of moon, Belchertown, MA, 10pm, Sep 27, 2012

Video 2 of birds passing in front of moon, Belchertown, MA, 10pm, Sep 27, 2012

Radar image showing heavy migration, 10pm, Sep 27, 2012

Last evening the radar showed some decent migration so I went out to listen around 10 pm and had several birds giving flight calls and a large number of birds moving past the nearly full moon. I averaged around ten birds a minute passing the moon. I took a handful of short videos with my iPhone and captured some of the birds moving by. Video 1 has a bird at bottom at 8 seconds and another close but blurry one at 10 seconds. In video 2 there is a quick flyby at 21 seconds and the best capture of a bird at 26 seconds in. Always fun to get a good night of migration in the spring or fall with a full moon and see all the birds streaming by. Another example of how good the migration was last night can be found at the following link:

This site records nocturnal flight calls and last night was the biggest night yet this fall with over 2800 calls noted.

The rain materialized as predicted this morning and I made a brief stop at the east meadows on my way to work but the rain was too heavy and I did not find anything of note. There certainly was the chance of birds getting knocked down by the weather given the migration occurring last night and the rain moving in predawn. The rest of the day continued to be rainy and raw with temperatures in the 50’s. On my way home from work I tried to make a brief stop at Winsor Dam but the rain was falling too hard and the visibility too reduced to see anything on the water.  Hopefully someone will find some good birds out there tomorrow morning.

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