A couple of things. First, not one of the shorebirds was a Killdeer. And second, as you might have guessed, I wasn’t in Indiana.
Over the holidays we usually spend a few days with relatives in Connecticut. And as is my usual practice I spent the 26th walking along the Atlantic Ocean. I don’t really care where, I just want to be birding the ocean for a day. It’s a good chance to see several species that I don’t usually get to see. And it was even more important this year since, like the rest of the northern US, the reservoir that my relatives live on was devoid of waterfowl. Most years I get to spend time studying loons and gulls on their reservoir, but not this year. So to the beach.
With less birds moving south I decided to visit closer beaches in southern Connecticut instead of driving north of Boston as I have done a couple of times. Which means less chance for something uncommon but always a good day to be out.
To the beach.
I spent most of the day at Sherwood Island State Park outside Westport, CT. From there you can easily Long Island across the sound.
The first birds encountered were gulls, of course, but I immediately saw some shorebirds on an old pier. First thought was the expected DUNLIN but a closer look and they were RUDDY TURNSTONES. They weren’t moving much. They seemed cold even in the unusual warm 50 degree weather?
And the expected Gulls
On these jaunts I rarely see people since the temperature is usually in the 10’s to – 20’s. But this year it was in the a fore-mentioned 50’s so there were numerous people out walking dogs or kids trying out new bikes. So I headed to the other end of the beach. Not much happening there except a large raft of RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and the occasional LONG-TAILED DUCK flying by in the distance.
Time to head to the other 2 beaches I frequent on my trips to Connecticut.
First was South Beach in Stratford. With the wind out of the east and blowing right into the beach, not much there. I have been there before during calm seas and have seen numerous waterfowl that I usually don’t get a chance to see.
I checked out the gulls and on to the other beach in Stratford – Long Beach.
It was now getting late in the afternoon and with cloudy skies it was getting dark. I walked the beach checking the gulls and waterfowl flying by. On the second breakwall there were a flock of shorebirds. The expected DUNLIN! And mixed in were several SANDERLING.
The DUNLIN were as inactive as the RUDDY TURNSTONES had been but the SANDERLING in their normal behavior couldn’t sit still. It was fun to watch them run along the beach picking at things.
When I turned to head back I saw a flock of small birds land in the grass along the beach. It had to be SNOW BUNTINGS. And they were really tough to see in the grass. No wonder Mike and I couldn’t see them along the shore of Lake Michigan. They are tough to see.
And with a slight rain beginning to fall I called the end to another winter Connecticut Beach walk.