Our Experts Recommend These Places as Part of Your 2019 Birdathon Strategy
We hope you’re planning to participate in our Migration Madness Bird-a-thon. Our Centers and their surrounding sanctuaries are all great places to go.
We asked the experts on our staff and Board to outline what you might look for. Each of the Centers or areas below have bird walks scheduled for May 17, 18 or 19.
Click here to see the full schedule.
Click here to register for the Bird-a-thon.
Executive Director Patrick Comins on the Coastal Center at Milford Point. (Register HERE for Frank Mantlik’s Saturday morning bird walk at the Coastal Center.) From a distance with your binoculars or scope, look for Piping Plovers near the cage exclosures on the beach. Scan for American Oystercatcher and, at high tide, migrant shorebirds such as Semipalmated Plover, Sanderling, and Dunlin. Common Terns and Least Terns are likely to be flying above the shallow waters. Look for Great and Snowy Egret, and Yellow-crowned Night Heron, in the marsh and maybe Northern Harrier flying over the marsh. Osprey will be on its platform and Purple Martins in their nest gourds, both visible from the parking area. Likely number of species: 40-50. (Read Patrick’s exhaustive statewide strategy here.)
Sanctuary manager Andy Rzeznikiewicz on Bafflin Sanctuary and the Center at Pomfret – Start at the Center itself for birds that can be hard to get elsewhere: Bobolink, kestrel, Orchard Oriole, Willow Flycatcher, maybe Eastern Meadowlark. At the cattail marsh across the road, listen for Virginia Rail before dawn, and look for female Hooded Mergansers with their young.
The trail across from the Center is a good place to listen and look for White-eyed Vireo and Indigo Bunting. Savannah Sparrows can be found near the cow pasture at the north end of Wright’s Crossing Road.
Board member Mike Aurelia on Deer Pond Farm, Sherman — (Sign up for one of Deer Pond Farm’s weekend walks HERE.) Look and listen for Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, and Magnolia warblers, and plenty of others.
No guarantees but we once had 19 species of warbler in one short stretch of trail at one time.
The forest will be filled with Scarlet Tanagers, Red-eyed Vireos, Wood Thrushes, and Veerys. Listen for Eastern Towhees singing near the pond.
Milan Bull, senior director of science and conservation, on Birdcraft Sanctuary, Fairfield – On a good morning in May, you can see and hear dozens of species of songbirds at Birdcraft, including up to 20 kinds of warbler alone: Northern Waterthrush, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Magnolia, Bay-breasted, Blackburnian, Blackpoll, Black-throated Blue, Black-Throated Green … and on and on. Not to mention thrushes, vireos, and sparrows.
The trail is short and, as a bonus, Connecticut Audubon’s bird-banders will be demonstrating their techniques, so you’re guaranteed a close look at some birds in the hand. More info about Birdcraft HERE.
EcoTravel Director Andy Griswold on the Lower Connecticut River and vicinity – (Our Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center has six bird walks scheduled this weekend in Old Lyme and elsewhere in southeast Connecticut. Find them HERE.) Get to the observation platform or the Old Lyme landing on Smith Neck Road before dawn to hear Virginia and Clapper Rail, and maybe King Rail and Marsh Wren.
Look for Willett, herons, egrets and Glossy Ibis, and of course Osprey. Nehantic State Forest has a dense population of Worm-eating Warbler and is a good place to see and hear Hooded Warbler.
Look for Bald Eagle at Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. You’ll find waterfowl and migratory shorebirds at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison. Our Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center is organizing bird walks in the Old Lyme area on Friday and Saturday morning.