Big Sit 2021 Update
Who wouldn’t want to spend all day watching birds?
Our birding team, B.W. Surf Scopers, participated in yet another The Big Sit! competition on Sunday, October 10, 2021. The core members Frank Gallo, Jim Dugan, Patrick Dugan, and Frank Mantlik were grateful for the participation by birders Tom Murray and Stefan Martin. We started at 4:37am, birded over 14 hours straight, then quit at 7:00pm. We tallied 82 species.
Unfortunately, the weather was less than ideal. While the temperatures were seasonable 58-64F, it was mostly cloudy and humid, the winds were strong from the ENE (10-23 mph) all day, and it rained 11:45 a.m. -1:30 p.m. The tide was exceptionally high (3 p.m.), flooding the salt marsh and washing over the road and the sandbar.
The predawn and early morning landbird migration was virtually non-existent, with the result that we missed many species we normally see. Likewise, there was almost no migration of waterbirds over Long Island Sound. While recording both Common (33!) and Red-throated Loons, the only seaduck was one Black Scoter. However, we did fairly well with diurnal raptors (10 species), shorebirds (14 species), herons, and puddle-ducks. Our first bird of the day was Canada Goose; our last was Lesser Yellowlegs.
Highlights included a pair of Northern Shovelers, a female Northern Pintail, Clapper Rail, Sora, 2 American Golden-Plovers, White-rumped and Pectoral Sandpipers, American Bittern, 2 Bald Eagles, several Peregrine Falcons, 2 Monk Parakeets (our first in several years), two Common Ravens, 3300 Tree Swallows, Nelson’s Sparrow, and a Red Bat.
Our worst misses included Gadwall, Red-breasted Merganser, Surf and White-winged Scoters, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, kinglets, House Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Palm Warbler.
We had great support from many friends. George Amato delivered amazing donuts and pastries early on, to go with Tom’s box of hot coffee. After noon Gilles Carter delivered us an amazing veggie pizza and a stack of sandwiches. Several visitors stopped by to wish us well. Thank you all.
On a very high note, our efforts raised $6500 for the CT Audubon Milford Point Coastal Center. We thank the many generous donors for their continued support of this invaluable education and conservation facility. THANK YOU!
B.W. Surf Scopers team member
Coastal Center Advisory Board Member