Winter Birding on Long Island Sound

All eyes are on the water as we go out on our census

All eyes are on the water as we go out on our census

In an effort to help with a census of winter birds on Long Island Sound (an effort championed by the Scientific Committee of the Connecticut Ornithological Association) I went out three times during the month of December.  A reliable, comprehensive census of our winter bird population in these areas, inaccessible without a boat, hasn’t been done in recent memory, if at all.  The recent influx of more northern birds such as Murres, Dovekies and Razorbills highlights the need for this data collection.

Faulkner's Island with Goose Rocks in the foreground.

Faulkner’s Island with Goose Rocks in the foreground.

Those of us without winter-worthy boats still have a couple of choices to get out there on the water to bird.  There is a ferry from Bridgeport, Connecticut to Port Jefferson, Long Island and one from New London, Connecticut to Orient Point, Long Island.  You can buy a walk on round trip ticket on either ferry for around $27.00 and get a cheap pelagic experience.  Go with a group of like minded friends, dress warmly, and it’s a really fun filled morning.  On a trip just before Christmas, friends and I had at least 75 Northern Gannets, many performing for us with their spectacular plunge dives.  Another alternative is to charter a lobster boat.  I went along on one of these trips with some serious birding friends visiting areas where bird censusing had never been reported.   We went to Goose Rocks, Faulkner’s Island and the Thimble Islands, a total of 31 miles.  The data from the counts, submitted by many participants from New York and Connecticut are now being analyzed.

The boat ride wasn't quite enough and we went looking for unusual gulls.  We had just the usual suspects this time although this spot (Circle Beach in Madison, Connecticut) is a noted hot spot for them.

The boat ride wasn’t quite enough and we went looking for unusual gulls. We had just the usual suspects this time although this spot (Circle Beach in Madison, Connecticut) is a noted hot spot for them.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Marjorie said,

    LOL Your next-to-last sentence says it all about real birders. The thrill of the hunt goes on as long as possible.

    Your birding friends helping with the census are to be commended for charting new places.

    Like


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