9/11/10 – Fairfield Migrants

Dave Hursh, James Orrico and I joined up at the Birdcraft around 6am for the start of a day of local birding. Besides a stop at Lighthouse Point in New Haven we stayed within Fairfield and this post chronologs our day of birding in Fairfield.

Note: The birds listed below are the highlights or migrants seen. For full species lists, check ebird where I post my Fairfield-only lists.

The temperature was a balmy 62 when James and I met Dave at Birdcraft. The radar was lit up with birds the night before but it seems many of them landed to our south in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. However, we ended up seeing larger than normal numbers (at least for Birdcraft) of a few expected species. Once the sun came up, we started seeing more birds and for the next 3 hours ran all over the .6 acre sanctuary trying to find as many migrants as we could. Highlights/Migrants below:

3 Black-crowned Night-Heron
1 Red-shouldered Hawk–a nice juvenile that kept all the warblers on their toes
2 American Kestrel–flyovers
1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird–only seen by Tina
3 Tree Swallow
1 House Wren–seen from the bridge
12 Gray Catbird
4 Cedar Waxwing

1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Pine Warbler–only seen by 2
4 American Redstart
3 Northern Waterthrush–including 1 banded bird that looked surprisingly like the very buffy bird we banded 2 days before
9 Common Yellowthroat
1 Wilson’s Warbler
1 Baltimore Oriole

We soon ran into Tina Green and together, all 4 of us birded the sanctuary. The American Kestrels were a very nice surprise as was the juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk and the Pine Warbler I unfortunately, wasn’t able to see.

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk

Our next stop was the Jennings Beach Brush. The brush in the dunes and bordering the parking lot is an excellent fall migrant trap.

5 Canada Geese
1 Cooper’s Hawk
3 Osprey
2 Fish Crow–resident
2 Common Yellowthroat

Although we didn’t come up with much, it’s still early in the season. We again ran into multiple species of raptor, which would prompt our visit to Lighthouse Point. We noted a few berry bushes that were very popular with the Northern Mockingbirds and Gray Catbirds and could definitely entice a half hardy later in the year.

After Jennings, we moved over to the Sherman School Brush and Fields, which is another piece of good migrant habitat. We were able to note 5 more raptors, and on later review I realized we had picked up 5 species in those couple hours.

2 Red-tailed Hawk
3 Osprey
4 Gray Catbirds
2 Common Yellowthroat

Back from a little over at Lighthouse Point, we decided to hit Pine Creek before calling it a day. We noted a slew of migrants on the gravel road that led to road that used to lead up to the landfill (confusing!) and got good looks at some waterbirds on the old railroad bridge. It was a wonderful way to finish the day. South Pine Creek is probably the most varied birding spot (in terms of habitat) in Fairfield and is just terrific in the fall!

2 Black-crowned Night-Heron
1 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron–a nice juvenile
4 Osprey
1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird–nice looks at a female on the leftmost trail if you enter from the soccer fields
1 Least Flycatcher–in a clump of trees next to the old landfill
4 American Robins
11 Gray Catbirds
5 Cedar Waxwings
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Palm Warbler
1 American Redstart
6 Common Yellowthroat

Gray Catbird

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Monarch Butterfly

Overall, a good day of local fall birding with some nice surprises thrown in. There will probably be many more posts to come over the next 3 months like this one. Also, now that school has started, I won’t be able to bird as much and will probably put all my weekly birding into one post.

-Alex

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One Response to 9/11/10 – Fairfield Migrants

  1. Dave says:

    Nice day birding. Great shot of the Yellow-crowned! He (or she) was definitely posing for you.

    Even though we may not have gotten the numbers of species that they did at Bluff Point in the morning, you made a valuable eBird contribution by recording numbers in your local area…A critical contribution to the historical record!

    Marshall Iliff would be very pleased.

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