Having birded Lake Mohegan on the same day the year before, I thought it might be a good idea to head back Sunday, not only for the awesome birding that was likely in store, but also to get an idea of the pace of arrivals in comparison to last year.
Starting early, I gradually made my way around the lake, first hitting the area around the old structure to the east of the parking lot, which is always really productive. From there I made my way to the meadows, then up to the ridges and down through the powerline cut, before finally heading through the North Pond/Cascades area, taking the trail on the west side of the lake back to the parking lot.
Lake Mohegan was again hopping on this morning, and I was able to put together a nice total of forty-six species by the time it was all said and done, including no less than 13 FOYs.
Like last year, I noted that many of the breeders had already arrived at the Lake, while a few were still missing (namely Baltimore Oriole and Scarlet Tanager). Many of the newly arrived breeders were vigorously singing throughout the visit, and included Eastern Kingbird, Red-eyed Vireo, House Wren, Wood Thrush, Gray Catbird, Eastern Towhee, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Orchard Oriole.
As with my visit the year before, a number of early Wood Warblers took the prize as the overall highlight of the visit. I beat last year’s total of 6 warblers by one, noting seven. They were: Worm-eating, Blue-winged, Black-and-white, Blackburnian, Yellow and Yellow-rumped Warblers and American Redstart.
The Blackburnian was definitely the standout bird of the entire morning. Noted accidentally while watching a Blue-winged Warbler near the “old structure,” I spent a long time enjoying this absolutely stunning bird, as it fed and occasionally sang in the mostly bare trees.
Other highlights at Lake Mohegan included Pileated Woodpecker, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and what were likely my first-ever Fish Crows for the location.
Birding-wise, this spot is one of the jewels of Northern Fairfield’s Open Spaces, and is always dependable for producing large numbers of quality birds during the breeding season. It has been the first daytime spot visited during the Fairfield Big Days of 2011 and 2012. I wouldn’t be surprised if it again held that position this year.