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Fall hawk walk at Trout Brook Valley

Posted on Sep 21, 2014

On Saturday morning, September 20, I joined the Aspetuck Land Trust on a fall hawk walk with over 40 of their members and volunteers at the gorgeous Trout Brook Valley Preserve in Easton and Weston, Connecticut. This major 1,000+ acre conservation area permits passive recreation in the form of hiking, birding, biking, on-leash dog walking, photography and so forth. It is part of one of the largest contiguous areas of forest left in Fairfield County and is home to rare and important amphibians, plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, pollinators and more.

Twan and I spent over a year creating a Conservation & Management Plan for the site during our time at Connecticut Audubon Society. We have remained good friends with the Aspetuck Land Trust’s staff and board (who do a tremendous job in all regards!), participating in events like this whenever we can. The focus was on hawks during this busy migratory period and after an introduction then a few words on the property from me we started our day. The only problem was that the gorgeous conditions did not help with a wind out of the south making raptors a bit more scarce than usual and keeping them from being netted by licensed and expert bander Larry Fischer. Nevertheless with a few fantastic ALT volunteers and board members on hand and Larry’s expertise to guide the visitors in watching many other birds on the wing we had a lovely morning.

Here are a bunch of photos I snapped during our hike.

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Trout Brook Valley

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Gorgeous weather again!

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The hill we will climb filled with birds

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Trails through the blueberry orchard lined with nest boxes

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ALT’s Jacquie Littlejohn (right) addressing the growing crowd

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Folks lining up for Larry

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Avian expert Larry Fischer pointing out a bird

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Larry discussing raptor banding

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The hike begins

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Spotting American Kestrels chasing a Merlin

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Walking through the orchard

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Such a beautiful space

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Larry discussing all sorts of bird and conservation issues

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Gray skies moved in from the strong southerly flow

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But the sun remained vigilant

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There is always something to look at!

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Think of how many species use this pollinator habitat in the heart of the summer

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Larry’s knowledge and vast experience is unbelievable

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It’s always a pleasure to have such an engaging group

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Look how far you can see this from “mountain” in Fairfield County!

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Bringing kids out to events like this = the best

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Thank you for another fantastic morning, Trout Brook Valley

I had a wonderful time answering many extremely thoughtful questions about everything from Ospreys to Hellbenders, RTPI projects and Connecticut sites, climate change and weather plus a lot about our birds. I was most gratified to see the extensive age range present including several children. This time of year may be the best to get everyone excited about being outdoors and learning about their natural neighbors. You cannot beat this combination of weather, scenery and wildlife.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator