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Shorebirds are arriving

Posted on Mar 27, 2014

Shorebirds are finally beginning to arrive in Connecticut after a continually cold winter and now early spring have meant the Atlantic Coast has been slow in seeing their usual March residents. Piping Plovers showed up across the state in the last week. American Oystercatchers have been around for about a month but in very low numbers. They are now finally becoming common on beaches, salt marshes and coastal waterways. This pair was photographed by RTPI Affiliate Sean Graesser at Milford Point today.

American Oystercatchers Milford Point March 2014
All of this activity is very important to us at RTPI as we are partners in the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds. I have been working for a few weeks already as the Volunteer Coordinator – assisting in training our monitors in Connecticut, assigning them to beaches and scheduled time slots, helping new volunteers understand our work in this tremendously important task, working with federal, state and local officials to prepare for breeding season and conducting outreach and education in many forms. Today at Milford Point the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection erected string fencing and signage in known breeding areas for our waterbirds.

String fencing and signage Milford Point March 2014

Five or more Piping Plovers were spotted at the site today as well. Least Terns will not return until early May but they could also nest here at Milford Point, potentially in terrific numbers. Last year we had a peak of several hundred pairs on the sand spit here at the mouth of the Housatonic River! Here’s hoping we have a tremendously successful year of breeding for all of our birds.

It was another week of cold and snow for many people in the northeast but…yes, I mean this…spring is coming!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Photos © Sean Graesser