Eric Reuter from http://www.ducks.org/
Great Blue Heron photo by Bob Stanowski
Killdeer photo from http://www.stlucieaudubon.org/
The past few days have produced several first spring arrivals of migrant birds around White Memorial. On Tuesday, 3/15/11, Ray Belding found a Snow Goose mixed in with a flock of Canada Geese at Bantam Lake's Pt. Folly. This flock also contained 2 Cackling Geese. Ray also saw 8 Northern Pintails at this spot. A little while later, Jim Kandefer saw a Great Blue Heron at the Bantam River Oxbows along N. Shore Rd. while on his way to Pt. Folly. A short time after that, either that Great Blue, or another one, was seen flying over the Mill Field by John Grabowski. Only an hour later, Jeff Greenwood reported a Killdeer flying over Barney Hill. Around 5 p.m., John Eykelhoff, George Stephens, and I went to Pt. Folly to look for the Snow Goose. We didn't see any geese, which must have been out feeding in a cornfield somewhere, but we did see 5 American Wigeons, which hadn't been reported earlier in the day. John and I got cold and left after half an hour, but intrepid George returned to Pt. Folly around sunset, and did see the Snow Goose come in with 1,000 Canada Geese. The next day, John Eykelhoff visited Pt. Folly in the hopes of finding the Snow Goose. It, and all of the Canadas, were out feeding elsewhere again, but he spotted a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers in with 10 Common Mergansers. This species (the Red-breasted Merganser) is very uncommon at inland bodies of water in Connecticut, even though it is very common on Long Island Sound and the Great Lakes during the fall, winter, and spring. In the past few years it has been appearing with increasing frequency at Bantam Lake during the spring and late fall migration periods. I'm headed for Bantam Lake and other water bodies around White Memorial soon, and will report report my observations in an upcoming blog post.