Drake Northern Pintail from werc.usgs.gov
Continuing the theme of my recent blog postings about waterfowl surveying at Bantam Lake, this one gives the highlights of our public field trip along N. Shore Rd. this past Saturday, 3/12. The focus was on waterfowl at Bantam Lake and along the Bantam River from the Outlet downstream to the Oxbows. Fortunately for us, N. Shore Rd. affords ample views of these places. Otherwise, we would have had great difficulty accessing Pt. Folly and the Litchfield Town Beach due to serious flooding of those spots. On a positive note, this flooding brought many of the ducks and geese up close to the road as they foraged in the flooded bottomland. Whenever woodlands and shrublands become flooded, waterfowl are quick to exploit the new-found feeding opportunities. Our group of 30 people, including 15 Boy Scouts, were treated to excellent views of a Cackling Goose, 350 Canada Geese, 10 Northern Pintails, 2 Green-winged Teal, 27 American Black Ducks, 70 Mallards, a hybrid American Black Duck x Mallard, 45 Ring-necked Ducks, 2 Buffleheads, 4 Common Goldeneye, 40 Common Mergansers, and 5 Hooded Mergansers. Though 8 Wood Ducks were present, only 6 members of our group got to see them because these birds hid so well among the shrubs. Waterfowl weren't the only birds spotted on this trip. Everyone got to see a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker as it foraged among the trees by the Butternut Brook bridge, a male Eastern Bluebird as it sang from the tops of the trees at the Bantam R. Oxbows, a Red-bellied Woodpecker at Gail Scoville's feeders, and numerous Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, and other common birds. In all, we saw 38 species of birds in 2.5 hours along 1.25 miles of road. We also saw a Muskrat, 2 Red Squirrels, and lots of Gray Squirrels. That's pretty good!