Waterbird Migration Picks Up

Horned Grebe photo by Nancy Johnston
from www.nejohnston.org
Common Gallinule photo by Darlene Knox
Northern Shoveler photo by Paul Fusco
Ruddy Duck photo from www.en.wikipedia.org
Surf Scoter photo by Paul Fusco
Black Scoters photo by Paul Fusco
Migration activity by waterbirds has really picked up in northwest Connecticut since 10/15. Since Bantam Lake and Little Pond are two of the best places in this part of the state to see waterbirds I and many other birders have been checking them almost daily this month. During this time we have been seeing a steady stream of Mallards, American Black Ducks, Wood Ducks, and Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal moving through. This past Tuesday, 10/18, they were joined by a pair of Northern Shovelers at Little Pond. Because the male is exhibiting a very distinctive transitional molt plumage we are sure that the pair of shovelers that we saw at Bantam Lake's Pt. Folly on the 21st and 23rd and back at Little Pond on the 20th and 22nd were the same birds. During this same time span the number of American Coots visiting Little Pond increased to 62. On 10/19 and 20 Mike Doyle saw a Common Gallinule mixed in with them. Mike, and later, Ray Belding also saw 5 White-winged Scoters at this pond on the 20th. This has been a good period of time to find scoters (as it usually is) because Mike saw White-winged, Black, and Surf Scoters on Bantam Lake on the 20th. Two days later, Samantha Foster and I saw a Black and a Surf Scoter on the Lake's N. Bay, along with a Horned Grebe feeding close to Litchfield Town Beach. That day also produced 2 American Wigeons for us at Pt. Folly. The wigeons were still there the next day when John and Tracy Eykelhoff joined me to look for ducks. We also saw a Surf and a White-winged Scoter swimming together in the Lake's central section. Every day during this period has produced between one and four Ruddy Ducks on Little Pond, and a couple of reports of up to 11 of them on Bantam Lake. Other species of water-oriented birds seen on these bodies of water during the past week have included an American Bittern at Little Pond, Common Mergansers, Pied-billed Grebes, quite a few Great Blue Herons and Double-crested Cormorants, an Osprey at Bantam Lake's S. Bay, Belted Kingfishers, and lots of Canada Geese and Ring-billed Gulls. The next 6 weeks should bring even more waterbirds moving through here.

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