Monday, 11 June 2012

Milford Point CT Audubon Centre

We went to Milford Point at the suggestion of our friend Julian Hough as it was the best place for us to see Purple Martin. This bird has seriously declined over the years and is now best looked for where nesting boxes are provided for them.
Male Purple Martin
I call them nest boxes but in reality they are more like nest mansions in some cases and a peculiar collection of gourds in others.

Old fashioned style Purple Martin mansion
with a number of House Sparrow 'squatters'.

Pair using the more modern looking gourds to nest
Milford also offers the opportunity to see shorebirds, and not just any shorebirds, there is a small colony of nesting Piping Plovers there. There is an area of pebble beach which is fenced off for them, but typicaly we only saw them outside this protected area.

Piping Plover blending in to its surroundings.
If they didn't move you wouldn't see them.
Piping Plover
The center has views over extensive saltmarsh, but at low tide the birds that inhabit them are scattered far and wide.
Milford Point marshes
It is only when the tide pushes them off the mud that closer inspection of them can be obtained.
Elis photographing passing waders
There is a long spit on which the Piping Plovers nest, which attracts the waders as they are displaced from the marsh. Sitting on the shingle bank one is treated to small waves of passing waders, some stopping to feed along the shingle shore.
Passing waders about to land for closer inspection

Inspection under way
Among these birds were the ever present and very common Least Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper, with them we saw both a single Sanderling and White-rumped Sandpiper and small group of the very smart Nearctic subspecies of Dunlin; hudsonia. We also saw a few American Oystercatchers and it was also the first place we saw Semipalmated Plovers.

Least Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Sanderling

White-rumped Sandpiper

Four hudsonia Dunlin and a Semipalmated Sandpiper

American Oystercatcher

As we left the spit the sun was setting, but on the pool behind the spit a Great Northern Diver in full summer plumage was a great sight, although it was rather far off.
Elis photographing the Great Northern Diver in the gloaming.

The result.

Sunset at Milford Point

In the car park seed was strewn on the floor and the Mourning Doves were making the most of it and a curious Northern Mockingbird made an inspection of our furry microphone wind-buffer which I put down (and nearly forgot) on a driftwood stump.

Mourning Dove
Northern Mockingbird
Is it a bird? is it a plane? Well... yes... it is a plane, obviously, but by some coincidence it flew over where we were birding at Milford piloted by my nephew William who is just fifteen years of age... scary stuff. My son Martin who is twenty two is also learning to fly and more than once has offered to take me for a joy ride... joy ride! Is he kidding?
Duck! Here come's Will!

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