Make your own free website on

The Eastern Screech

Volume 1, Issue 5 Nautchaug Ornithological Society's Newsletter January 2001





By Doug Hume


At the January meeting on January 5th, Douglas Hume will be discussing the results of the survey that Sarah and he completed in the spring about rare bird alerts and the birders who use them. Doug will discuss the results, including demographic

information and birder behavior. Find out something about yourself and others with whom you are birding . There is on old question of why do birds do that. Letís flip it around and ask, "Why do birders do that". Come listen to what we learned with the study that you helped to start by being the test run for the survey.

Call for refreshments at meeting.

No one signed up to bring refreshments to the January meeting. If you wish to rectify this situation, please contact me by e-mail since I will be out of the area and not be able to check my messages at home.




The Storrs/Mansfield area bird count was conducted on the 16th December. The results will be in the February newsletter. If you involved in it, please get your results to Steve Rogers 75Charles Lane, Storrs, CT 06268 by December 25th with accompanying write-ups if you saw anything rare. I hope we all had a great time before the storm hit out there. We were lucky it held off for us. (It always helps to bribe the right people)

If you wish to participate in another CBC, there are several others going on in the state of Connecticut. Please contact the people in list below if you would like to be involved with them. The below information was found on the CT RBA.

Saturday, December 23, 2000

Stratford-Milford, - Steve Mayo (203-393-0694)

Saturday December 30, 2000

New London - Robert Dewire (860-599-3085)

Sunday, December 31, 2000

Edwin Way Teale, Trail Wood - Marilynn Higgins (860-455-0063)

Old Lyme-Saybrook - Patty Pendergast

Monday, January 1, 2001

Pawling (Hidden Valley) - Sibyll Gilbert (914-855-3266) and Angela Dimmitt (860-355-3429)


In January, we will be having a field trip out to Race Point, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, further information is not available at the time of printing so please contact Sam Higgins at 860/455-0063


Keep this in the back of your mind

By Sarah Hume


Remember that at the May meeting we will be examining the seals (paintings, drawings, etc...) brought in by the members of NOS for adoption We will use this seal for official mailings and we could even have tee shirts or pins made to promote NOS. So get cracking on a seal that you think would hit the mark!

E-mailed Newsletters

If you wish to receive this newsletter via e-mail, please let me know by sending me a note at Snavanax@aolcom. Please let me know to which address you want it sent. The pictures can then be in color and you will receive it a bit faster and we might even be able to use less paper this way. So if this interests you, I look forward to hearing from you.


So many birds so little time.

By Sarah Hume

On the 2nd Steve Morytko reported a late EASTERN PHOEBE at the water treatment plant on Plains Rd. in Mansfield. On the third there were approximately 100 HORNED LARKS were on Horse Barn Hill with an immature Snow Goose contining to be seen in the cut cornfield along Bassett's Bridge Road. Also on the 3rd, Chris Elphick, had a late BLUE-HEADED VIREO in the pines at the north end of the picnic area at Mansfield Hollow State Park. Also the Greenlandish GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE remained for quite a while around Mirror Lake and Horse Barn Hill. Jane Seeber reported a 100 WILD TURKEYS on Pleasant Valley Road

Elsewhere in CT, a blue morph SNOW GOOSE was found at Snipsic Lake in Tolland on the 4th, along with four COMMON MERGANSERS, three HOODED MERGANSERS A leucistic CANADA GOOSE was seen on November 30th in a corn field off of Route 44 in Pomfret. Also an EURASIAN WIGEON was seen on Holly Pond in Darien (Stamford) on the 2nd. Another EURASIAN WIGEON was found on Mondo Lake on West Avenue in Milford on the 5th. A CANVASBACK was see on the 2nd on Bantam Lake in Litchfield. On the 14th, there were 1 TUNDRA SWAN,and 4 CANVASBACKS. There were 35 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS found off of South Pine Creek Beach in Fairfield on December 5th. Another SCOTER was present on the Nepaug Reservoir in New Hartford on the 1st, along with a RING-NECKED DUCK. The RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, seen at CIGNA in Bloomfield, continued through at least the 14th. Notably, a GREAT CORMORANT was present here on the nearby pond until at least the 13th A COMMON RAVEN was seen near the Colebrook Dam on the 2nd. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was found at the West Beach parking lot at Hammonasset Beach State Park on the 5th. Two YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, were found at the Bent of the River Sanctuary in South Britain on the 4th. At Long Beach in Stratford on the 8th there was a female BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE seen. At Guilford Sluice and the end of Neck Road (in Madison) there was1 light phase ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. The RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, seen at CIGNA in Bloomfield, continued through at least the 14th..

In Massachusetts, there was a GYRFALCON at Plum Island at Old Pines and Cross Farm Hill during the first of the month until at least the 11th. A YELLOW RAIL and 2 late PRAIRIE WARBLERS were located at Nantucket on the week of the 1st. On the 11th, a COMMON MURRE was also found. On the 4th, in New Braintree, 100 COMMON REDPOLLS. South Beach has had a SNOW OWL during the middle of the month. Over the weekend of the 10th, 4 SNOWY OWLS and 1 SHORT-EARED OWL were at Logan Airport, and 1 COMMON RAVEN in Pepperell and another in Peabody. At Race Point on Dec. 5th there were 1 POMARINE JAEGER, 5 PARASITIC JAEGERS, 5 GREATER SHEARWATERS, 1 ATLANTIC PUFFIN, and one possible SOUTH POLAR SKUA. On December 13th, the RBA reported that on the 6th there was a possible SMEW at the south end of Quabbin Reservoir. An interesting note on the 4th in the RBA caught my eye. I wondered why a ROCK DOVE was being listed. "In downtown Northampton a PEREGRINE FALCON has been roosting for the night on the steeple of the First Church. This bird's presence may well be related to recent newspaper reports of mysterious attacks on the town's ROCK DOVE population".

In Rhode Island, on the 9th, at Green Hill Beach, a male KING EIDER was found. In the same group of birds there were 6 BLACK SCOTERS. On the 7th in the Matunuck area, 2 DICKCISSELS were found with 1 YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and 1 RUSTY BLACKBIRD. On the 4th, a SHORT-EARED OWL was seen around sunset hunting the fields around Moonstone. On Long Island on the 14th , it was reported that the The COMMON GULL, the Eurasian subspecies of MEW GULL was at Shinnecock Inlet. It is supposed that this is the same gull that wintered there in two previous consecutive winters.

As of the 11th, two NORTHERN HAWK-OWLS have been confirmed in the Whitefield and Jeffferson area of New Hampshire. For details on these birds call the New Hampshire Rare Bird Alert at (603)224-9900. Also in NH in the North County there was a BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER in the Lake Umbagog area on the 2nd and 3rd. In Vermont on the 13th, birds at Victory Bog in the Northeast Kingdom on the 8th included several GRAY JAYS. The Buffalo, NY RBA reported that on December 5, there was a "second-hand" report of a very rare WESTERN GREBE on Lake Ontario in the Jordan Harbor area of the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario. The bird was seen from the Best Western Hotel parking lot, near the Victoria Avenue exit from the QEW. Also on the Niagara Peninsula, a HARRIS'S SPARROW was reported to be near the Saint Catharine's and Niagara-on-the-Lake borderline.

As of the the 7, the North Carolina RBA reported that "the GREEN-BREASTED MANGO present in Concord, for over 2 weeks failed to appear at the feeders on Dec. 7 first day that this reliable bird has not appeared since 11-19. For details on the bird, call Lori Turner at 704-786-9474. Her answering machine evidently fills up during the day so keep trying if initially unsuccessful in reaching her.

Interesting thought with Christmas Counts and RBAs.

Cold or Competition

By Sarah Hume

For those of you who check RBAís, have you noticed that the around the holiday time, ostensibly the most charitable or giving time of the year, the bird lines become a little more silent. The rare birds just are not around any more. People start talking a little bit more quietly about the birds and where they can be found. Then after the beginning of the year, there is a flood of information regarding interesting birds that have all of a sudden appeared and found on Christmas Count. People have such amazing luck, finding birds on Christmas Counts. One could almost think the birds have been hiding from us so as too surprise us with a gift of themselves on the count day. Or instead of the birds being secretive is it us? With lots of people being competitive with CBCs and how long their lists are of number of species found or how rare were the birds on their lists, the information regarding where birds are is territorially guarded and hoarded. I have seen this competition turn otherwise open and effusive people into veritable Grinches of information. It is rather ironic in the "time of giving" some birders can become so taciturn and Scroogeish.


A look ahead

By Sarah Hume

For those of you not on our list serve, Steve Morytko brought up a pertinent point when he asked and suggested that we contact "the Willimantic Chronicle to

inform the public of our [Christmas Count]". I agree with him that it could be useful "to: encourage Chronicle readers to fill their feeders this week; and not to be alarmed on Saturday by birders training binoculars on their property." This would help us on the count as well as give us a little coverage and possibly attract more people to get involved not only with our count but with the group as well. I think this is something that we should definitely think about for next year.