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APRIL 1999


NEXT MEETING: NOTE DIFFERENT NIGHT Friday April 9, 1999 at the Unitarian Meeting House on Spring Hill Road in Storrs. David Rosgen of the Sharon Audubon Center will give a talk at 7:30 pm. The title was not available at the time this was being written. David is a former student at the University of Connecticut and a former member of NOS. Rebecca Goettel has agreed to bring refreshments at 7.

I have included a brochure that a student at E.O.Smith, created for Jen Stone's Contempory Issues class. We have been working on a Home Depot and the North American temperate rain forests project and this is one of the products that came from it - I thought maybe you might be interested to see it.

FIELD TRIPS: Tuesday April 27 "Sam" Higgins will lead a walk to watch and listen for American Woodcocks doing their mating flight. Meet at 7:00 pm at the headquarters of EASTCONN in Hampton. There are several possible sites in Hampton to see them - EASTCONN being one - but the noise of traffic may be too much to hear there, so we may go elsewhere after meeting.

Directions: Go east on Route 6, 2-3 miles east of the intersection with Route 198 in Chaplin. The EASTCON Center is on the left. It is a large brick building with a lighted parking lot and sign. Call 455-0063 if you would like more information.

OTHER AREA EVENTS: A walk at Trail Wood in Hampton on Saturday May 1, from 10 am to noon to introduce Trail Wood's new self-guided brochure. Students from the 7th and 8th grade language arts program at Windham Middle School have created a self-guided brochure to the trails at Trail Wood. Some of the student authors will be present at this event. The brochure includes quotes from Edwin Way Teale and photographs that the students took. There will be refreshments and this is a free program.

Bafflin Sanctuary in Pomfret: Morning bird walks every Tuesday morning March 23 - May 25. Every morning from Thursday May 13 - Wednesday May 19; all at 8 am. Saturday April 24 and May 9, also at 8 am.

Evening bird walks Tuesday May 18 and May 25 at 5 pm. Join property manager, Andy Rzeznikiewicz

as he leads these trips around the Connecticut Audubon property in Pomfret. All walks meet at the

1895 barn at 220 Day Road in Pomfret. These walks are all free. Call 860/928-4041 for more


New Haven Bird Club: Shoreline from Lighthouse to Lordship on Saturday April 10. Winter loons, gulls, ducks, and early shorebirds. Meet at the Hawkwatch parking lot at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven at 8:30. Call trip leader Dick English 203/865-8610 for details.

West Rock Ridge on Saturday may 1. Early warblers, woodpeckers, and some great woodland birds, Meet at West Rock Nature Center on Wintergreen Avenue at 7:30 am. Call trip leader Pat Leahy at 203/393-2427 for details



Hello everyone -

I've asked Sam to put the announcement and registration form for the Birdathon in this newsletter. Please note that while participation in the Birdathon aspect of this year's May Count is encouraged, it isn't necessary. Anybody who just wants to go out birding that day and come to the meeting that night to report is more than welcome, The only difference will be that non-participants aren't eligible for the awards. I do, however, encourage everyone to participate in the Birdathon. It's for a good cause, and it will create a healthy spirit of competition-let's get out there and try to see a whole bunch of birds! (I have an entire package of materials for that I can give or send out to everyone interested-just please fill in the registration form so I can get a sense of who will be coming out. )

Bob Pirrie




Attracting a Mate

The woodcock is a rather dumpy, cryptically colored shorebird that is all but invisible against the forest floor, where it hunts for worms. But in the springtime the males gather on traditional leks (courting grounds), where females will come to find a mate.

As the sun sets in March, April, and May, the male woodcock begins to sing: he rears upright, long beak pointed down, and gives a nasal peent! The call sounds more like a frog than a bird and is repeated every couple of seconds for several minutes. Then the male launches himself into the air, where he is just visible against the twilight sky. He spirals upward over the lek with a high-pitched twittering noise caused by specially modified primary feathers on his wings, which whistle as they are flapped. At the peak of his spiral, a hundred or more feet above the ground, he suddenly stops flapping and tumbles, headlong, to earth. The wing feathers are now silent, and the woodcock gives a vocal gurgle that sounds like water running from a bottle, Scant yards above the ground he opens his wings and stops his plummet, landing gently near his original position to resume "peenting."

The Birder's Miscellany

Scott Weidensaul