Wishing everyone Happy New Year 2014!
Mardi & Townsend Dickinson
Auld Lang Syne by Mairi Cambell and Dave Francis
Auld Lang Syne by Mairi Cambell and Dave Francis
Audubon Connecticut’s Urban Oases partners gathered at West River Memorial Park in New Haven Connecticut, to celebrate the honor of seeing the Urban Oases project in the New Haven Harbor Watershed, designated as an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service., and to be recognized as a national model for community-based conservation on Wednesday, October 30, 2013.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Director, Dan Ashe, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 5 Director, Wendi Weber; came to town for this ceremony, designating Audubon Connecticut’s Urban Oases Program in New Haven as one of only eight Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships in the country!
Per Dan Ashe, Director, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Services “National wildlife refuges are the best of America’s wild places, but many are not near major metropolitan areas. Most Americans have grown up without a real connection to the outdoors and wildlife, and the Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative gives us a chance to change that. We believe these unique urban partnerships can inspire the imagination and create a connected conservation constituency of people who are aware, understand and support fish and wildlife conservation.”
Stewart J. Hudson, Vice President & Executive Director, Audubon Connecticut said “Audubon believes that where birds thrive, so do people. Through land stewardship, habitat creation, citizen science, youth employment, green jobs training, innovative education programs and natural history interpretation, the partners in our New Haven Urban Oases program are working to create a network of wildlife-and people_ friendly natural refuges in parks, school yards, and front yards throughout the City.”
The Service’s Urban Refuge Initiative was launched to increase awareness, understanding, and support of the USFWS, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and natural resource conservation. In keeping with those goals, Audubon Connecticut’s New Haven Urban Oases program is a collaborative effort to create a matrix of high quality habitats for birds and wildlife, engage children and youth in hands on conservation while providing new educational opportunities, and enhancing public and private spaces throughout the City.
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe elaborates, “We must reach out into our cites to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to develop a true connection with wild things and wild places. Our Urban Wildlife Refugee Partnership will help us engage communities where we haven’t had much of a presence.”
Common Ground High School students listen in to fellow student, Michael Bruno.
In May 2013 the New Haven Harbor Watershed partnership competed nationally for recognition under the Fish and Wildlife Services’ Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative. The designation is a formal recognition of excellence. It took a virtual army of volunteers from at least seven regional and national organizations. Their work is ongoing and the funding secured so far enables the partnership to continue with plans to expand their efforts.
New Haven Harbor Watershed Program partners include: Audubon Connecticut, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (with Director Dan Ashe and Region 5 Director Wendi Weber), EPA Long Island Sound Study, City of New Haven Public Schools and Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees, New Haven Park Friends Groups, Common Ground High School and Environmental Education Center, New Haven Urban Resources Initiative, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and community partners.
Students from Common Ground High School and Hill House High School help plant trees and maintain gardens at schools, park, vacant lots and public and private front yards.
National recognition of a promising partnership brings smiles to the faces of some of the key partners and all who attended this celebration could sense the pride of achievement for all those who worked so hard to make this happen.
Stewart J. Hudson, Vice President & Executive Director, Audubon Connecticut congratulates local New Haven students who each read a short piece of creative writing on what the Urban Oases means to them. It is evident that Mr. Hudson and Audubon Connecticut are deeply committed to the partnership and the promise of the future. Audubon Connecticut has brought lofty conservation ideas and is implementing them on the local level in a big way. If the considerable efforts expended so far are any indication, the New Haven Harbor Watershed, Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be in the national eye for years to come. We all have something to gain from efforts like these.
If your intertested in Part 1 Click here. Urban Wildlife Oases in New Haven CT.
Hadlyme Country Market is a great stop to make before you head down to see the Fork-tailed Flycatcher at the Healyme Ferry landing parking lot. They have made to order sandwiches, homemade soups and stews along with a variety of salads including many other wonderful eats. Of course this is a great place to stop at anytime and even on your way back home.
We had the pleasure of meeting one of the Co-owner, Lisa Bakiledis, who came down with her daughter to see what all the interest was about. This was a great opportunity to invite them to look through my scope and binoculars and to educate them with glee, on how and why this wonderful fork-tailed flycatcher was visiting their part of Connecticut. At the end of the day on our way out we stopped by the market as we were starving from a great day of seeing the Fork-tailed Flycatcher. We had the homemade Chicken stew that was wonderful and hot! A great end to a wonderful day. Map location.
1 Ferry Road (Route 148)
Hadlyme, CT 06439
Jeff Feldmann discovers this beautiful rare Fork-tailed Flycatcher in a parking lot near the Hadlyme Ferry in Connecticut. Jeff is an expert kayaker and photographer and often take photographs of birds from his kayak.
In Jeff Feldmann’s own words, here is how the story unfolds.
“First sighting of this bird, happened about noon, on November 30, 2013. I had just returned from kayaking in Whale Bone Creek. I was loading the kayak on the car and spotted a bird, that I first thought was an Eastern Kingbird. I was on the Hadlyme side of the Chester/Hadlyme ferry, in a parking lot, just below Gillette’s Castle. As I got ready to get on the ferry, I noticed two of people looking in the same direction. I stopped to ask about the Kingbird and they thought it could be something different. This time I used my binoculars and saw the long tail. Still not knowing what it was, I decided to photograph it. I only had a 24-70 lens on my camera, so getting a close shot, meant getting close to the bird. So I walked around and over the icy kettle marsh (nearly falling in) and managed to get 4 photos. The time on the photos is: 12:11pm….. It wasn’t until several hours later, that I decided to take the photos from the card, that I discovered that I needed to get in touch with Mona Cavallero ( my “go to” birder /friend from the Hartford Audubon Society club) to see what I had photographed. Mona identified the bird as a Fork Tailed Flycatcher from the photos and informed me ASAP and also confirmed the ID with Paul Desjardins also from the Hartford Audubon. The information about the bird was then immediately posted to CT Birds.”
The Fork-tailed Flycatcher is certainly not an expected bird is Southern New England in the late fall. Normally this bird never enters the United States. However the southern most populations of this South and Central American flycatcher, with 4 subspecies types, are migratory and although highly unusual, most sightings of this bird are in the North East in late fall, around the time one would expect the migratory population to migrate south for the southern summer. It has been postulated that if one could examine the brain of these birds, we might find the internal migratory compass 180 degrees off, so instead of flying 2000 miles south it flew 2000 miles north. It is the same distance, just the wrong direction.
It was interesting to watch the bird. It flew up to Pokeberry and picked off fruits while hovering. At times while roosting, we watched the FTF cough up, one after another; small, hard, round objects that were likely Pokeberry seeds left after the flesh was digested. The sun was not out when we arrived, it spent much time at roost looking about for insects, but it only rarely sallied forth after flying insects. It spent more of this time making trips to the pokeberries than fly catching. At times it would dart some distance away and occasionally it would disappear entirely. Other times it would fly over birders heads and land on a low post 10 feet away. Later in the after noon as it warmed up to almost 40F, it spent more time higher up in the canopy actively fly catching. In the late afternoon as it was sallying in a relatively small area in the high limbs of an oak, where I observed a small swarm of small insects among the high branches, and this clearly seemed to be the prey item for these efforts.
I have no opinion as to which subspecies of the Fork-tailed Flycatcher this is. It seems likely that it could be a migratory population. It’s fly catching skills and fruit eating ability undoubtedly will keep it alive for a while, but it is unlikely that it will remain in the area alive through the winter as it is unlikely there will be any insects or fruit left to forage upon.
Authors Note: A personnal thanks goes to Jeff Feldmann for discovering this beautiful Fork-tailed Flycatcher this year in Connecticut., And to Mona Cavallero for her incredable quick response in verifying the FTFLY. Then getting the Rare Bird Alert out to the entire CT birding community and beyond, through the CT birding list. THANK YOU for sharing this wonderful sighting with us all!
Directions: To the Fork-tail Flycatcher Click on link.
Bird Food For People™ ~ Hadlyme Country Market Click on link.
CT I-95 East
1) Turn Left onto Route 156 and stay on this that also turns into Neck Road, then Hamberg Road to end.
2) Turn Left onto Route 82 that also turns into Norwich Salem Road, then Ferry Road to end.
3) Turn left at Ferry Road / Route 431 / Geer Hill Road to Hadlyme Ferry Boat Launch. 154 Ferry Road.