Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Norwalk Island Peregrine Falcons

I don't understand the vagrancy of Peregrine Falcons from the Norwalk Islands this past year, and to this day I am not sure what has happened or is happening.
In past winters plus the other seasons, Peregrine Falcons have been a staple around the Norwalk Islands, this past year, from late spring on they have been missing.
Peregrine's are certainly nesting in the area, yet it seems they are no longer interested in the islands.
I have noted that there is a lack of shorebirds in the island chain this winter, yet shorebirds shouldn't be the only food species for these falcons in this area. Do the two go hand and hand?
Since there is no other lack of potential Peregrine prey around the islands, where and why have they just disappeared?

It was just over a year ago that I posted a similar photo of a Peregrine loafing on Cockenoe Island, this is not last years photo, but Saturday's 2/4/12 on Cockenoe!

Again , like last year, there wasn't one but two. This is the second bird....

....that flew over to the first bird and displaced it from it's Styrofoam perch.
Distant in the backround is Green's Ledge Lighthouse, almost four miles away to the west.

The first bird moving off.

The second bird perched on a nearby driftwood log.
With the bird being between me and the sun and casting shadows,
I moved the boat to the other side of the sandbar for hopefully a few better photo's.

Same bird, same perch, much better light.

A closer look.
After a long while this bird decided to move on, it then revealed three bands.

A cropped close up shows the three bands, left leg has two, upper black, lower greenish.
Black number appears to be 192  (?)
Green Number 2?28  (?) 
Right leg is the standard silver band, no numbers seen.

Another flight photo.
It's nice to see this species out on the islands again.
Hopefully I will hear some data from these bands that I have reported.
If and when that happens, I will report on it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gull Kettles

Last month,while fishing for Atlantic Herring off my boat club dock, I watched hundreds of gulls passing south out of  Norwalk Harbor as the sun began to set.
Where are they going? I thought to myself.
A week later, I am back on the docks, replenishing my herring food stock, again the same thing, one by one, then in groups of two, three and four or more, the gulls pass me, heading south out the harbor while the sun is setting on the horizon, again where are they going? 
Atlantic Herring, the whole fish on the left will be smoked, the fillet's to the right will be pickled.

Back to the gulls, marina docks and shorelines are often a daytime loafing place for gulls during the winter, as pictured here at the marina which my boat is docked.
Before or near sunset, these birds take flight and disappear to the south.
For a few days, I  have been following these gulls, as they fly out the harbor before sunset.

These daytime roosting gulls will not stay here long after the sun has set.

Nor these gulls at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk

Leaving the shoreline gulls, I briefly checked out these Great Black-backed Gulls on Long Beach, Norwalk.
These birds arrived within the last week or so and appear to be setting up shop for the upcoming nesting season.
There were thirty Black-backs on this tiny sand spit.

Following the Herring gulls over to Goose Island, I accidentally flushed these Black Duck.
At Goose Is. many gulls were moving here for their evening roost.
A few Black-backs thinking about future nesting areas on Goose Island?
There were eighty plus Great Black-backs here.
Their numbers have grown in the past week.
This small island is a local hot spot for their nesting activities.
To the west, the sun is setting behind the Norwalk Power Plant.
Manressa Island to many, Keyser Island if you've been around Norwalk for a very long time.

Magically, hundreds of  Ring-bills in these beautiful kettles start moving off the Norwalk shoreline, floating eastward towards Cockenoe Island
One incredible sight! A Ring-bill Kettle at Sunset!
It is mayhem as this flock needs room to settle at Cockenoe Island.
Coming to Roost.
Safety is in numbers, and for these birds finding a secure place all to themselves for the evening.
The Norwalk Islands provide this needed winter habitat.
Sorry, but with a long lens I cannot capture the thousand or so gulls that have moved out her for the evening.
These are mostly Ring-bills, the Herring Gulls seem to prefer Goose Island, but there are still many of them here,along with a handful of Great Black-backs.
I also have to imagine there may be other gull species out here, but in shortness of daylight, I haven't been able to check that out.
Calf Pasture Beach in the background, Calf Island in the foreground.