Milan Bull of the Connecticut Audubon Society led a lively spring birding walk for the Ash Creek Conservation Association on Tuesday the 12th of May. Miley led the group of about 15 on a leisurely stroll along the sand spit at the beginning of St. Mary’s by the Sea and then back up along ash Creek. Despite an early threat of rain the evening proved to be just wonderful. We started with an introduction to the local gulls and how you can tell how old they are as their plumage changes from mottled brown to grey and white. Miley then discussed the value of salt marshes in general, and ash creek in particular, and how they provide habitat for local birds. We also discussed the dune grass restoration project and its importance for birds specifically and as an ecologically significant improvement for the outlet to ash creek. As we continued we observed egrets, more gulls, and our Osprey parents who have returned once again. A number of Canada geese where also present in the great island marsh area. They appear to be nursing eggs, which should hatch very soon. We did see one great blue heron although Miley says that most of them are up on their nests further inland. As we heeded up along ash creek we spotted a Cooper’s hawk flying quickly overhead. Along the road we spotted Cardinals, House Finches, various other sparrows, red-wing blackbirds, a mockingbird, and grackles. Far out on the water was a large number of Brants (very common this year), and a few Mallards. A good and informative time was had by all and we ended the evening at sunset walking along St. Mary’s by the sea. Kraig Steffen Vice President, Ash Creek Conservation Association
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