8/5 – 8/6: Better Luck, plus a trip to Block Island

On Friday, 8/5, I set off for a little birthday birding.  It was actually really convenient, because we were catching a ferry from  New London to Block Island the next morning, and we were staying with my Grandparents in Niantic that night.  So on our way up I stopped for 2 birds that had eluded me for a long while- Stilt Sandpiper and King Eider.  I could tell my luck had picked up since the Gray-hooded Gull the minute we arrived at the Access Pool in Stratford.  We got out of the car, set up the scope, and right smack in the middle of all the Semipalms and Yellowlegs were 2 Stilt Sandpipers foraging in the middle of the pool.  The birds were adults and still mostly in breeding plumage, though they were very worn, not in the crisp fresh plumage 2 younger birds would be in.  That was easy!

Stilt Sandpiper

We continued on north to our next stop- Hammonasset.  Upon arrival we set off along the Moraine Trail, but only after a scan of the marsh beside the Meigs Point parking lot, where a Little Blue Heron was foraging.

Little Blue Heron

A comical shot of a Common Tern taking off from a perch in the marsh.

When we got out to the end of the moraine trail we instantly picked out a young male King Eider sitting on a rock only yards away.  The bird sat there the entire hour we were at the point, providing fabulous scope looks and a great photo-op.  Why this arctic sea-duck is here in August I have no idea.  But the bird was also important to me because it completes my Atlantic sea ducks!  It is also just a beautiful bird, though not a breeding male.

There were also a load of Common Terns on the rocks, including a bunch of young birds.  We scanned them for a Roseate to no avail.

King Eider



Common Tern

Adult with Young

Getting pretty close...

My luck had definitely picked up!

The next day we went to Block Island.  From the ferry we saw lots of Wilson’s Storm Petrels, a year bird.  On the Island itself we did not see any unusual birds, but had a great time biking around the Island (we went 13 miles).  And of course there were birds around.  Some pictures-

Common Eider

Some neat habitat

Bank Swallow nests in the bluffs. And yes, the Bank Swallows were present.

Semipalmated Sandpiper (digibinned)

2 great days!

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