Summer is a great time to dust off those binoculars and stretch your birding legs. You can expect migratory birds to start appearing in April. However, if you head for the shore now, there are many different coastal species to observe, especially if you hit the right locations. Here’s a list of five great places for coastal birding. As with visiting all wildlife habitats, please remember to tread lightly on the land and respect the creatures who live there.
Stratford Point in Stratford is a great place to see waterfowl, sea birds like Northern Gannet, shorebirds, and loons. Audubon Connecticut manages DuPont’s Stratford Point property with assistance from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History (RTPI) and Sacred Heart University. The trails are generally open Monday-Friday during business hours. Birding, nature observation, and passive hiking are the primary intended uses of the property. Stratford Point is one of the premier birding, butterfly, and fishing locations in Connecticut.
Another coastal birding hot spot is Long Beach in Stratford. The parking lot, beach, and offshore waters here attract rare gulls and waterfowl, while Sanderlings and Dunlins scurry along the water’s edge. The middle sections of Long Beach are maintained as shorebird nesting areas. These areas are considered to be some of the best nesting habitats in the state for piping plovers and least terns.
Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park is another birding hotspot and a great place to see gebes and loons. A list of 234 birds spotted at Sherwood Island State Park has been compiled.
Greenwich Point Park is another place for viewing birds. Due to the park’s peninsular geography and the variety of habitats available it is an important migrant stopover habitat for many species of birds. Good numbers of waterfowl winter offshore and in Eagle Pond, many raptors pass the park in fall migration and the park acts as stopover habitat for some of them. The offshore islands offer breeding habitat for Common and Least Terns.