Thursday, June 26, 2008

Back to Pleasure Beach

The birds have really taken over Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport (see earlier post for more info about that beach). Last winter I saw a Kestrel, which looks rather like a dwarf Peregrine Falcon.

On a visit yesterday we followed the shoreline closely until we reached the old pier and bridge, then headed inland. Immediately a Willet harrassed us incessantly, circling overhead and chattering. Willets are brownish shore birds with long legs. I assume a nest was nearby. Then, a pair of magnificent Osprey circled over us. I think the nest in the photo is not their main nest -- I glimpsed a larger nest in the distance later on.

The vegetation was intense - especially ragweed and poison ivy. Oh for joy. Good thing for the old pavement. We did a quick walk past the carosel and other derelict buildings. Someone recently told me they saw turkeys living in one of the buildings.

On the way back, along Long Beach, some areas have been kindly roped off to protect nesting shorebirds. I was annoyed that someone had set up a beach chair and was playing music right next to one of the ropes. The beach is 3/4 mile long, for crying out loud, they had to set up their chair right next to the rope?

At any rate, at one of the enclosures a flock of Least Terns heckled anyone passing. They darted about so quickly it was hard to see what they looked like and even harder to get a picture. I finally succeeded to some extent, enough to identify the birds. Least Terns are considered a threatened species by the Connecticut DEP. Here are some fun facts: They weigh just one ounce and were pushed towards extinction in the early 1900's by the millinary trade. What the heck is the millinary trade? ....(looking it up)... OK, according to Websters that means, "Women's apparel for the head." Feathers for lady's hats, I guess. At one ounce, I'm sure they weren't being killed for the dinner plate.

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