Sunday, May 08, 2005

Birds & Bats

I never was much of a "list chaser," to use the term that the late ornithologist and writer Bob Arbib used when I interviewed him way back in 1983. I used to keep a life list but I misplaced it, and although I assume it will turn up someday, I have no idea where it is. Nevertheless, I like to be able to identify the birds in my neighborhood, and I like to know which birds are around generally.

For example, a couple of birds I've never seen -- an American golden plover and a prothonotary warbler -- showed up yesterday at Hammonasset, in Madison, Connecticut, and in Fairfield, Connecticut, respectively, and a least tern, a relatively rare and elegant seabird, was in Milford, Connecticut.

I learned this through a website and e-mail service that gathers bird sightings from competent birds around Connecticut. Patrick Comins, Audubon Connecticut's director of bird conservation, told me about it the other day. If you're interested in birds in Connecticut or along the Sound, it's worth a look.

Also worth a look is this story, from today's Greenwich Time, about bats in Greenwich:

Earlier this year, as part of a biennial survey of bats in the state, DEP biologists visited a half-dozen hibernation spots in the state ... and counted an estimated 4,300 bats.

That's an average of 717 bats per site, and considering that one of them was in Greenwich and harbored only 162 bats, the others must be teeming with them.


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