Thursday, October 19, 2006

Improved Public Access to the Sound and Maybe a Chance to Hear Some Unusual Bird Songs

A section of Cove Island Park in Stamford that for years had been used as a dump has been restored and officially reopened yesterday as a bird sanctuary. Here’s what the Stamford Advocate reported:

With Long Island Sound at one end and ponds, rocks and trees scattered throughout the area, the site also offers a soothing atmosphere, Director of Operations Tim Curtin said.

"It's a place to appreciate wildlife as well as to reflect," he said. "It's passive recreation."

Few municipalities have dedicated such sanctuaries, which help birds with their long and perilous journeys, said Patrick Comins, director of bird conservation for Audubon Connecticut.

Among the local birders who supported it were Michael Moccio and Patrick Dugan. Dugan is known among birders in the area for an incredible talent: he can whistle bird songs – not awkwardly or approximately, but exactly. Someone told me about this gift and so, once when I was in the field with him, I asked him to whistle the song of a winter wren. Every time I’ve heard a winter wren sing, I’ve had to almost laugh at its incredible length and complexity. Peterson describes the song as “a rapid succession of high tinkling warbles and trills, prolonged, often ending on a very high light trill,” and which Sibley describes as “long and complex: a remarkable continuous series of very high tinkling trills and thin buzzes.” So this was my equivalent of a trick question.

Patrick nailed it.

There’s a scene in Woody Allen’s movie “Sweet and Lowdown,” the movie in which Sean Penn plays a guitarist obsessed with Django Reinhardt, where a collection of odd folks try out for a talent contest. Patrick told us he showed up at the audition, made the first cut, and went to a day or two of filming on location in Ossining, but that his scene was ultimately left out of the movie. His bird songs were too good – he didn’t sound like an amateur. If you go to Cove Island and encounter a fellow with an expensive pair of binoculars hanging from his neck, as him to do his winter wren.


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker