Friday, August 9, 2013

Seeking Access To Connecticut's Coastline

(Above photo was taken at Bluff Point Coastal Preserve which has no parking or entry fee)

 For many years I had a small fishing boat that allowed me the freedom to travel along the sound with an obstructed view of the scenic Connecticut coastline. Unfortunately, the last memory of being in my boat was not a good one. I was out fishing with my father when the wind picked up so suddenly that we were unable to make it back to the boat launch. Water poured into the boat as we struggled against large waves and strong winds to make it to the nearest landfall. We were approaching a small beach when a man came running across his yard to assist us, or so we thought. It turned out he just wanted to tell us that the beach was private property and that we weren't welcome there. Further down the coast we  managed to find another boat launch and hitched a ride back to the truck so we could pick up the boat. The boat was damaged so I ended up selling the motor. 
Now that I'm more of a birder than a fisherman my access to the coastline has been  by car or by foot. This summer I've made it a priority too see as much time at the shore as possible. This way I'll have no regrets but a few egrets would be great). This month I've been watching the way birds fit into the surrounding landscape as if I were looking at them in a painting as opposed to studying them.

Access to Connecticut's shore line from land is not as easy as it is from boat. There are some good birding spots likes Hammonasset or Rocky Neck if you don't mind paying a fee and the summer beach crowds. You can also go in the off-season for free.
(last 4 Photos taken at Sandy Point in West Haven)
There are also some places which are only open to town residents or require that you get a special parking permit from the local town hall. Many other areas are private property and are altogether off limits.
You may be able to avoid parking fees or tickets if you get up early enough and don't mind creeping around like this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was one rainy morning.
.......So I'll continue  my search for terns perched on rocks. 
.......and leaving no stones unturned, especially Ruddy Turnstones.

A good website to check if you're looking for Connecticut Shoreline access is the DEEP Connecticut Coastal Access Guide. Some of the places listed on the site are very small and may not be worth visiting but I find that exploring things for yourself is part of the fun.


Unknown said...

Private property.. sometimes good if means the space is protected from the hoards..other times not-so-good.. I'd love to know the ending to your boat story..

Larry said...

Cindy- True- in some cases it probably does benefit to have private protected areas but it seems there are too many cottages and building crowded up close to the water.It would be nice if there were more viewing areas- protected where needed. I added a sentence to the end of the boat story.-thanks

Jen Sanford said...

Living on the west coast for the last 12 years I have really grown to appreciate the lack of privately owned coastline here. I grew up in CT where every beach in town required a permit and I do not miss that crap one bit. Every inch of coastline in Oregon is public, as it should be.

Larry said...

Jen-Sort of what I was thinking-I haven't been out that way but it sounds ideal-thanks.

troutbirder said...

Kudos to Oregon. One more reason why I like it. We returned to honeymoon venue on Vancouver Island a few years ago. Much to our dismay our fond memories were just that memories as much of the coast was covered with no trespassing signs....:(

Chris said...

Jesus, sorry but that guy just told you this was a private beach while you were struggling to go out of the storm!!! Man, that's stupid.... Sorry for your boat man, but in a way you got a new challenge, to discover the shore on feet. Sorry to hear that the access is not so easy... I wish you the best with that... and I love you small heron picture a lot ;-)

Kathie Brown said...

Larry, I love exploring and finding new treasure! Looks like you found a few yourself! I like it that you want to look at the birds in many different ways. You are very creative!