Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Thou Shalt Honor Local Nature Preserves!

I visited the McKinney Preserve in Westbrook over the weekend. It is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. I noticed that there wasn't a single person visiting the property while I was there. It made for a peaceful morning of birding but it's a shame that places like this aren't visited more often by birders. If dogs were allowed here I can almost guarantee dog owners would be walking their dogs here.
There are some trails leading through open shrubby areas, deciduous trees, and then down to a saltwater marsh. There is a lot of development along the shoreline in Connecticut so protecting saltwater marshes is a high priority.
Just because a location is has a fancy title like National Wildlife Refuge does not guarantee that it's going to be loaded with birds but I had a fairly productive morning of birding. Some of my highlights included seeing Willets, Greater Yellowlegs, Red-breasted Merganser (above), nesting Osprey, a Little Blue Heron, and a mix of woodland birds.
I took a seat for a while and was able to watch the merganser dunking and diving for food from a fairly close distance.
On a more local scale I also visited the Krueger Farm preserve in East Haddam. There's a couple of Louisiana Waterthrush singing down there somewhere. Can you see them by the rock behind the tree? I can still here them singing now! 

I imagine that there are people put time in effort into trying to find opportunities for to be purchased or protected from development and it occurred to me that birders can help bring attention to these special properties which might otherwise go mostly unnoticed.
  • Use the power of google to find land trusts and nature preserves in your area.
  • Take note of the natural features of the property that inspired someone to protect it from development.
  • Enter your bird sightings for that area on e-bird and attach a picture if you have one. I've noticed some land trust websites will link bird lists with photos to some of their properties.
  • remember not to wander off the property onto private land because many of these places border private property.
 Remember: Ask not what your nature preserve can do for you, ask what you can do for your local nature preserves! Take a break from birding hotpots and chasing rare bird and put your birding skills to work!


The Furry Gnome said...

I'm involved with a large hiking organization here, the Bruce Trail Conservancy, that regularly raises money and purchases land for the trail. My role as a volunteer is to help keep an eye on all those properties and encourage hikers to recognize the natural features that we're conserving. Lots of beautiful natural areas get protected.

Larry said...

Thanks for your contribution as a volunteer! I enjoy seeing land that is being protected for their special natural features.

Unknown said...

e-bird? I will have to check it out. My son now skates in Simsbury at ISCC, I drove by Beman Lane the other day while I was going home, talk about memories. There is a little park right near Beman Lane, is it any good?

Larry said...

Tim-Not much to the park but it should be good for migrating birds as it follows a stretch of river. I've seen ducks, mergansers,and herons in there as well. There are lots of good spots along route 10 and the Farmington Canal walking trail that crosses 189 is good as well.