I've tended to avoid the shoreline state parks during the summer due to beach crowds and not wanting to pay the state park fees. Splitting the cost of a season park pass ($67) with one or more birders and then carpooling for birding trips is one way to save a buck.The summer birding is good at places like Harkness Memorial, Hammonasset, and other state parks.There's a lot of nesting activity and young birds roaming around that don't get spooked as easily as the adult birds. This makes for good viewing opportunities. Osprey (above) are everywhere because of all the nesting platforms but I enjoy seeing them in a more natural setting.This was taken at Harkness Park which offers a nice change of pace from the more popular Hammonnasset. As you can see there are some nicely landscaped areas of the park but there are also wild meadow areas and areas that are good for shorebirds. I was able to see a Dowitcher while I was there which is a shorebird I don't often see.
Hammonasset is always good birding just about any time of the year. I regularly see Little Blue Heron (above) there during the summer as well as Glossy Ibis.
I like to call this spot cormorant rock. There are often seals spotted in this area as well.We saw dozens of Great (above) and Snowy Egrets while we were out birding. I'm no longer using the excuse of it being too crowded for birding at the shore in the summer. The beaches don't start getting busy until about 10am so that gives you a few hours of morning birding before the crowds show up. I decided paying the State Park fees to have access to some of the best birding spots during the summer is worth it in the long run.