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In New Haven, we hit big: Lesser Scaup, thank you! Two flyby White-winged Scoters were a bonus, and we left in good spirits, with species and still a distant chance at the record of It was p. Our scouted birds, it seemed, had taken the afternoon off. Well, we still had scouted rails and bitterns to get. King Rail, no. It was followed by another Sora calling—good for us. I really like Soras.

At midnight, as we were setting up for the team photo, a pair of Eastern Screech-Owls was quietly winnowing back and forth to each other and slowly coming closer to us. At midnight, as the flash went off and the camera recorded our picture, they were directly above us, serenading and soothing our finish.

It was a nice way to end a day of birding with dear friends. We achieved species in ; our goal to surpass the New England Record of , and reach , is in sight. All we need is an honest weather report, and the right day. You know, come to think of it, we never did run into that thunderstorm. There is nothing I like better than standing in a swamp listening to the myriad mutterings of the night. At a minute to midnight, Fran had trilled like an Eastern Screech-Owl.

Seconds after midnight, two screech-owls started whinnying together, a Marsh Wren sang and, just minutes later, a Green Heron gave its harsh squawk.


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Of the Least Bittern, there was no sign, not a single peep did it utter. We raced back along the waterlogged trail in high spirits, with hopes of soon finding Sora, Whip-poor-will, singing Grasshopper Sparrows, and a plentitude of owls, secure in the knowledge that there were still other stops for Least Bittern.

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The Soras were silent, and our foray for grassland birds was a bust, but an American Woodcock, along with Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers, had all chimed in at one stop, and we discovered, at random, a Barn Owl. It was calling while it was going in and out of a barn — at first, loud, then muffled, loud, then muffled. One horned lark, and a back-up Grasshopper Sparrow, put us back on track and we raced west through the night, picking up our Whip-poor-wills and Cliff Swallows, and bagging four more species of owls.

But, ahead of schedule, we tried for a moorhen and picked up American Bittern. Dawn found us listening to the warbles of Canada Warblers and Northern Waterthrushes in the northwest corner of Connecticut. Our well-planned north route thanks to Fran and Dave had us picking off species after species: Magnolia Warbler, Nashville, Worm-eating, and Blackburnian Warblers in a single stop; Purple Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, and Winter Wren all sang at the scouted sites. Our staked-out pheasant was sauntering through a field when we arrived, so we sped off to find Belted Kingfisher and Willow Flycatcher, before heading to our Acadian Flycatcher spot.

As we drove up, the Acadian sang, so we spun around, snagged a Cerulean Warbler from the roadside, and made a swing through an area for brush-loving species: Brown Thrasher, check; Orchard Oriole, check; Field Sparrow, check; Prairie Warbler, check, and we were off. The American Coot was right were I left it the day before I mean, saw it and it was time to shoot for the coast — with species and high hopes that days of scouting would pay off.

Our bright morning sky was clouding quickly and our arrival in Stratford was accompanied by strong east winds and rain. Binoculars became microscopes, as visibility shrank. We increased the pace, trying to outrun the rain, and picked up Boat-tailed Grackle, Short-billed Dowitcher, Ruddy Turnstone, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, and a few other targets, but little else. We decided to cut our losses and head east. At our first stop, scouting rewarded us with a female Bufflehead, found the day before, and a bonus Common Loon.

Spirits lightened, but the weather worsened. By the time we reached the Branford coast visibility was down to yards.

Identification of Birds

All the scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, and Red-throated Loons I had scouted during the week had vanished in the fog. It was maddening. Well, two were better than none, and there was lots of daylight left. If the weather would just clear, we might still have a chance. We had scouted species, with many others possible, so we crossed our fingers, and flew off to Hammonasset Beach.

The Park was an eerie landscape of surreal shapes and brief glimpses of birds materializing softly from the gloom, only to vanish again, like ghosts, engulfed in silence. Fortunately, Seaside Sparrows sang, and a lone Saltmarsh Sparrow walked within sight beside the board walk.


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  • The search for our other target species was in vain. The newly-hatched chicks will be kept separately from the existing flock of 12 birds until they are much older. The hatchlings are latest arrivals to a breeding programme which hopes to save the species from extinction. The birds brought back last year will be mature and ready to breed next year, when they are two years old.

    In addition some birds have been reared in captivity in the Russia to be released there, to prevent them being eaten as eggs by predators. This tiny chick, which is little bigger than a bumblebee, is among the first time the species has hatched in the UK.

    Common Raven and Other Uncommon Bird Sightings

    Taking eggs away to rear by hand will also encourage the parents to lay again which will increase the population. Mr Jarrett said: 'As well as the conservation breeding programme preserving birds possibly for release and preventing extinction, it also allows us to develop techniques to intervene so we can cut out predation of eggs and chicks. And he said: 'We've also got to address the problems in their staging and wintering areas. The birds have been hit by loss of inter-tidal habitat in East Asia as they migrate south from their Russian breeding grounds and bird trapping by villagers in their wintering sites in Bangladesh and Burma.

    The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Are you my mum? The spoon-billed sandpiper is one of the world's rarest birds; there are thought to be less than breeding pairs left in the wild Fewer than pairs in the wild and numbers falling by a quarter each year, leaving it facing extinction within five to 10 years. Share this article Share. Two newborn and extremely endangered spoon-billed sandpiper chicks feed on insects after hatching from 20 eggs imported from Russia It was a close run thing to get the eggs from the Russian Far East before they hatched, according to WWT's head of conservation breeding, Nigel Jarrett.

    The hatchlings are latest arrivals to a breeding programme which hopes to save the species from extinction The birds brought back last year will be mature and ready to breed next year, when they are two years old. Share or comment on this article: Are you my mum?

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    An endangered spoon-billed sandpiper chick explores its new home after fraught trip from Russia to join UK conservation project e-mail. Comments 15 Share what you think. View all. More top stories. Bing Site Web Enter search term: Search. Please wait a moment New Releases The latest new releases. Brand new books ready to read on your Kindle or eReader! Swipe to see more books. Popular Books Here are the most popular titles this week, chosen entirely by you.

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