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This 919-acre park is Connecticut's largest shoreline park and also one of the best birding areas on the Connecticut coast. Located on the Madison, CT shoreline of Long Island Sound, Hammonasset State Park provides more than 2 miles of sand and rock covered beaches. In addition to it's attractive coastal areas, Hammonasset offers a large expanse of protected marshes. Although presence of birds can be seen year round, stronger numbers will be noted in the Spring and Fall migration periods. The park is most known for migrating shorebirds, seabirds, waders, and waterfowl. However, the wide range of habitats within the park provides living space for what is likely the widest range of species in Connecticut.
Birds you can see here include:
Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Eared Grebe, Wilson's Storm Petrel, Northern Gannet, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Great Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, American Bittern, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Green-backed Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, White-faced Ibis, Tundra Swan, Mute Swan, Greater White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Brant, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Green-winged Teal, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Common Eider, King Eider, Harlequin Duck, Oldsquaw, Black Scoter, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Swainson's Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Gyrfalcon, Ring-necked Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, Northern Bobwhite, Yellow Rail, Black Rail, Clapper Rail, King Rail, Virginia Rail, Sora, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Black-bellied Plover, Lesser Golden Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Piping Plover, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Willet, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwit, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Long-billed Dowitcher, Common Snipe, American Woodcock, Wilson's Phalarope, Red-necked Phalarope, Parasitic Jaeger, Laughing Gull, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Bonaparte's Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Royal Tern, Roseate Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Forster's Tern, Least Tern, Black Tern, Black Skimmer, Dovekie, Thick-billed Murre, Razorbill, Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, Black-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Snowy Owl, Barred Owl, Great Gray Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Boreal Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Common Nighthawk, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Wood Pewee, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Acadian Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Eastern Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Horned Lark, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Bank Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Boreal Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Winter Wren, Marsh Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Wheatear, Eastern Bluebird, Veery, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, American Pipit, Bohemian Waxwing, Cedar Waxwing, European Starling, Northern Shrike, Loggerhead Shrike, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Palm Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Worm-eating Warbler, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Canada Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Western Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Dickcissel, Pine Siskin, Eastern Towhee, American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, Le Conte's Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Nelson's Sparrow, Seaside Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Lapland Longspur, Smith's Longspur, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Snow Bunting, Bobolink, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, Boat-tailed Grackle, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Pine Grosbeak, Purple Finch, House Finch, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Common Redpoll, American Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, House Sparrow
This checklist was extracted from the Birds of Hammonasset State Park web site check list - March 2000, which also includes seasonal "Abundance Designation" for each species.
History and Use
Although "ownership" of the area within Hammonasset changed hands between the Native Americans and the first colonists several times since 1639, the opening of the park to the public occured in 1920.
It is estimated that upwards of 1 million visitors come to the park each year. Most activity will be found in the Summer months, and will include swimming, bicyling, camping, saltwater fishing, and trail hiking. Birders will be best to avoid the park during this season, especially during weekends and midday hours.
Meigs Point Nature Center welcomes visitors to participate in various natural and environmental learning activities, year round. A birder's log can also be found at the center.
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Gallery of bird photos by Fowl Mouth. (Click on an image to enlarge):
Hammonasset Beach State Park
1288 Boston Post Road
P.O. Box 271
Madison, CT 06443
Tel: (203) 245-2785
Email: [email protected]