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|Saturday 24th December 2005, 14:49||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2003
Allen's Meadows, Wilton, CT
Site Description: The site comprises of a collection of ball fields off of Route 7 in suburban Wilton. As well as the 6 ball fields there are other more attractive elements to the site for birders including a small pond, a community gardens and a couple of small pockets of wooded area.
First stop at the site for any prospective birder is the small pond behind the carpark at the entrance to the site . Although not large enough to attract much on a regular basis other than the ubiquitous MALLARD, in spring and fall it can harbor migrating birds (which have included HOODED MERGANSER, GW TEAL, WOOD DUCK, GREAT EGRET, BC NIGHTHERON and most surprisingly AMERICAN BITTERN). The brushy scrub around the pond also attracts good numbers of birds including sparrows and warblers and is a particularly popular with Thrashers it would seem.
The pond is supplied with water from a small brook that meanders along the back line of the property. This brook creates a somewhat wooded boggy area which can produce birds (RUSTY BLACKBIRDS have been found in with the more common RED-WINGED in fall).
Probably the most productive areas of the site however are the areas of the meadows that have been left undeveloped, small patches occur throughout the site but the best areas are those situated at the end of the entrance drive. These undeveloped fields are added to in level of interest (for birders) by the community gardens and the dumping of organic material by the town at the back of the property. Due to the relative lack of open country sites in Wilton (most sites are secondary growth woodland), the site seems to attract a wide variety of excellent migrating open country birds.
Winter: Winter generally is a quiet season at the site (as with most inland sites). The birding tends to be restricted to the regular winter birds however the site is always worth a visit in January to start to build up your year list. Of course the site can be hit or miss at this time of the year but should provide a few harder to find CT birds and lingering migrants. The Meadows are a mainstay for the Wilton CBC count and possibilities at this time of year include: PILEATED WOODPECKER, HAIRY WOODPECKER, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, NORTHERN FLICKER, HERMIT THRUSH, GRAY CATBIRD, GC KINGLET, WINTER WREN, CEDAR WAXWING, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, AMERICAN TREE, CHIPPING, SWAMP, FIELD or FOX SPARROW, YR WARBLER, PURPLE FINCH and locally over-wintering BLACK VULTURE. Early March 2006 added NORTHERN SHRIKE to the growing list of winter species.
Spring: The site can provide good birding given helpful migratory conditions. It seems to be a popular stop off site for AM KESTREL with as many as 5 birds being seen in the small park on one day. Although not usually loaded with rarities good birding can be had in spring although the site is not particularly attractive to warblers (apart from yellow, blue-winged and common yellowthroat) it would seem. Interesting spring finds have included SUMMER TANAGER (May'06), VESPER SPARROW, ORCHARD ORIOLE, SOLITARY SANDPIPER, BROWN THRASHER, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD and AMERICAN BITTERN. The pond across the Olmstead Hill Rd (which can be reached by walking through the small wooded area at the north end of the park) regularly produces RING-NECKED DUCK.
Summer: Summer is never particularly productive generally probably due to the almost constant use of the ball fields but the regular local breeders can be found including the more interesting BROWN THRASHER and KILLDEER and in 2005 a possible nesting attempt by SAVANNAH SPARROW. Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds also find nests in the swampy pond over the road behind Olmstead Hill Rd.
Fall: Fall provides the most interesting birding opportunities. The site is again not usually particularly attractive to migrating warblers apart from those more often associated with open country. Large numbers of PALM and YR WARBLERS are often in attendance and can be joined by ORANGE-CROWNED (rare) and NASHVILLE (fairly common). The only other significant warbler sighting has been a HOODED WARBLER in the pond area.
In early fall the community gardens area often attracts amazing numbers of INDIGO BUNTINGS with as many as 50+ being reported in one day. Late fall (late September and early October is particularly good) is generally when Allen’s comes into its own as a birding site and at its peak vies with any Fairfield site (perhaps excluding Stamford Cove) for migrants. The site rapidly becomes very birdy with large numbers of sparrows making use of the community gardens and the overgrown fields. Joining the more common sparrows (SONG, SAVANNAH, CHIPPING, SWAMP, WHITE-THROAT) are often good numbers of the less common FIELD, LINCOLN’S (4+ in one day), WHITE-CROWNED (8+ IOD), VESPER (12+ IOD which occured during the amazing Oct 05 fallout which followed 9 days of steady rain and northerly overnights - highs of 3 or 4 are more common) and FOX (5 IOD) . Rarities have included both LARK & CLAY-COLORED SPARROW in 2005. Other less common CT birds that are regular throughout fall migration are E. MEADOWLARK (sometimes quite numerous), A. PIPIT and BOBOLINK. Other good fall finds have included the previously mentioned RUSTY BLACKBIRD, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, BROWN THRASHER, PINE SISKIN (rare), PURPLE FINCH, EVENING GROSBEAK (rare) NORTHERN HARRIER, YB SAPSUCKER, SNOW-BUNTING and seemingly annual sightings of DICKCISSEL.
With the sites large expanse of open space, open skies and the two ridgelines running east and west of the site it also offers good Fall hawk-watching possibilities. Probably one of my most exciting fall finds here was an immature GOLDEN EAGLE passing over the site in November 2004. The abundance of birds also attracts in migrating hawks with COOPERS and SHARP-SHINS and occasionally MERLINS stopping off to make a strafing run at the abundance of sparrows and NORTHERN HARRIER often stop in on their way south.
Black-crowned Night Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
CAPE MAY WARBLER
Black and White Warbler
Black-Throated Blue Warbler
Black-Throated Green Warbler
American Tree Sparrow
Last edited by streatham : Wednesday 10th May 2006 at 03:03.
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