Our Mission: The Mattabeseck Audubon Society, a chapter of the National Audubon
Society, is committed to environmental leadership and education for
the benefit of the community and the earth's biodiversity.
deKoven House, 27 Washington Street, Middletown, Connecticut 06457
What’s New at Mattabeseck Audubon
Annual Meeting: Wed., May 15th at 7:30 p.m.
Download Wingbeat issue
The latest issue of Wingbeat is now available for download. This .pdf file can be read on iPad, computer, and other devices.
Upcoming Field Trips
April 27 through May 19
Hartford Audubon Soc. Spring Census
Anyone in the Portland area may keep track of bird species seen in Portland and send the list to Larry Nichols. This census is a three-week quest to find as many species as possible in any of 20 Hartford area towns covered by HAS captains. It's not a competition per se, but a fun way to see how many species can be recorded in a town during the period.
Cockaponsett State Forest
Airline Rail Trail, Raymond Marsh
Field Trip Reports Link
Link to Joe Morin's Survey for his upcoming field trips
Wingbeat Deadline for Next Issue
The deadline for items to be included in the Summer/Fall Issue is Wednesday, June 26, 2013. We expect subscribers to receive their copies about July 20. Please send items to Pat Rasch, 24 Elm Road, Cromwell, CT 06416, or email to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Please add "WINGBEAT" to the message's subject line.
Board of Directors — Next Meeting
The Board of Directors will meet at 7:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at deKoven House, 27 Washington Street, Middletown.
Audubon Members' Corner
From Joanne Luppi
Sightings in Wangunk Meadows: Herons are back
The Great Blue Herons are back. On March 17, Pintail Ducks and Wilson’s Snipes were reported by Larry Nichols, in addition to the Herons that had been observed for a couple weeks, along with two Mute Swans.
Bill Asteriades reported 116 nests at the Portland heron rookery. Larry Cyrulik, who has been monitoring the rookery for many years since its establishment, recorded 143 nests this past winter, getting close to the nests by walking on the ice surrounding the rookery. He expects that most of those nests will be occupied come Spring.
March 25: More ducks—a flotilla of Ring-necked Ducks. The colors on Green-winged Teal and Blue-winged Teal are visible from the entrance to the Fairgrounds. You didn’t even have to get out of your car!
Since mid-March, people have spotted Killdeer and Blue-winged Teal there as well.
What’s New at Helen Carlson Sanctuary
The water is higher than I have ever seen it in over 50 years. The resident pair of Canada Geese are there. A pair of Hooded Mergansers were swimming across the back of the area near the lawn, as was a beautiful male Wood Duck. There were several pairs of Mallards, and Red-winged Blackbirds were singing loudly.
Until the water recedes from all the rain and melting snow, high boots will be necessary to access the platform.
There is much evidence of beaver activity—they are in the process of felling a large tree at the beginning of the berm that leads to the spillway.
From MAS President, Alison Guinness
There’s an app for that
The Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) has merged its web site with the Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS) as part of a national network to locate invasive plants across the country. You can now add this free app to your smart phone, then register, and upload your invasive plant sitings immediately to the national database. Go to http://www.eddmaps.org/ to get started. (See related Bamboo story on this page.)
Endangered Species Act Turns 40
Alligators, Whooping Cranes, Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Wolves, Grizzly Bears, and California Condors were all saved by the ESA. Watch for celebrations of this amazing environmental success story. http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/ESA_basics.pdf
2013: Year of the Snake
2013 has been proclaimed the Year of the Snake by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) to raise awareness for snake conservation. The DEEP Wildlife Division is participating in this effort by shining a spotlight on Connecticut’s native snake species.
How Many Snake Species Are Native to Connecticut?
The answer is 14! Only 2 of the 14 native snake species are venomous—the northern copperhead and timber rattlesnake.
|Common Gartersnake||Eastern Wormsnake||Northern Red-bellied Snake|
|Common Ribbonsnake||Northern Black Racer||Ring-necked Snake|
|Eastern Hog-nosed Snake||Northern Brownsnake||Smooth Greensnake|
|Eastern Milksnake||Northern Copperhead||Timber Rattlesnake|
|Eastern Ratsnake||Northern Watersnake|
What You Can Do—Snakes Should NEVER Be Killed!
Hundreds of snakes are needlessly killed by people each year because of mistaken identity, fear, and misunderstanding. Very often, when a snake is found near a home, people panic and may even assume that the snake is dangerous or venomous. Few Connecticut residents realize that they are unlikely to encounter a venomous snake around their home. The two venomous snake species found in Connecticut (timber rattlesnake and copperhead) do not have wide distributions. These venomous snakes, along with the other 12 Connecticut snake species, are NOT aggressive and will only bite if threatened or handled. If left alone, snakes pose no threat to people. If you encounter a snake in your yard or while out on a walk in the woods, observe and enjoy it from a distance and allow it to go on its way.
Other important ways you can help snakes include:
• Never releasing a captive, pet snake into the wild. It could have a disease that is difficult to detect, but can harm native snakes.
• Never collecting a wild snake to keep as a pet. Any person who collects (or kills) a protected snake species could be faced with fines or legal action.
• Watching for snakes basking on or crossing roads. Avoid running over snakes with your vehicle, but only if it is safe to do so.
• Learning more about snakes and educating others. http://www.ct.gov/dEep/cwp/view.asp?a=2723&q=498864 &deepNav_GID=1655
To learn more about snakes:
Visit the Year of the Snake webpage on the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) Web site http://www.parcplace.org/news-a-events/2013-year-of-the-snake.html and download the free pdf of Snakes in Connecticut, an identification guide from the Connecticut DEEP library: http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/wildlife/pdf_files/nongame/snkwebview.pdf
Leucistic Nuthatch spotted
This photo of a leucistic white-breasted nuthatch was taken by Peggy Carlson in her yard in East Haddam. To be truly albino, an organism is completely lacking in melanin. The dark eye and small dark patch on the tail of this nuthatch indicate that this is a leucistic bird with a small amount of melanin. Leucism is a genetic mutation that prevents melanin from being deposited normally on feathers.
From Pat Rasch
Another Invasive Species: Yellow Groove Bamboo
Who knew? Yellow groove bamboo, Phyllostachys aureosulcata, forms dense root clumps that are extremely difficult to remove. It is one of the easiest bamboos to identify, with a distinct yellow groove on the cane. Approximately 10% of the culms (canes) have an occasional zig-zag. The feel of the lower cane is rough like sandpaper. It is a giant, cold-hardy timber bamboo with a height of 15 to 40 feet.
Yellow groove is the most destructive and most invasive of the running bamboos. It forms dense monocultures and can easily break through asphalt driveways and grow up through wooden structures. Locally, a quarter-acre infestation in Durham that was originally planted as two single rows of bamboo along the Wallingford right-of-way in 2009, is now 250 feet thick and threatens adjoining land.
According to Caryn Rickel of the Institute of Invasive Bamboo Research, this bamboo harbors histoplasmosis, as Black crows roost in this species. Caryn and the institute are working to educate Connecticut folks about this risk and to work to pass some laws about it. Contact her at 203-734-6344 (evenings) or email email@example.com
For a list of areas invaded by yellow bamboo: http://www.eddmaps.org
David Titus Memorial
The David Titus Memorial Bird Card is now available for a $3 donation. We will have them at MAS activities or request by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks to Pat Rasch for putting it all together and wildlife illustrator, Mike DiGiorgio, for his beautiful illustrations, many of which were painted specifically for this bird card. The card is a very inexpensive way to own some of the best bird art you’ll ever see. It is extra heavy-duty, all-plastic laminate, printed in full color on both sides. Twenty-four birds are identified by their common name and Latin name, along with the length of the bird and the seasons that they are usually seen in our area. In species that have visual differences between the sexes, both sexes are portrayed.
If you find a baby bird...
If you find a baby bird or other animal, it's best to leave it alone. Chances are the parent is nearby and will take care of the baby when you leave the area. If not or you have some other wildlife problem, contact the CT Wildlife Rehabilitators Association at http://www.cwrawildlife.org/ where you can find a rehabilitator in your area or someone to address your problem.
We encourage everyone to buy Duck Stamps each fall. The funds the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the State of Connecticut receive from the sale of Duck Stamps goes directly to conservation of habitat that supports not only waterfowl but many other species of birds and other animals and indigenous plants. You may purchase Federal Duck Stamps at the Post Office, and State of Connecticut Duck Stamps at your local town hall.