Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith

Their eyes are on the sparrow — tree sparrow, song sparrow, white-throated sparrow, house sparrow — and more than 70 other birds

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Click below to hear the episode:

Following a tradition dating back to 1900, a team of hardy souls in Stratford, CT, is among the many throughout the Americas who take part in the Christmas Bird Count. To learn more about this longest running citizen science program, go to and team member Scott Kruitbosch’s website:

The watchers:

Top row, l-r: Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe, Frank Mantlik and Patrick Comins, Frank, gearhead
2nd row: Patrick, Patrick with Alfred Green
3rd row: some of the team, Tom Murray, Alfred and Talisha Ortiz, Ross Allen

The watched:


Top row, l-r: orange crowned warbler, eurasian widgen
Row 2: bufflehead, snow goose
Row 3: hooded merganser, greater yellowlegs
Row 4: raven, snow bunting

Photos from

The complete day’s list (from team captain Frank Mantlik’s report):

Birding team included Patrick Comins, Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe, Tom Murray, Ross Allen, Scott Kruitbosch, Alfred Green, Talisha Ortiz, Maria Johnson. Other birders in our sector were Aiden Kiley (and mother), Bruce Finnan (and wife). FM owling in Stratford & Shelton 4:30-6:15 am (1.75 hour and 19 miles by car). Daylight coverage, 7am-5:15pm (3 hours and 44 miles by car; 12 hours and 3 miles on foot). Weather seasonal: clear and chilly to start, warming but clouding over by noon, with occasional light rain showers mid-to late afternoon. 27-42F. Wind NE at 8  – 12 mph. Also seen: 4 White-tailed Deer, numerous Gray Squirrels; Corrie saw a possible Palm Warbler, among flighty sparrow flock, at Stratford Greenway.

76 species (+3 other taxa)

Snow Goose  4    Adults on Short Beach ballfields; one with a missing  right foot. Photos of group.

Brant (Atlantic)  13    Small numbers seen at Short Beach & Stratford Pt in afternoon by Patrick C, Tom M, and Scott K.

Canada Goose  362

Graylag x Canada Goose (hybrid)  1    Continuing hybrid goose among Canada Goose flock. Larger than CANG, with pinkish bill and orange legs, darker cheek patch and small amount of white around base of bill. Well photographed previous to today. Seen well at Short Beach by FM, PC and others.

Mute Swan  10

Gadwall  57

Eurasian Wigeon  1    Continuing male, among large flock of AMWI, ABDU, and GADW, seen well by all in Cove at north side of Stratford Point. Photographed previous days.

American Wigeon  72

American Black Duck  249

Mallard  63

American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid)  2    Two males among dabbling duck flock in Cove off Wayne’s Walk in morning.

Blue-winged Teal  1    Continuing female among dabbling duck flock feeding in creek (sewage plant effluent) at south side of Birdseye St boat ramp lot. Photos by FM and AK.

Northern Shoveler  6    All at Birdseye St boatramp in morning; specifically feeding in creek just south of lot.

Northern Pintail  1    Continuing female at Birdseye St boatramp creek.

Green-winged Teal (American)  5

Canvasback  2    Frash Pond

Lesser Scaup  6    1 male, 5 female at Frash Pond

Surf Scoter  4    At least three in choppy seas off Stratford Pt and one off Russian Beach

White-winged Scoter  2    Females together off Russian Beach

Long-tailed Duck  9

Bufflehead  24

Common Goldeneye  2

Hooded Merganser  48

Red-breasted Merganser  67    Including 53 on Frash Pond in morning.

Wild Turkey  1

Red-throated Loon  3

Common Loon  16

Pied-billed Grebe  1    Seen well by FM on Ferry Creek (near Stratford Marina), viewed from Broad St bridge.

Northern Gannet  1    Adult flying NE off east bluff of Stratford Pt at 09:30, first spotted by FM and seen by all

Great Cormorant  6

Great Blue Heron  2    Flying over marsh on Milford side, views from Knapps Landing

Black-crowned Night-Heron  3    TMu saw them in late morning in pool behind 611 Access Rd office bldg. ( out of our sector, but within the count circle ).

Northern Harrier  3    Including adult male Strat Pt, and two brown birds- Short Beach & Nells Is marsh.

Sharp-shinned Hawk  1    Flew west past Ldsp Seawall, seen by our group.

Cooper’s Hawk  2    Adult seen by Tom M near Frash Pond outfall. Another first spotted by Patrick from Strat Pt, in flight over Riverdale. Same adult? Imm seen at Strat Marina by FM in afternoon.

Red-tailed Hawk  1

American Coot  11    Birdseye St boat ramp. Max count late afternoon by FM of 7+2+2.

Black-bellied Plover  7    Flock in cove at Stratford Pt, seen by Scott (and others); flew in and landed on concrete Reef balls. Flock has been present for 1-2 weeks.

Sanderling  32

Dunlin  40

Greater Yellowlegs  6    3 in ditch at east end of airport, later seen on Short beach lagoon flats; additional 3 see in marsh behind Animal shelter.

Ring-billed Gull  215

Herring Gull  116

Great Black-backed Gull  10

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  130

Mourning Dove  23

Eastern Screech-Owl  1    Gray morph heard and seen 04:30 by FM at Wooster Park (out of my area).

Barred Owl  2    Two, possibly 3, found by TMu at Roosevelt Forest (out of our territory) at mid day.

Belted Kingfisher  1    East end of airport

Red-bellied Woodpecker  1

Downy Woodpecker  5

American Kestrel  1    Male perched at east side of airport

Peregrine Falcon  1    Fly by seen by B Finnan & wife at Strat Pt

Monk Parakeet  10

Blue Jay  5

American Crow  5

Fish Crow  4

crow sp.  2

Common Raven  2    Pair flying SW over Frash Pond in early morning.

Horned Lark  30    On reconstructed east end of airport; seen by Corrie and others.

Black-capped Chickadee  8

Tufted Titmouse  5

White-breasted Nuthatch  3

Carolina Wren  1

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1    Found by Tom Murray at sewage plant area. Later seen by others and photos.

American Robin  11

Northern Mockingbird  10

European Starling  480

Snow Bunting  35    Flighty flock at Short Beach in morning

Orange-crowned Warbler  1    One seen well and photographed by several of us at sewage plant area of Beacon Point Rd.

American Tree Sparrow  32

Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  95

White-throated Sparrow  12

Song Sparrow  33

Northern Cardinal  4

Red-winged Blackbird  10    Tom M saw flock drop into phragmites marsh along Access Rd at 4:10pm

House Finch  8

American Goldfinch  10

House Sparrow  82


View this checklist online at









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