As I was just walking up the stairs to my apartment, about 20 Common Nighthawks flew over and I nearly had a heart attack from excitement. I've been wanting to see one for quite some time, and just by chance I got an awesome view of a whole flock of them! Naturally, I leave my binoculars in my car, so I didn't have time to run back down 4 flights of stairs to get them. They were flying fairly low, though, so I could clearly see the notched tail and the white wing bars. They fly almost like gulls with a little bit of bat flight thrown in, it was very interesting.
In other news, I went to an ecological seminar today where a professor from UConn talked about Salt Marsh Sparrows, and the effect climate change will have on them in the future. These unique little birds build dome nests in the high tidal marshes along the Atlantic Coast (there's a high concentration in Connecticut). Every 2 weeks, high tides flood their nests, and the dome shape helps keep the eggs from floating away, and the chicks (older than about 5 days) have developed a way to climb to safety during the high tide. However, with the increase in global temperatures, the ocean levels are predicted to rise about 30 cm in the next few decades, and these guys don't seem to stand a chance. It was quite a dire presentation, but so much research went into it and so much is being done to try to give them a fighting chance, it just blew me away. He was basically who I want to be when I grow up.
Another wonderful day for birds in the New River Valley :)