Brant, B. b. hrota
On 10 April 2009, Nick Bonomo, doing the work of an active and skilled field birder, located an adult Black Brant off the coast of Short Beach in Stratford, Fairfield County. This bird was with a thousand or so Brant that had been frequenting the jetties and mud flats at the mouth of the Housatonic River where it meets the Sound. The weather was deteriorating when he found it late in the day and the light was fading fast. The next day was even worse with a mixture of sleet and cold rain making observation a chore at best. I relocated the bird on 11 April 2009 in the same general location Nick found it the day before. It was with a few hundred Brant about 300 yards offshore. I managed a few poor digiscoped images before the bird flew around into the mouth of the river and eventually re-appeared on the sand bars off of Milford Point, New Haven County.
Out of the water, the dark, nearly blackish collar joined the dark breast creating an all-dark look to the front of the bird. This darkness continued down under the bird between its legs and to the lower belly, stopping at the white under tail area. The Black Brant seemed more robust that the other brant present.
While similar to Black Brant, this bird showed more contrast between the breast and the black neck stocking and showed a smaller white patch at the sides of the neck and not the nearly complete bold collar of Black Brant. The white at the rear flanks was not as crisp as appears on Black Brant. The bird was significanltly darker below than should be shown by eastern brant, hrota.