Pomfret (Windham County)
Status: Recognized IBA
Ownership: The Connecticut Audubon Society, Wyndham Land Trust
Nominator: Andy Rzeznikiewicz, The Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Pomfret, and Wyndham Land Trust
Size: ~1056 Acres in protection
Location: 41° 52’ N, 71° 57’ W
Primary—Mix of habitats
Secondary—Conifer forest, deciduous forest, shrub, field, grassland, non-tidal freshwater marsh, swamp, river/stream, pond/lake
Primary—Nature and wildlife conservation, other recreation or tourism, agriculture/livestock, undeveloped
Secondary—Hunting/fishing, forestry, water supply, utility/right-of-way, suburban/residential
Serious—Invasive or non-native plants, development of unprotected lands
Minor—Introduced animals, cowbird parasitism, predators, pollution, disturbance to birds or habitat
Potential—Habitat conversion (succession), development
Site Description: Of the 1056 acres in protection, 692 acres are owned by The Connecticut Audubon Society, and 366 acres belong to the Wyndham Land Trust. Some of the remarkable natural features of this property include a large beaver pond, extensive fields, a hemlock ravine, three large brooks, flood plains, vernal pools, alder thickets, and wet meadows. Some trails have interpretive signage. The Connecticut Audubon Society's resident staff naturalists serve as caretakers of the property and offer guided bird walks and other environmental programs. A MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) bird banding station is in an early- to mid-successional area of the sanctuary.
IBA Criteria: Connecticut Endangered and Threatened Species; High Conservation Priority Species; Rare, Unique, or Representative Habitat; 500+ Waterfowl (winter) 1000+ Waterfowl (staging); Long-term Research and/or Monitoring.
Birds: Bafflin Sanctuary provides a variety of habitats that support numerous species of birds. Endangered Pied-billed Grebes and American Black Ducks (high conservation priority) have been known to nest in the wetlands here. These areas are also a migratory stopover for American Bittern in the fall. Numerous Northern Harriers are found in the grasslands yearly during the winter and also during both spring and fall migration. One threatened, American Kestrel, and three species of special concern in the state, Eastern Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrow, and Bobolink, breed in the grassland habitat and also use the area as a stopover. The early successional habitat at Bafflin, consisting of old field, shrub/scrub, and young woodlands, provides breeding grounds for several WatchList species and/or species of high conservation priority including American Woodcock, Blue-winged Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Field Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Black-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Kingbird, Baltimore Oriole, and Orchard Oriole. Brown Thrasher (special concern) and Purple Martin (state threatened), also breed here, and it is a winter roost for endangered Long-eared Owls (state endangered). The woodland habitat, like the early successional, also hosts a variety of high conservation priority species. Eastern Wood Pewee, Louisiana Waterthrush, Wood Thrush, Worm-eating Warbler, Canada Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Purple Finch, Scarlet Tanager, and Red-breasted Grosbeak all breed in the woodlands at Bafflin Sanctuary.
Non-avian Resources: Until recently, this property was a working dairy farm, and about 100 acres is an old golf course. It’s the site of year-round birding tours with The Connecticut Audubon Society.
Existing Conservation Measures: Invasive species are being removed or controlled to some extent on The Connecticut Audubon Society's and Wyndham Land Trust properties. Both organizations are monitoring the surrounding lands to take advantage of any acquisition opportunities.