|Digiscope of Roseate Spoonbill|
so when Mike suggested we chase it today, I was ready to go.
Heislerville, on the Delaware Bay, is a two Wawa trip from Ocean County and there is no good way to get there. You have to go down the Parkway, cut across west then go north, then go west again and the last stretch of road is reminiscent of Tobacco Road. However, as soon as we hit the impoundment area we saw a few birders on the side of the road. We knew one of them and they had the bird. So, it was just as we wrote it up in the birding playbook. Get there, get the bird, admire bird for 5 minutes, get going. As I don't bird Cumberland County very much and usually only in the spring, I was able to build up my county list there to the even century mark.
But then we continued south to Cape May County. The good thing about getting a rarity early and first is that the pressure on the day is taken off and you if you just sort of putz around and bird here and there it's all right, which is pretty much what we were doing--we did a brief, unsuccessful search for a Wood Stork around Lily Lake--when I got an email from Greg. He had a phalarope at Whitesbog.
To make it more intriguing, it was difficult to say whether it was a Red-necked Phalarope or a Red Phalarope. The latter would have been a year bird for me, both would have been year birds for Mike so we turned around and headed back north--and there is no good way to get to Whitesbog from Cape May so it took an hour and 45 minutes plus another Wawa stop to get there. Only to find out that the bird could not be relocated by a couple of other Whitesbog birders Greg had alerted. Mike and I spent a few hours there scoping the bogs and walking around but the only birds we found were the expected Whitesbog regulars. Again, had we not found our target bird in the morning, there would have been much gnashing of teeth and bemoaning of fate on my part. As it was, it turned out to be what Mike calls a good stretch of the legs.
Now if only the spoonbill would come back to Ocean County.