Monday, May 21, 2018

Double Trouble SP 5/21--Bay-breasted Warbler

Eagles stay still; warblers don't
It was a bifurcated birding day. I had to be in Manhattan this morning for some minor unpleasantness so I was in Central Park, at Tanner's Spring, where I immediately saw a Swainson's Thrush. A redstart came in, I heard an Overbird and Northern Waterthrush, but after about a half hour I felt I had to move on. I always feed rushed birding Central Park--it is a  perfect example of no matter where you are you feel like you should be somewhere else.

I did have a few enjoyable sightings in the couple of hours I was there. At Turtle Pond I heard a song that seemed familiar and oriole-like but not quite and yet it did indeed turn out to be a bright male Baltimore Oriole singing at the top of a bald cypress.

In the maintenance meadow I saw a female oriole going in and out of her basket nest, presumably feeding chicks. And along a peninsula that juts into the lake I found a very close Wilson's Warbler, one that was so confiding I didn't really need my bins to admire it.

I spent some time in The Ramble; the park was crawling with birders. Even when I lived in Brooklyn, Central Park birders had a reputation for snootiness. Where else are you going to see, as I once did, a birder in tweeds and a bow tie? Today was no different. One birder deigned to ask me if I knew about the oriole nest, this after I was standing beneath it looking up at it, and no one was really sharing anything they saw. All whispering as if they're in a museum, while all around them jackhammers are rattling the ground and truck horns are sounding. If the birds don't mind that, then speaking in a normal voice isn't going to scare them away.

After I did what I had to do I hustled out of town as fast as I could. Even with walking from the west side of the park to Second Avenue I didn't quite make my 10,000 steps, so I stopped off at Double Trouble on the way home, even though it was way past noon by the time I started. I didn't really expect to see much and certainly didn't expect to find, finally, a year bird warbler--Bay-breasted Warbler, up by Ore Pond.  I just walked the little loop to Ore Pond from the parking lot back to the sawmill and over to the sorting house. At Ore Pond I've fallen into the habit of scanning the power line towers that you can see across the water--I'd say 50% of the time an eagle is sitting atop one of them. Today was one of those days.

With the trees just about fully leafed out, finding the warblers gets more difficult by the day. I find that I lose the bird if I bring down my binoculars. I'll be sorry to see migration end, I suppose, but at least then I can switch over to not finding shorebirds in the reeds.
One thing I like about turtles: They don't flit around very fast

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Bombay Hook & Environs 5/18-5/19--Common Gallinule, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Red-necked Phalarope, Grasshopper Sparrow

Common Gallinule, Bear Swamp Pool
(click any photo to enlarge)
Shari & I spent a rain-soaked 11th Wedding Anniversary in Delaware, birding Bombay Hook and surrounding fields. With the forecast showing hourly rows of cloud icons spewing rain, we thought of ditching the whole idea but since there is a great Indian restaurant in Dover and I had promised to finally go to the Victrola Museum which I had always resisted, we decided to go anyway and I'm happy we did.

This is probably blasphemy coming from a Jersey birder, but I prefer Bombay Hook over Brig. Brig is one big loop and once you're on it, you're on it for 8 miles, while Bombay Hook is a series of pools and fields that offer different habitats and there are a number of patterns you can drive--if the birding is unproductive you're not stuck in a bird-free zone for miles.

Black-necked Stilts, Bear Swamp Pool
There are 2 year birds I hope/expect to get when we go to Delaware. One--American Avocet--is almost a gimme, while the other--Black-necked Stilt--can be a little more elusive.  When we arrived at the refuge, after stopping a couple of times to scan the flooded fields where there were hundreds of plovers, dowitchers and Dunlins, it was drizzly and windy. The first pool, Raymond, had thousands of shorebirds, mostly Semipalmated Sandpipers, more dowitchers and Dunlins. The second pool, Shearness, had no shorebirds as it was deeper, but contained both white egrets and Great Blue Herons, as well as geese. I was idly counting geese when I found the Black-necked Stilt feeding alone just to the right of the geese. A couple of years ago we were in this exact spot (or so it seems in retrospect) when we were down there with Bob Auster and he got his life stilt. The rain continued for most of our drive, so were weren't able to walk any trails and I only briefly pished at the turnaround at Finis Pool. We did see 4 more stilts in Bear Swamp Pool which at least satisfied one condition of its name since there are no bears there and no swamp that I've ever found. I've seen it when there was no pool either. For the day, counting the Semipalmated Plovers we saw on Leipsic-Smyra Road and the Black-bellied Plovers on Whitehall Neck Road, we had 41 species, not bad for 3 hours with the windshield wipers slapping.
A very wet Bald Eagle
Today, our original plan was to go to the Victrola Museum first then bird the refuge again because there was supposed to be a break in the weather late morning, but instead it looked like the dry spell was going to be earlier so we drove north from Dover to the refuge. We got American Avocets first thing at Raymond Pool, which  seemed higher than yesterday, no surprise with all the rain. There were very few shorebirds in it while yesterday it was teeming with them. They all seemed to be on the mud flats in the bay since the tide was low. What struck us most today was the huge number of Bald Eagles we saw. Normally it is no big thing to find a few eagles on the refuge, but we were seeing 5 or 6 at a time just sitting on the flats or roosting in trees. I listed 20 for eBird but that is probably an undercount. Someone two days before listed 69 and claimed it was an exact count! Those are more like Alaska numbers than Delaware.

I was satisfied having found our two target birds, so when we got to Bear Swamp Pool and saw a birder in a car up ahead pointing down into the reeds I was really happy to discover he was pointing out a Common Gallinule. I jumped out of the car, thinking the bird would be listed as rare, but they're "expected" in Kent County, Delaware. Still glad to get a good photo of one walking. You rarely see them hoofing it.
Turkey Vulture with a wind-blown ruffed collar
Driving out of the refuge we stopped at field on the road between Bear Swamp and Shearness to see what a couple of birder were looking at. As soon as Shari shut off the car she hear the little buzzy call of a Grasshopper Sparrow, which I missed, of course. However, after a few minutes of standing in what was amazingly dry weather, we both go on the sparrow sitting atop a sweet gum sapling. It was singing, if you want to call it that, and another sparrow was responding from across the road. Photography on this bird was not an option due to distance and activity.

We had lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant and than found the Victrola Museum in the "historic" section of Dover. I always think historic districts in little towns and cities are only there because they weren't worth tearing down and redeveloping, not because the citizens cherished their dilapidated structures. For whatever inexplicable reason, Shari has wanted to go to this museum since she saw it listed in a "Thing to do in Dover" pamphlet and I've always resisted, thinking it would cut into birding time, but, as it was our anniversary I agreed beforehand that we would go and, frankly, it was interesting. E.J. Johnson, the man who started the Victor Company, invented some essential spring for Victrolas and from that humble start made a fortune in manufacturing the players and recording the discs that played on them. The museum collects Victor records (but not RCA Victor) and has 50,000 of them. They also have dozens of vintage Victrolas, but what I found most amusing was their gigantic collection of Nipper models. Those of us old enough to remember records know who Nipper is, even if we don't recognize the name. For those who don't, here he is:


It wasn't raining after we left the museum, so we thought we do one more run around the refuge on the way home. We were driving up Whitehall Neck Road, which leads into the refuge, when we stopped because we saw thousands of shorebirds in the fields which only have very short sprouting plants in them and after all the rain are virtual ponds, maybe lakes. There were hundreds of Black-bellied Plovers in the giant puddles and a couple of birders standing on the side of the road. We stopped and I told Shari, half-jokingly, to ask them if they had seen any American Golden Plovers. "One" was the answer. I jumped out of the car, just as 10,000 assorted plovers, dowitchers, dunlins, and one American Golden Plover, flew off. And there were still hundreds of birds in the field.

One of the birders, peering into his scope, said he didn't see the golden plover anymore but, hey, here's a Red-necked Phalarope. He was quite casual. I called to Shari to get out our scope, looked through his, and, what else, couldn't find the bird. Shari set up the scope, looked, boom, found the bird. I looked, looked, looked, and didn't find the bird. Rain had started, first an annoying drizzle, then heavy enough for me to go back to the car to get my rain gear back on. Shari kept scanning the little corn stalks where the phalarope had been feeding and just when I said "I hate to end this day on such a sour note" she found the bird again and this time I could see it too, red neck and thin beak, actively feeding, proving once again Zirlin's 2nd law of birding which is you won't find the bird until you sincerely give up on finding it.

We drove into the refuge but got no farther than the parking lot, as by now the rain had become torrential and neither of us had any interest in looking for birds through rivulets of water on our car windows. We left and it wasn't a half hour before I got an email from the eBird reviewer of Kent County querying my listing.

Five year birds for me (and 21 for Shari), good food, and one more item (the museum) off Shari's bucket list made for a very entertaining if very wet weekend. Happy Anniversary, sweetheart.

Our two day list.
Species               Location
Canada Goose   Bombay Hook
Mallard   Bombay Hook
American Black Duck   Bombay Hook
Horned Grebe   Bombay Hook
Double-crested Cormorant   Bombay Hook
Great Blue Heron   Bombay Hook
Great Egret   Bombay Hook
Snowy Egret   Bombay Hook
Black-crowned Night-Heron   Bombay Hook
Turkey Vulture   Bombay Hook
Osprey   Bombay Hook
Bald Eagle   Whitehall Neck Rd.
Red-tailed Hawk   Bombay Hook
Clapper Rail   Bombay Hook
Common Gallinule   Bombay Hook
Black-necked Stilt   Bombay Hook
American Avocet   Bombay Hook
Black-bellied Plover   Whitehall Neck Rd.
Semipalmated Plover   Smyrna Leipsic Rd
Dunlin   Bombay Hook
Least Sandpiper   Whitehall Neck Rd.
Semipalmated Sandpiper   Bombay Hook
Short-billed Dowitcher   Whitehall Neck Rd.
Red-necked Phalarope   Whitehall Neck Rd.
Spotted Sandpiper   Bombay Hook
Greater Yellowlegs   Bombay Hook
Willet   Bombay Hook
Herring Gull   Bombay Hook
Caspian Tern   Bombay Hook
Forster's Tern   Bombay Hook
Black Skimmer   Bombay Hook
Eastern Phoebe   Bombay Hook
Great Crested Flycatcher   Bombay Hook
Eastern Kingbird   Bombay Hook
White-eyed Vireo   Bombay Hook
Blue Jay   Bombay Hook
Fish Crow   304 S Governors Ave, Dover
Purple Martin   Bombay Hook
Tree Swallow   Bombay Hook
Barn Swallow   Bombay Hook
House Wren   Bombay Hook
Marsh Wren   Bombay Hook
Carolina Wren   Bombay Hook
Wood Thrush   Bombay Hook
American Robin   Bombay Hook
Gray Catbird   Bombay Hook
Brown Thrasher   Bombay Hook
Northern Mockingbird   N Dupont Hwy, Dover
European Starling   Smyrna Leipsic Rd
Ovenbird   Bombay Hook
Common Yellowthroat   Bombay Hook
American Redstart   Bombay Hook
Yellow Warbler   Bombay Hook
Grasshopper Sparrow   Bombay Hook
Field Sparrow   Bombay Hook
Eastern Towhee   Bombay Hook
Northern Cardinal   Bombay Hook
Blue Grosbeak   Bombay Hook
Indigo Bunting   Bombay Hook
Red-winged Blackbird   Whitehall Neck Rd.
Brown-headed Cowbird   Bombay Hook
Common Grackle   Bombay Hook
Boat-tailed Grackle   Bombay Hook
American Goldfinch   Whitehall Neck Rd.
House Sparrow   Bombay Hook
Blue Grosbeak

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Birder in the Workplace

I don’t know how the conversation started at the other end of the office.
Angela was saying to Mickey, “It’s a goose.”
“What’s a goose?” I asked
“The bird in the AFLAC commercial.”
I rose from my desk and walked the length of the office.
Angela, it’s a duck.”
“It’s a goose, it’s white.”
“Ducks can be white. Muscovy ducks, domestic ducks, Long Island ducks.
They’re all white.”
She insisted that ducks aren’t white.
Not having a picture handy, I turned to poetry.
Angela, geese go HONK! Ducks go QUACK!
Which one rhymes with AFLAC?”
So stunned is she with my indisputable proof
That she walks back to her desk and answers the phone
While I walk back to mine, happy to use poetics
In everyday life.


Clockwise from top left: Domestic ducks (Rouen on right), Colliers Mills; Muscovy Duck, Fletcher Lake;
Domestic Ducks, Clove Lakes Park

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Waretown 5/15--Mississippi Kite

My heart sank a couple of weeks ago when I saw that a Mississippi Kite had returned to Waretown for the fourth year in a row. You would think that I'd be excited by this bird, the first known nester of this species in NJ and I would be if it was in a refuge or a WMA. But because the bird  perversely chose a residential neighborhood--it probably wouldn't have even been discovered had not a birder lived across the street from where it roosted--the return meant that I would have the unpleasant experience once again of skulking around quiet streets peering with binoculars at snags, tall trees, and the sky. Quiet streets that is until the local dogs catch sight of me and all start barking--one German shepherd looked last week like it was going to smash through the picture window it had its front paws against. 

For various reasons I didn't have a chance to go down there until last week. I gave myself a half hour and saw nothing. The only skill involved in this kind of birding is persistence--how many times are you willing to go to same spot and wait for a bird to show up? 

Today I was down in Barnegat again and made the Waretown intersection my last stop. There were no other birders around, I guess because everyone else who wanted to see the bird has already been there and seen it. I walked to the intersection where the dead tree is that the bird used to roost in. I'd been told that it no longer roosted there but elsewhere nearby. Still, I looked longingly up at the bare branches. Then I saw a hawk flying and got excited for a mere moment until I realized it was a Red-tailed Hawk. Then, far up and way, I saw the kite. With my clearer vision it was easy to see the all gray bird with a pale head. It was easy to see but impossible to photograph. I followed it as it circled overhead, presumably catching large flying insects. It went directly above me and just before I lost sight of it, I saw a second one! This is not totally surprising since it does take two to nest, but up until today, all reports had been of a single bird. That was the only time I had two birds in sight simultaneously but I was able to watch one of them fly around for quite a long time, as these sightings are measured, and at one point the kite swooped down low enough for me to point and shoot the picture above. The narrow pointed wings and squarish tail are field marks. You can't see the color as I did. 

So, "oh, great," became "great!" and after twenty minutes I left, never having to go back to that section of Waretown...until next year. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mercer Corporate Park 5/14--Least Bittern

Yet again, a post centered on hearing.
Aside from listing some backyard birds yesterday, just to keep my eBird streak going, I had no desire to go out after the marathon of the WSB. Today, after more pussy cat business in Forked River and a trip to the dump, I decided to take it easy and try to find the King Rail reported for the 2nd year in a row at Mercer Corporate Park. It was just about this time last year that we saw it there. It turned out to be a case of dip on one bird, find another.

When I arrived, Scott and Linda were already there, and they quickly disabused me of any notion of finding the rail. Not heard or seen by them. However, Scott told me that they'd heard the Least Bittern. Least Bittern is the first rarity that was found a MCP. It sort of put the little place on the birding map. Now, I've seen a few Least Bitterns, including one last year at MCP, but I'm sure I've never heard one. So when Scott heard the bird again I listened hard. Apparently, I can hear low sounds because I was able to almost immediately hear the "coo coo coo" of the bittern.

Had I been on my own, I'd have probably thought it was a Black-billed Cuckoo, though I hope that I would also realize that a marsh would be a pretty odd place for a cuckoo. Nevertheless, after hearing it call multiple times at two locations around the marshy pond (as opposed to the open pond in the front), I was willing to count it as a year bird.

For a tiny patch of water and fields, hard by the Turnpike, the "park" gets a remarkable amount of birds. I wasn't really birding very hard there and here's what I came up with just standing in a few place in the road:
28 species
Canada Goose 40
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Least Bittern 1
Great Egret 1
Turkey Vulture 5
Osprey 1
Bald Eagle 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Spotted Sandpiper 5
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Lesser Yellowlegs
2
Rock Pigeon 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 Heard
Northern Flicker 1
Willow Flycatcher 2
Eastern Kingbird 3
Warbling Vireo 1 Heard
Purple Martin 1
Tree Swallow 15
Barn Swallow 5
American Robin 20
Gray Catbird 2
European Starling 10
Northern Waterthrush 1 Heard
Yellow Warbler 1 Heard
Song Sparrow 1 Heard
Red-winged Blackbird 50
Brown-headed Cowbird 1


Then, because I hadn't been there in a while, I drove over to the northern end of the Union Transportation Trail. It was already 1 o'clock, so I had low expectations, but virtually the first bird I saw there was a Blackpoll Warbler and birds seemed to be present every 100 yards or so on my two mile walk. I always think of the UTT has a good place for Indigo Bunting and they didn't disappoint today. In all I had 39 species, which I consider great for a midday stroll.
Canada Goose 23
Wood Duck 2 Flushed from reeds in Assunpink Creek
Turkey Vulture 4
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Spotted Sandpiper 1 In bare field
Rock Pigeon 2
Mourning Dove 5
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 Heard
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1 Heard
Great Crested Flycatcher 3
White-eyed Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 1 Heard
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 1
Fish Crow 2
Tree Swallow 2
Tufted Titmouse 1
Carolina Wren 1 Heard
Wood Thrush 1 Heard singing in Assunpink woods
American Robin 8
Gray Catbird 10
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 20
Ovenbird 3 Heard
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 5
Yellow Warbler
2
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Chipping Sparrow 2
White-throated Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 2
Indigo Bunting 4
Red-winged Blackbird 15
Brown-headed Cowbird 4
Common Grackle 5
American Goldfinch 3
House Sparrow 4


Since I have no photos of birds today, how about some pictures of abandoned cars by the side of the path. It reminds me of my days birding the salt marshes in Brooklyn:
VW
Truck

Sunday, May 13, 2018

WSB @ Brig 5/12--White-faced Ibis, White-rumped Sandpiper, Gull-billed Tern, Black Skimmer, Willow Flycatcher, Blackpoll Warbler

Yay! The Black Skimmers are back!
If there is anything that can dampen my enthusiasm for birding, it is the 13th or 14th hour of birding for the World Series of Birding at Brig which I did with Pete & Mike yesterday, going around the dikes for the 3rd time, hoping for one more bird to add to our list. It is at that point that all the little doubts about one's sanity bloom into full-fledged certainties--I am crazy to be doing this. What difference does it make if we find a Peregrine Falcon or not? (We did.)

If anything proves the adage, "The competition is so fierce because the rewards are so small," it is the World Series of Birding. Hundreds of people running around the state ticking off birds, trying to win in a myriad of categories. If no one remembers who wins, I guess that's all right--it's really about raising money for NJ Audubon.

Unlike Christmas counts, which you can persuade yourself have some scientific value, the WSB is birding at its most basic and boring: See bird--or more likely hear bird--tick bird. That's it. In a place like Brig you don't even have to scout. If you're doing the whole state or even a county, then planning the route is probably the most skillful aspect of the day, but at Brig, it's just loop after loop after loopy loop. By lunch we had well over 80 species. After that it seems like diminishing returns.

Not that there weren't positives in the day--I added six year birds including one common rarity (White-faced Ibis) and one family fave (Black Skimmer). However, a typical good day this time of the year would yield the same results.

Probably the highlight of the day for me was not just seeing the Blackpoll Warbler that Mike found along the Gull Pond road, but hearing the Blackpoll Warbler sing. That's how close we were to it--my ears could bring in the thin buzz of a Blackpoll.

Another happy sound was the "fitz-bew" of a Willow Flycatcher. I was even happier when we saw one. And if was good to get White-rumped Sandpiper on the list. This is a bird I'd be reluctant to even look for in the thousands of peeps on the mudflats, but Pete and Mike are better at picking out the slightly larger birds with the longer wings than I am, so, if there was any bird that was my reward for over 16 hours of intensive birding, it is the Whie-rumped. As I said, the rewards are so small.

Our team, in various configurations, racked up 112 species for the day, not bad for a "Century Run." Out of all the birds listed, the only one I regret not getting is Saltmarsh Sparrow, but that will eventually be added.

We started the day at Leed's Point and Mott's Creek getting Whip-poor-will and Chuck and ended the day with nice looks at the Peregrine Falcon. Here's everything I'm willing to list:

Brant
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
American Black Duck
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
White- faced Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Clapper Rail
American Oystercatcher
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Spotted Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Whimbrel
Ruddy Turnstone
Dunlin
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Bonaparte's Gull
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Mourning Dove
Chuck-will's-widow
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Peregrine Falcon
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Ovenbird
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Magnolia Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Seaside Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
House Finch

Friday, May 11, 2018

Cloverdale Farm 5/11--Solitary Sandpiper

Northern Waterthrush, Cloverdale Farm
Since the cat decided to start our day at 5 AM, I was at Cloverdale Farm very early this morning. It was an entertaining stroll around the bogs. The first bird of interest was a Northern Waterthrush bopping along the back edge of one of the bogs. Just by its tottering gait I knew what it was a waterthrush and since there was no moving water, most likely Northern and the buffy breast and no white throat confirmed the i.d. Believe me, I saw it better than this photograph shows. A county bird.

Moving along, about 5 minutes later I flushed a Solitary Sandpiper, one of the birds I was hoping to find there. It gave a couple of little cheeps and flew off over the trees toward the back reservoir. I saw it again (or another one) while walking back that way, but I saw the species best on my way back to the parking lot when I passed the reservoir in front of the visitor's center and found bird #2 (or #3), feeding in the shallows. Year bird.

Great Crested Flycatcher investigating nest box
at Cloverdale Farm
Yesterday, on Scott's trip, he mentioned that Great Crested Flycatcher are actually cavity nesters, like woodpeckers or chickadees. I filed that little fact away so it was hardly buried in memory when I saw a Great Crested poking around a nest box nailed to tree near the parking lot. I'd like to check back to see if the box actually gets used by the flycatcher.

I didn't walk through the woods out to Granpa's bog today--I've found that it usually isn't very productive and there were other places I wanted to hit today. My list was decent for the time spent.

35 species
Canada Goose 2
Mallard 1
Great Egret 1
Turkey Vulture 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Solitary Sandpiper 2
Laughing Gull 3 f/o
Mourning Dove 8
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Eastern Wood-Pewee 3
Great Crested Flycatcher 3
Eastern Kingbird 4
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 1
Fish Crow 2
Tree Swallow 5
Tufted Titmouse 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
House Wren 1
Carolina Wren 2
Eastern Bluebird 4
Wood Thrush 1 Heard
American Robin 6
Gray Catbird 6
Brown Thrasher 1
Cedar Waxwing 12
Ovenbird 2 Heard
Northern Waterthrush 1
Chipping Sparrow 5
Song Sparrow 2
Eastern Towhee 1 Heard
Northern Cardinal 4
Red-winged Blackbird 25
Common Grackle 20
American Goldfinch 1


Wood Thrush, Taylor Lane
I went next to Taylor's Lane, a dirt road off Rt 9 in Barnegat that turns into a muddy path and runs through yet another section of Forsythe's patchy NWR. It is amazing how many seemingly random parcels of land they've pieced together up the coast from Galloway to Brick and I'm all for it. There were lots of warblers in the woods--redstarts, parulas, Black-throated Green Warbler, plus a gillion catbirds. I saw/heard at least 5 Wood Thrushes, most of them on either the road or feeding directly in front of me on the path. However, the bird I was hoping for, Acadian Flycatcher, was not present, or at least was not calling "Pit-za!"

My final stop was the Manahawkin WMA where there were loads of egrets, herons and ibis, plus a good mix of shorebirds. I also there, on a a narrow, overgrown trail I was hesitant to walk because I was carrying the scope, probably the best bird of the day, a very neat Wilson's Warbler, beady eye and black cap showing well, making up for the disappointing sighting from yesterday. I also took my only decent photograph of the day there, this very determined Spotted Sandpiper, one of the 5 or so that were feeding on the mud flats. (Click photos to enlarge)
Spotted Sandpiper, Manahawkin WMA
The paths at Manahawkin are getting overgrown and soon they'll be waist high. I think there may be one more trip possible there before the threat of ticks and chiggers outweighs the excitement of a possible rarity.
49 species
Canada Goose 2
Mute Swan 10 with cygnets, unfortunately
Wood Duck 1
Gadwall 2
Mallard 2
American Black Duck 12
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Egret 20
Snowy Egret 30
Little Blue Heron 2 One adult and one FY bird
Glossy Ibis 16
Turkey Vulture 6
Osprey 1
Semipalmated Plover 75
Least Sandpiper 30
Semipalmated Sandpiper 15
Spotted Sandpiper 5
Greater Yellowlegs 10
Willet 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 5
Herring Gull 3
Forster's Tern 5
Mourning Dove 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 Heard
Northern Flicker 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 3 Heard
White-eyed Vireo 2
Fish Crow 1
Tree Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 2
Carolina Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3
Wood Thrush 2
American Robin 6
Gray Catbird 16
Brown Thrasher 1
Ovenbird 4 Heard
Common Yellowthroat 7
Northern Parula 1 Heard
Yellow Warbler 10
Wilson's Warbler 1 Near parking lot on Hilliard Blvd side
Seaside Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 2
Eastern Towhee 4
Northern Cardinal 1 forested area
Red-winged Blackbird 30
Brown-headed Cowbird 3
House Finch 1 Back impoundment, singing on snag