Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Here & There in Ocean County 1/22--Ring-necked Pheasant, Greater Yellowlegs, Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird, New Egypt
I got a late start today as I waited for the wind chill temperature to at least rise to double digits. Yesterday was just too cold for me--fortunately, I had things to do so in a way I was happy that birding was untenable since I couldn't bird anyway.  Finally, around 10:30 it was around 20 degrees air temperature and with the wind finally ceasing, I drove up to New Egypt to test the weather. Amazingly comfortable, wearing 4 layers of shirts plus my coat. At the "feed lot" on Inman Road (those who have been there see the joke within the scare quotes--those who haven't are lucky) I was greeted by easily 1500 starlings, but within that ever-moving flock I was able to pick out, at last, a few Brown-headed Cowbirds who were gleaning seeds off the frozen mud. I'd heard about Rusty Blackbirds out there, but I hear about Rusty Blackbirds out there every winter and never see them and today was no exception.

Ring-necked Pheasant, New Egypt
On Brynmore, beneath the tangles which are always a good sparrow spot, I saw a much larger bird which I at first took for a raptor resting on the ground but instead turned out to be a Ring-necked Pheasant. As I've said before, I won't count a pheasant in a WMA, but if one has survived the hunting season and made it all the way over to New Egypt, it's free-roaming and wild enough for me. Besides, Ma, everyone else counts them!

The farmer was busy dumping vegetables for the cattle to eat with a front-loader so I didn't want to be too much in the way. As I was driving back on Inman, I looked up in the dead tree there, where often an eagle is found and saw much smaller raptor. I was looking directly into the sun through the windshield. I got out and found an angle where I could get a look at the bird without destroying my retinas and decided that it was not a Merlin but rather a Sharp-shinned Hawk. When I walked back to my car I saw that a white Helmeted Guineafowl was inspecting my door handle. I didn't count it.

I then decided to to head down toward the bay, thinking I might put together enough short walks to equal one of my regular ones. At Bamber Lake I was surprised to see find some open water and even more surprised to find around 80 Tundra Swans on the ice in the water, swimming with a big flock of geese. There was also a separate draw of water that had a big group of Ring-necked Ducks with some Hooded Mergansers mixed in. Unfortunately, no Merlins or sapsuckers there, the birds I was kinda sorta looking for.
42 Tundra Swans by my count on the ice of Bamber Lake
I scanned the bay from Bay Parkway in Sands Point and was surprised to find a two Black Scoters and a Surf Scoter, birds I usually expect to find in the ocean. The end of Bay Parkway is one of those spots where guys go to read the paper in their car to get away from their wives, guys in trucks park there and do their paperwork or just goof off, and some people just like to drive down to the end of the road to assure themselves that it actually ends, look at the water and turn around. I ignore all these people, usually not looking up at the sounds of their vehicles approaching. Today a woman got out of a big Denali, looked at the water and asked if I'd seen any eagles. I wanted to say, "Sure, I always see eagles swimming in the bay," or "Shouldn't you be driving a pick-up truck?" but a curt no was sufficient to make her go away.

Greater Yellowlegs, Poplar Street Boat Launch
I drove over to the Poplar Street boat launch not expecting much beyond common ducks, so I was very happy to find my FOY Greater Yellowlegs calling and running around on the far shore. I had planned to go over to Eno's Pond to look for them, though with so much water frozen I didn't think my chances were good.

It turns out I was wrong, because the pond and creek were mostly open and in that little spot I had two more yellowlegs, more Mallards, black ducks, hoodies, and 2 Pied-billed Grebes as well as a Belted Kingfisher.
Greater Yellowlegs, Enos Pond
Pied-billed Grebe, Enos Pond
It took a couple of loops around the trails at Enos but I was able to get my four miles of walking in, something I didn't expect when I woke up to minus 3 wind chill. I also managed 42 species for the day, including the backyard list I did while waiting for more temperate conditions.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

New Egypt 1/20--Wild Turkey

There was a brief window of birding opportunity today between the precipitation and the precipitous temperature drop. I wasn't certain when I left the house if the rain was completely finished (it wasn't) so, wanting to stay close to home, I headed out to New Egypt to see if I could snag any relatively common birds that I still don't have on my year list.

The first bird I saw was a Bald Eagle, sitting in the big dead tree just before the driveway but eagles aren't that interesting to me. I wanted birds like grackles or cowbirds that are usually abundantly associating with the longhorns and there were none, again, to be found.

If not those birds, then perhaps an unusual sparrow in the tangles along Brynmore and I did find one Fox Sparrow in with the White-throated and Song Sparrows, but no White-crowned Sparrow, this being one of the few places in the county where you might find one. All this time it was either showering or drizzling but when that slackened off, I got out of the car and took a brief walk along the tree line that screens the big cornfield. Finally, in the driveway of the Lone Silo farm, I got a year bird: 25 Wild Turkeys. Turkey is a common bird hereabouts but last year it took me 'til March to see some, so I was happy for the entertainment. Unfortunately, I wasn't burdening myself with my camera, so I only could take photos with my phone.

By the time I was walking back on Brynmore the wind was picking up so even though the air temperature was still in the mid 40's the "real feel" was getting low. I decided to driver over and scout out Whitesbog to see if the bogs were frozen over. Next week is the Pinelands Survey and Whitesbog comprises most of  my territory. The water there is about 50% frozen and 99% birdless. I walked from the village out to the Upper Reservoir and it was on the reservoir that I finally tracked down the Tundra Swans, mostly sitting on the ice though a few seemed to have fallen through into the water. But those were the only birds I saw on the Ocean County side of Whitesbog and in Burlco I didn't do very much better, racking up a whole 7 species, though one was a Brown Creeper, a bird I always like to see. Yesterday I saw my first two at Colliers Mills.

But 8 species in 4 miles of walking? This does not bode well for my survey.

The New Egypt list is a little interesting:

15 species
Canada Goose 8
Wild Turkey 25
Rock Pigeon 55
Turkey Vulture 1
Northern Harrier 2
Bald Eagle 1
Blue Jay 1 Heard
American Crow 2
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 50
Fox Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 10
Song Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 6
House Sparrow 10

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Brig 1/17--Snow Goose, Northern Pintail, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk

Black-crowned Night-Heron, imm
I hadn't been to Brig in almost two months. I went down this morning, even though I knew most of the water would be frozen because suddenly I was in the mood for the refuge. The government shut down hasn't affected the refuge much yet, although it is going to take a while for them to get the road back in shape if it does ever end. There were no employees to be seen, but I noticed the flag was flying. I wonder who's in charge of that?

I knew, if nothing else I would get Snow Geese for the year. They have been scarce in the areas I've been birding so far, but at Brig there was a flock of 5000 according to my estimate. They were all in the impoundment at first, a distant white mass, then abruptly they all took flight and came right toward me. It was an awesome sound combining their 10,000 wings beating with their high-pitched honking as they flew above me over the drive and then semi-circling into the bay. I was relieved that none felt the need to jettison excess baggage.
Snow Geese with Atlantic City in the background
One of the reasons I like to do Brig on my own is that it gives me a chance to get my steps in instead of being confined to a car for an 8 mile drive. Today I parked the car at the head of the road to the Gull Pond and walked along the ditch that parallels it, hoping for the bittern that is seen there off and on. No luck there, but along with the Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets, I found 2 immature Black-crowned Night-Herons, a good winter bird and especially odd to see young birds. I don't know a lot about the aging of Night-Herons, but I'd speculate they were late hatches to still have their immature plumage this late in the winter.

Northern Pintail
I'd seen all the ducks you can expect in winter in New Jersey (you can't expect King Eider or Barrow's Goldeneye) except Northern Pintail until I found a hen with a mixed flock, then a group of ten and finally the bird on the right, a nice looking drake.

Because the water from frozen, almost all the ducks I saw were on the outside of the drive where the tides move the water around. Continuing a theme, there were no grebes to be found. The only shorebirds were Dunlins, first a couple of flybys, then a small flock off the west dike.

At the Gull Pond there seemed to be much excitement among the photographers about a pair of Bald Eagles and I have to say I got a little testy when one of them told me, as I was searching for the bittern, that I was "missing it" down by the tower. As she went on about their activities I felt compelled to cut her short, telling her I wasn't that interested in eagles--she seemed surprised, as if to say "What kind of birder is this guy?" but the raptor I really wanted was one that I don't see every other day--Red-shouldered Hawk. In the past, there was a tree at the end of the Gull Pond road where one used to perch but not lately. However, speaking to another photographer after I'd made my trip around and was on the Gull Pond road again, I found out that a hawk with a red breast (she didn't know what it was) was at the exit ponds (where I'd already been). "That's the bird I'm looking for," I told her. She showed me a picture on her camera and indeed it looked good for Red-shouldered. On my way out, I stopped on the road and looked into the ponds again. I heard a hawk screeching, but I couldn't find it. So I parked the car and walked back to the ponds and found a Red-shoulder up in a tree, obscured by branches. I was still hearing the calls, but they didn't seem to be coming from that bird. Then I looked up and saw the source, flying above the pond. It was the one year bird I wasn't able to photograph today.

I walked the upland portion a fair distance, but not much was going on--the best spot was at the exit ponds where there were robins, bluebirds, and a kingfisher that I pointed out to another photographer who had asked me if those two distant birds he couldn't get a picture of were eagles. They were.

For my first Brig trip of the year I had 33 species.
Snow Goose 5000
Brant 30
Canada Goose 370
Northern Shoveler 22
Gadwall 6
Mallard 60
American Black Duck 145
Northern Pintail 12
Ring-necked Duck 5
Bufflehead 85
Hooded Merganser 18
Ruddy Duck 11
Dunlin 21
Herring Gull 35
Great Blue Heron 7
Great Egret 3
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2
Turkey Vulture 1
Northern Harrier 4
Bald Eagle 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Belted Kingfisher 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
American Crow 5
Carolina Chickadee 8
Tufted Titmouse 3
Carolina Wren 2 Heard
Eastern Bluebird 10
American Robin 15
Dark-eyed Junco 1
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 15
Red-winged Blackbird 16

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Ocean County 1/15--Hermit Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, Swamp Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler

Hermit Thrush, Manahawkin WMA
Mike & I started off dark & early down in Barnegat along Collinstown Road, hoping for American Woodcock, which I fear is about to become a nemesis bird after being relatively easy for me to find until last year. For crying out loud, I once had one in the backyard, but today we must have been too late because at dawn there was no sign of them despite perfect habitat. Maybe the snow on the ground discouraged them.

No worries, as they say in Australia, we went over to the municipal dock to find a grebe for the county list. Lots of the usual ducks, but not a grebe in sight. Between us we've seen two this year--where are they all?

It wasn't until Taylor Lane, a little dirt road off of Route 9, that the birding started to pick up. Driving slowly with the windows open (and the heat on) we heard the distinct kissing note of a Hermit Thrush, FOY for both of us. The road peters out to mud after about 3/4 of a mile so we turned around and at the head of the road, just before Route 9, the birds started to come out. Along with usual sparrows, goldfinches, and cardinals, Mike heard a Cedar Waxwing--I don't hear waxwings unless they're on my shoulder. We got out of the car and there atop a tree with some sort of berry on it was a beautiful example. Mike says two, I saw one and that's all I need. So my favorite bird is on the year list.

Fox Sparrow, Manahawkin WMA
On to Manahawkin WMA for a walk where we were happy to see a couple of Hermit Thrushes instead of just listing a "heard only," bird. We also had a couple of nice sparrows--Fox Sparrow for Mike and Swamp Sparrow for both of us. We've reached the point where our lists are big enough for us to have to consider whether relatively common birds are new for the year or not and neither of us was sure about Swamp. I looked up my list and saw I didn't have it and Mike couldn't think of a place he'd had one so happiness prevailed.

Most of the water in the impoundments was frozen so we only had a couple of swans to list. No raptors. A female Belted Kingfisher was making the rounds--I guess there were enough open patches of water to make hunting worthwhile. On the way back we saw a Brown Thrasher fly across the path into the thickets. A few minutes later it emerged, flew around the bend in the trail was gone. They don't seem to respond to pishing. The thrasher was the 4th new bird, for me, for the year.

It's a good thing I keep a list of every stop because the sequence is already getting a little blurry in my memory. There was a stop at Tip Seaman Park in Tuckerton where there was lots of ducks of no consequence and then a ride down Great Bay Blvd with more ducks along the way. We took our scopes out to the inlet and Mike & I got into sort of mutual birding groove--in the water we found a Red-throated Loon simultaneously and then, scanning all the way over to the southern tip of Holgate on LBI, when I said, "I have a Northern Harrier" he said, "I have a Snowy Owl," so we switched scopes and both got both birds. The owl was sitting on a dune, very clear in the scope, with no photographers around--few make the 7 mile trek to that point. That's the way I like to see a Snowy Owl.

Our highlight bird was next. Mike "stepped away" for a minute and as I was scoping the bay in the other direction (finding a Common Loon for the day list) he called me over to a little patch of seaside goldenrod where he had a warbler. He couldn't get a good look at it and thought maybe it was a Palm Warbler, but I suspected that it was a "continuing" Orange-crowned Warbler, which I had chased down there more than a week ago. It popped up on a stalk of goldenrod and we both got excellent looks at this dun and shallow yellow warbler, probably the dullest warbler you're going to see but rare in NJ. I tried for pictures but the bird was way too active and aside from some nice botanical photographs, I came away empty.

On the drive north up the road we had a couple of Great Egrets, county birds for Mike, and after a Wawa stop, we continued on to Cloverdale Farm where the feeders were fairly active though siskin-less. We did add Pine Warbler to our list, so with the Yellow-rumped Warbler we had at Manahawkin, that made it a 3 warbler day, hard to do in mid-winter.

Bamber Lake was our next stop. Mike had never been there and since he needed Tundra Swans for the county it was a good excuse to show him where it was. We drove over to Toms River and added Canvasback to the day list and Lesser Scaup to our county lists. Marshall's Pond put Green-winged Teal on Mike's county list.

Finally, and I do mean finally, we drove over to Shelter Cove where, for the 3rd time I was looking for Wilson's Snipe. We found 5 American Tree Sparrows for Mike's list in the exactly the same tree where I'd seen two on Saturday, but no snipes, bookending the day nicely by failing to find two closely related species of non-shore shorebirds. The sun was setting--in the approximately 10 hours of daylight we had a day list of 65 species.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Field Next To Lakewood Wawa 1/13--Killdeer

After a long, cold North Shore NJ Audubon field trip on which I added 4 year birds (Green-winged Teal, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, & Snow Bunting), I needed both coffee and gas. To Wawa, naturally, but instead of going home the faster route and stopping at the one in South Toms River, I chose to go the slightly longer route and stop off at the store on Route 70 in Lakewood. There is a field adjacent to the parking lot there that is a reliable spot for Killdeer, which I still needed for the year. I scanned from the car and just before I thought "nope" I came upon a lump far in the back of the field which I thought might be a bird with its back to me and upon bringing out the scope it proved to be so. Happily, it turned around so I could take its distant portrait.

Over the years this field has not only had breeding Killdeer in it (I have pictures of a Killdeer chick to prove it),  but also Red-tailed Hawks, kingbirds, mockingbirds--the field is always worth a look. But, like almost every other private empty space in Lakewood it up for sale and development and the fact that the Killdeer will lose their breeding ground will not be an argument against another strip mall or condominiums. So I'm going to enjoy this field for as long as it lasts.

Like most Jersey birders, I spend way too much time and money in Wawas. Unlike most Jersey birders, I also spend way too much time documenting my stops. I also keep, thanks to the magic of eBird's database, a list of birds I've seen at the 94 (and counting) Wawa's I have visited. So far the list is up to 34 species, which seems remarkable to me considering we're talking about an acre of asphalt here. Of course, a lot of these are flyovers, but Mike did once take a picture of a Red-tailed Hawk siting atop the Wawa in Galloway. By far the most interesting bird I've seen at a Wawa was down in Cape Coral, Florida, where Muscovy Ducks (countable in Florida) were just hanging out along the fence line of the parking lot. But aside from the House Sparrows, pigeons, and starlings you'd expect to see in any parking lot, the list has on it some birds you would't expect to find when stopping for a bathroom break and then a bladder refill of coffee. This seems like an apt time to show my Wawa Patch List:
Species                Location
Canada Goose   Wawa South Toms River
Muscovy Duck   Wawa Cape Coral, FL
Mallard   Wawa County Line Rd
Rock Pigeon   Wawa South Toms River
Mourning Dove   Field next to Lakewood Wawa
Killdeer   Field next to Lakewood Wawa
Laughing Gull   Field next to Lakewood Wawa
Herring Gull   Wawa County Line Rd
Double-crested Cormorant   Wawa County Line Rd
Great Blue Heron   Wawa Rt 70 & CR 530
Great Egret   Wawa South Toms River
Black Vulture   Wawa Rt 130
Turkey Vulture   Field next to Lakewood Wawa
Bald Eagle   Wawa Woodstown
Red-tailed Hawk   Field next to Lakewood Wawa
Eastern Wood-Pewee   Wawa Rt 70 & CR 530
Eastern Kingbird   Field next to Lakewood Wawa
Blue Jay   Wawa 179 Route 37 E
American Crow   Field next to Lakewood Wawa
Fish Crow   Wawa-Jackson-1120 E Veterans Hwy
Common Raven   Wawa County Line Rd
Carolina Chickadee   Wawa Galloway
White-breasted Nuthatch   Wawa Rt 70 & CR 530
Carolina Wren   Wawa 179 Route 37 E
American Robin   Wawa County Line Rd
Gray Catbird   Wawa County Line Rd
Northern Mockingbird   Wawa County Line Rd
European Starling   Wawa Rt 70 & CR 530
House Finch   Wawa County Line Rd
Field Sparrow   Wawa South Toms River
Song Sparrow   Wawa County Line Rd
Common Grackle   Wawa Parsippany
Yellow Warbler   Wawa County Line Rd
Northern Cardinal   Wawa 179 Route 37 E
House Sparrow   Wawa Rt 70 & CR 530
Red-tailed Hawk, Wawa Galloway
Photo: Mike Mandracchia

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Shelter Cove 1/12--American Tree Sparrow

I started this very cold day off at Island Beach State Park, taking a brisk 3 mile round trip walk from the A23 lot down to the inlet. I was hoping for some new birds--gulls perhaps or even Snow Buntings. Nope. Not much, aside from ticking my county White-winged Scoter, which was good since I can remember a year when I couldn't find one until almost the very end of December and then only because Steve took pity on me and drove me to the spot on the beach where a small flock was hanging out.

Just before I was crossing over the dune I met a photographer coming off the beach who knew me though I couldn't place him at first. Turns out we'd met a couple of years ago at the Trenton Sewer Facility. He was there looking for Snowy Owls, of course. I was relieved when he told me he hadn't seen any because I'd be able to concentrate on other, more interesting birds. I hadn't walked more than a half mile, though, when I came upon a gaggle of photographers and saw the white lump high up on a dune. How that guy missed not one, but two owls, I don't know. The dunes are stringed off and I could tell the photographers were doing all they could to restrain themselves from ducking under so that they could give a proctological exam to the owls with their long lenses. Later, on my way back, I was talking to a fisherman who told me that when he'd arrived on the beach much earlier one of the owls was much closer but some photographers had spooked it back to where it was now. By that time the 2nd, closer, owl I'd seen on my way south was gone. Good, let them take lousy pictures of a owl sitting behind dune grass.

I'd planned to take a run over to Shelter Cove after I was done a IBSP. It is a good place for American Tree Sparrows and Wilson's Snipes, though I thought it a little too early for snipes since the marshy area would be frozen. I was wrong since a report came in of both birds when I was halfway to the inlet. I like the description the observer used for the location of both species: tree island, which is apt since off the side of the soggy soccer fields, surrounded by marsh grass, there is a little grove of trees where the birds concentrate themselves, especially in the cold weather.

When I got there I could see that dog walkers had chased off any geese or gulls that might be worth looking through, so I immediately headed to the tree island. I pished and almost instantly a Tree Sparrow made an appearance. However, despite circling the island three times and walking through the frozen marsh (something I'd never do in warmer, tick-potential weather), I found no snipes. On my 3rd circuit of the the island a Tree Sparrow teed up nicely and I took a number of photos before it flew off. I was just about to turn around and go when I noticed that another Tree Sparrow had replaced it, on almost the same twig, so I took photos of that bird too. Then I left, having scored my one cool bird for the day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Assunpink & Pole Farm 1/9--Long-eared Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl, Pole Farm
Photo: Mike Mandracchia
I called a wise man yesterday to find out the secret locations of a couple of owls so that Mike & I could pursue our quest for cool and/or hard to find birds. Owls qualify as both. The wise man kindly gave me directions to both owls and early this morning, after a stop at Stone Tavern Lake so that Mike could pick up Trumpeter Swan for the year (cool and hard to find), we were stomping around a conifer plantation at Assunpink, looking for owl pellets. I thought I had followed the directions accurately but we had no visuals of pellets much less the owl. Not really unexpected as these things go--you can be looking right at an owl and never see it so well camouflaged are they.

We gave up and drove west to The Pole Farm, the old AT&T facility which once had hundreds of  transmission towers for international calls but is now a Mercer County park with grasslands where the poles once stood and a little cedar grove where Building #1 used to be. In that grove, somewhere, was at least one Northern Saw-whet Owl and once again we followed the directions closely, walking past the spot where last year we saw Long-eared Owls (and couldn't find them today even though I've been told they were back in residence) and once again we couldn't find the owl. We looked in every cedar tree in the area and I was just about getting disgusted when Mike called me over. There, in a small cedar, just steps off the trail, a little higher than eye-height, was the owl. We could have reached out and petted it. Another cool and hard to find bird for the day.

It was very windy today so instead of walking back to the car the way we came, through the grasslands, we took a more circuitous route which brought us through some woods where not a bird was evident. However, we still had to walk out in the open for a while and there, in the grasslands we saw our first Eastern Meadowlarks of the year--cool but not particularly hard to find.

We made a quick stop at the Trenton Sewer Facility, where for the last few years wintering warblers have been found but unfortunately for us and the warblers, most of the thickets of vegetation have been cut down affording little cover for the birds to escape the cold. We did see a trio of Tree Swallows (neither cool nor hard to find) snagging the many little flies that were emerging from the settling basins.

Cackling Goose in front, Conine's Mill Pond
Photo: Mike Mandracchia
At Conine's Mill Pond in Allentown (we're back in Monmouth County now), there were a couple of thousand Canada Geese (certainly not hard to find) but amazingly I espied one Cackling Goose among them and more amazingly, as the flock shuffled and reshuffled I was able to refind it when we drove over to the other side of the pond. Mike was able to get a fine photo documenting what for both us was our second Cackling Goose of the year. (Cool and supposedly hard to find but I think that in every large flock of Canada Geese there is a Cackling Goose and that they are listed as rare just to keep the misidentifications down to minimum on eBird.)

When we first started scanning the pond, looking for anything other than a goose on it, I came across a couple of Common Mergansers which were FOY for me but not Mike. (Cool, but as the name implies, not hard to find.)

After a brief stop at Colliers Mills where I was able to put Bald Eagle on my Ocean County list, we were heading back to Mike's place where I'd left my car when the wise man texted me, asking if we'd seen the owls. I told him we'd batted .500. He told me he was looking at the owl we missed. I groaned, but after calling the wise man, he kindly agreed to stay in place and show us the bird. We were about 20 minutes away from Assunpink if you took the speed limits with a grain of salt and when we got there the wise man led us to the grove and entered it about 40 feet closer than we had. Ironically, I was probably standing in more or less that spot two days ago when I was looking for the owl and abandoned by search for the Pileated Woodpecker. By now you've figured out that this was the Long-eared Owl of the post's title, a very cool bird and very hard to find and see. Mike and the wise man spent 5 minutes manipulating my neck, head, and posture until the bird finally came into focus, looking, seemingly, right at me. I realized that the wise man could have put flashing lights onto the base of the tree to show us where the owl was and without his precise directions as to what angle to put my head at, I still wouldn't have found the bird. Now I have to return the favor and find the wise man a Red-headed Woodpecker at Colliers Mills.

With 5 year birds tacked onto my list we left Assunpink and headed back with enough cool birds on the day for a work week.