Monday, November 30, 2015

Bunker Hill Bogs 11/30--Winter Wren & November's List

With time to kill before a doctor's appt (I'm fine), I took a walk in both Bunker Hill and Butterfly Bogs this morning. I was curious if any interesting ducks or other waterfowl had shown up--aside from Ring-necked Ducks in both places the answer was "no." It was a drab and dreary morning for most of the walk. 3 Killdeers in the back of Butterfly Bogs were noteworthy. But the significant find of the morning was in the back of Bunker Hill where a small flock of juncos and White-throated Sparrows were feeding on the trail, along with some Yellow-rumped Warblers flitting about in the bare branches. It was there, feeding beneath a bush, that I saw a tiny brown bird with a stubby tail. It quickly flew off, but I saw enough of it to know that I had, finally, my first Winter Wren of the year.

These wrens behave more like mice than birds, running around in the undergrowth and are, for me, devilishly hard to find. I'd pretty much given up on this species for the year, so I ended the month with 144 species and got the year count up to...(checking eBird)...354.

I had a fun month birding, a lot of it with Mike, as we covered a good swath of the state, and although I only added 5 year birds, one of them was a lifer and a couple of others were rarities so my list looks satisfactory to me.

I also made a couple of trips into NY, once to my beloved Prospect Park and once out to Point Lookout the day after Thanksgiving with our friends Rick & Caroline. Point Lookout yielded 3 month birds--Common Eider, Harlequin Duck, and Purple Sandpiper--the last two saving me the trouble of braving the Barnegat Light jetty for a while.

A few photos from Prospect Park:
American Black Duck
Double-crested Cormorant
Northern Shoveler (with a real Brooklyn attitude)
The month's list: ALL CAPS=lifer, Bold Italics=Year bird, Underline=rarity
Counties Birded:
New Jersey: Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Mercer, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset
New York: Kings, Nassau
Species     First Sighting
Snow Goose     Brig
Brant     Avalon Seawatch
Barnacle Goose     Etra Lake
Cackling Goose     Etra Lake
Canada Goose     Assunpink WMA
Mute Swan     Assunpink WMA
Tundra Swan     Brig
Wood Duck     Avalon Seawatch
Gadwall     Brig
Eurasian Wigeon     Brig
American Wigeon     Brig
American Black Duck     Brig
Mallard     Double Trouble State Park
Blue-winged Teal     Brig
Northern Shoveler     Brig
Northern Pintail     Brig
Green-winged Teal     Brig
Ring-necked Duck     Assunpink WMA
Lesser Scaup     Lily Lake
Common Eider     Point Lookout
Harlequin Duck     Point Lookout
Surf Scoter     Avalon Seawatch
White-winged Scoter     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Black Scoter     Avalon Seawatch
Long-tailed Duck     Island Beach SP
Bufflehead     Brig
Hooded Merganser     Brig
Common Merganser     Sandy Hook
Red-breasted Merganser     Sandy Hook
Ruddy Duck     Assunpink WMA
Ring-necked Pheasant     GSP MM 48
Wild Turkey     Warren Grove
Red-throated Loon     Sandy Hook
Common Loon     Avalon 48th St Beach
Pied-billed Grebe     Assunpink WMA
Red-necked Grebe     Avalon Seawatch
Northern Gannet     Avalon Seawatch
Double-crested Cormorant     Avalon Seawatch
Great Cormorant     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Great Blue Heron     Assunpink WMA
Great Egret     Brig
Snowy Egret     Brig
Black-crowned Night-Heron     Brig
Glossy Ibis     GSP MM 48
Black Vulture     The Beanery
Turkey Vulture     Assunpink WMA
Golden Eagle     Scherman-Hoffman
Northern Harrier     Brig
Sharp-shinned Hawk     Scherman-Hoffman
Cooper's Hawk     Colliers Mills WMA
Bald Eagle     Brig
Red-shouldered Hawk     Great Swamp NWR
Red-tailed Hawk     Colliers Mills WMA
KING RAIL     Brig
Clapper Rail     Great Bay Blvd
Virginia Rail     Brig
American Coot     Brig
American Oystercatcher     Avalon Seawatch
Black-bellied Plover     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Semipalmated Plover     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Killdeer     Double Trouble State Park
Greater Yellowlegs     Brig
Hudsonian Godwit     Brig
Ruddy Turnstone     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Red Knot     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Sanderling     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Dunlin     Avalon Seawatch
Purple Sandpiper     Point Lookout
Least Sandpiper     Brig
White-rumped Sandpiper     Brig
Semipalmated Sandpiper     Brig
Western Sandpiper     Brig
Long-billed Dowitcher     Bayview Marina
Parasitic Jaeger     Avalon Seawatch
Laughing Gull     Avalon Seawatch
Ring-billed Gull     Assunpink WMA
Herring Gull     Avalon Seawatch
Lesser Black-backed Gull     Sunset Lake (Asbury Park)
Great Black-backed Gull     Avalon Seawatch
Forster's Tern     Avalon Seawatch
Royal Tern     Avalon Seawatch
Rock Pigeon     Avalon
Mourning Dove     35 Sunset Rd
Great Horned Owl     Brig
Belted Kingfisher     Assunpink WMA
Red-bellied Woodpecker     Assunpink WMA
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     Colliers Mills WMA
Downy Woodpecker     Assunpink WMA
Hairy Woodpecker     Sandy Hook
Northern Flicker     Assunpink WMA
Peregrine Falcon     Brig
Eastern Phoebe     The Beanery
Western Kingbird     The Beanery
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher     Brig
Blue Jay     Assunpink WMA
American Crow     Assunpink WMA
Fish Crow     Bayview Marina
Tree Swallow     Assunpink WMA
Cave Swallow     The Beanery
Carolina Chickadee     35 Sunset Rd
Black-capped Chickadee     Great Swamp NWR
Tufted Titmouse     35 Sunset Rd
White-breasted Nuthatch     Assunpink WMA
Brown Creeper     Whitesbog
Winter Wren  Bunker Hill Bogs
Carolina Wren     Assunpink WMA
Golden-crowned Kinglet     Double Trouble State Park
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     Assunpink WMA
Eastern Bluebird     Double Trouble State Park
Hermit Thrush     Whitesbog
American Robin     Assunpink WMA
Gray Catbird     Brig
Northern Mockingbird     Assunpink WMA
European Starling     Assunpink WMA
Cedar Waxwing     Assunpink WMA
Snow Bunting     Whitesbog
Orange-crowned Warbler     The Beanery
Palm Warbler     The Beanery
Yellow-rumped Warbler     Assunpink WMA
Seaside Sparrow     Brig
American Tree Sparrow     Double Trouble State Park
Chipping Sparrow     35 Sunset Rd
Field Sparrow     Great Swamp NWR
Dark-eyed Junco     35 Sunset Rd
White-crowned Sparrow     Sandy Hook
White-throated Sparrow     Assunpink WMA
Vesper Sparrow     Colliers Mills WMA
Savannah Sparrow     Double Trouble State Park
Song Sparrow     Assunpink WMA
Swamp Sparrow     Brig
Eastern Towhee     Brig
Northern Cardinal     35 Sunset Rd
Red-winged Blackbird     Colliers Mills WMA
Eastern Meadowlark     Brig
Rusty Blackbird     Brig
Common Grackle     Great Swamp NWR
Boat-tailed Grackle     Brig
Brown-headed Cowbird     Avalon
Baltimore Oriole     The Beanery
House Finch     Avalon Seawatch
Purple Finch     The Beanery
Pine Siskin     Whitesbog
American Goldfinch     Assunpink WMA
House Sparrow     Assunpink WMA

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Brig 11/28--Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
On Tuesday, as I was coming home from Brooklyn, I saw an alert that a rarity had been found the previous day at Brig. That did me no good. When I arrived on the bus in Toms River I saw that the bird was still there. I was tempted to drive down to Brig right then, but I wasn't really in the mood for chasing a bird. These birds are usually "one day wonders" so I didn't expect that it would be there on Wednesday, so I didn't go. It was there on Wednesday. Thursday was Thanksgiving. We were back in NY, on Long Island and didn't get home until late Friday night. And I kept getting alerts about the bird staying in the same field. Finally, today, Shari & I drove down to Brig. By this time I really didn't expect the bird to persist, but just as we were driving down the entrance road, another alert came through. The bird was in the same spot, 1/2 a mile past the the Experimental Pool on the upland portion of the trail. There were two ways to get there. We could have walked about a mile from the parking lot to get to the spot, but that's a slog along a sandy road, or we could drive 7 miles on the one-way Wildlife Drive, pretty much ignoring all the birds along the way,which is what we did. As advertised, in a big field past the entrance to the Experimental Pool we found a pod of birders. I walked up, put my binocs and there was my year Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. One or two of these beauties occurs each year in NJ. Shari & I found one a couple of years back at Whitesbog, but we hadn't seen one since then. This was a good looking adult with the very long tail feathers and the subtle salmon colored flanks. I notice that my picture looks similar to the Western Kingbird of a few weeks back in Cape May. Hard to get a good picture with all the bare branches in the way. On the other hand, the bare branches allow you to see the bird. The bird wouldn't turn around for me, so all my pictures are of the back, flank, and tail--the field marks at least.
Bald Eagle (3rd year juvenile)

With the rarity out of the way, Shari & I were ready to actually bird the refuge, and we did pretty well, finding lots of ducks, swans, coots and waders. The Snow Geese numbered at least a thousand, the Tundra Swans were abundant, and we found a 3rd year Bald Eagle down by the Gull Pond:
But the two most interesting birds we saw today, aside from STFL, were at the exit of the Parkway. First, Shari spotted a Glossy Ibis, very late for the year, flying into the marsh, and then, just as we were turning onto the exit ramp, I saw a Ring-necked Pheasant on the grassy hillside.

My personal rule for pheasants is that if I see them in a WMA, like Colliers Mills, I don't count them, but if they're wandering around the highways and byways, far away from the hunters, they're wild enough to count and interesting enough to note for the eBird records.

Counting those two birds we had 42 species for our two trips around the Brig loop:
Snow Goose  1000
Brant  300
Canada Goose  500
Mute Swan  3
Tundra Swan  55     Careful count
American Wigeon  20
American Black Duck  1000
Mallard  30
Northern Shoveler  15
Northern Pintail  100
Bufflehead  5     bay off north dike
Hooded Merganser  6     Experimental Pool
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  14
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1     roosting in trees of gull pond
Northern Harrier  2
Bald Eagle  2     3rd year @ gull pond, adult @ Experimental Pool
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Coot  13
Greater Yellowlegs  1     Heard, south dike.
Dunlin  4
Ring-billed Gull  2
Herring Gull  100
Great Black-backed Gull  15
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1     Heard
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  1     
Blue Jay  2     Heard
Carolina Chickadee  2     Heard
Carolina Wren  1     Heard
Hermit Thrush  1     Experimental Pool
American Robin  15
Cedar Waxwing  20
Yellow-rumped Warbler  30
White-throated Sparrow  1     Heard, picnic tables.
Song Sparrow  2
Eastern Towhee  1     Heard, upland trail
American Goldfinch  5

Statistical note: This is the 1000th post I've made on this blog since its inception in 2009. That seems like a lot of blithering to me. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Etra Lake 11/18--Barnacle Goose

A report last night from Mercer County had a Barnacle Goose on Etra Lake around 5 PM. Etra Lake, a little northwest of Assunpink, seems to attract odd geese. I remembered though, from last year, that you have to be there early, so I was on site at just about 7 AM. Already the hundreds of Canada Geese were departing for the nearby fields, though they were heading south, whereas I would expect them to go north toward Monroe, where Barnacle and Pink-footed Goose were also found last year.

I don't relish looking through hundreds of geese for the oddball, even if the oddball should stand out fairly well, unlike a Cackling Goose. I thought immediately that I had the bird, but it turned out to be one of at least 3 hybrid geese that were also in the mix, making the task just that much more difficult.

As waves of geese departed, I and the two other guys there figured that either the thinning out of the flock would make the Barnacle Goose stand out, or that we'd miss it fly away. The former happened as the goose showed itself as part of the flock opened up. I have to say that for a goose that is very different in appearance from Canada Goose it was extremely difficult to pick out.

It eventually disappeared into a cove on the lake and I wandered over there and got slightly better looks standing on a peninsula. The Barnacle was swimming along with a Cackling Goose. It actually made the Cackler easier to pick out since they are both more or less the same size.

Then that flock of geese took off and the Barnacle seemed to go with them. By 9 AM the lake was devoid of geese. Only a handful of ducks remained.

I took a decent walk in the park and found the birds I'd expect to find in mid-November. I made a quick trip to Assunpink, hoping that the Trumpeter Swans from the last couple of years would once again be on the lake but there was very little waterfowl to be found--6 Mute Swans, 5 ruddies, and a cormorant. I took a walk around there too without finding anything I haven't seen this month, though 33 Fish Crows flying overhead was impressive.

I like Etra Lake--it's a little more of a haul for a walk than I like to take but it's a good alternative to Assunpink when hunting season is in full swing. My list from the lake:
23 species
Barnacle Goose  1     Small, black, gray & white goose with barred back & white face.
Cackling Goose  1     Very small goose with stubby bill and short neck. 
Canada Goose  500
American Black Duck  9
Mallard  8
Green-winged Teal  3     with Mallards
Turkey Vulture  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
Blue Jay  10
Fish Crow  1     Heard
Carolina Chickadee  3     Heard
Tufted Titmouse  6
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Carolina Wren  4     Heard
American Robin  50
Northern Mockingbird  3
European Starling  20
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
Field Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  5
White-throated Sparrow  25
Song Sparrow  1
House Finch  2

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Beanery 11/15--Cave Swallow

The sun was just rising when Mike picked me up this morning and we were off to Cape May to search for some rarities. Our first stop was as the ferry terminal where we hoped to make up for our miss on Friday by finding one of the Franklin's Gulls that had been reported lingering there after the big push. No luck there. An alert came through that an Ash-throated Flycatcher was at the old magnesite plant site, so we crossed the canal over to Cape Island proper and scooted over there, only to find that the bird was gone, heading in the direction of the Beanery--maybe. But in order to get on to the property, which the owners kindly let Audubon members bird, we needed current permit stickers, so it was off to CMBO store near Lily Lake. We were there a few minutes before the store opened, so we birded Lily Lake, picking up Ring-necked Ducks and Lesser Scaups. We picked up our stickers, affixed them to the rain guards of our binoculars and got back in the car for the 5 minute drive

The Beanery is an old farm, portions of which are still in operation, though the main crop for which is was named--lima beans--are no longer grown. It has lots of opens space ringed by woods with some ponds scattered around and even a section with some ancient railroad tracks still extant. Looking through the alerts, Mike saw that even without the flycatcher, there were a couple of rarities to be sought there.

We weren't sure where on the big expanse to look, but a local birder directed us and soon we were with 10 or so other birders, a few of whom we knew. The first cool bird we found was an Orange-crowned Warbler, one of the last warblers to migrate and one that always seems to be a rarity. A Baltimore Oriole flew in and there were Rusty Blackbirds, as well as Red-shouldered, Red-tailed, Cooper's, and Sharp-shinned Hawks, along with both vulture species.

Actually, the one species I really wanted while we were down at Cape May was a swallow. A Franklin's Gull would be nice, but I had plenty out west. Same with the OC Warbler. We walked around with Barb, a local birder, who knew the place far better than we did, and after a while we saw two birds fly over our heads--one was a swallow, the other, very yellow underneath, was the Western Kingbird everyone was looking for.

Western Kingbird
It landed in a tree across the field and we got decent looks at it both through binoculars and through other birder's scopes but we wanted to really look at this one so we stalked it for a while and, as you can see, I got decent documentary photos of this western cousin of our Eastern Kingbird (all of which are long gone and probably very happy in South America right now). While I had Western Kingbird this year out west, I'd never seen one in NJ. (It was especially galling to miss this species about a month ago when there was one on Great Bay Blvd in my home county but I was too feckless to seek it out.) So while I was admiring this one, Barb called out to me "Cave!" I came running about the length of a football field to see a small flock of Cave Swallows overhead, in very good light. That was a year bird. And a state lifer. So in the space of the 5 minutes I got two state lifers. When you've been birding NJ as extensively as I have, that's almost unheard of and I doubt it could have happened any other place in the state other than Cape May. 

Well, we could have packed up and gone home then, but we, of course, didn't. We checked out the state park and got a Eurasian Wigeon on Lighthouse Pond. A rarity anywhere else in the state. In Cape May a "by the way" kind of bird.  We checked a couple of other spots, hoping for the elusive Franklin's but that bird just doesn't seem to be for us this year. 

Before heading home we made a loop of Brig, filling in our checklist until it reached 80 species for the day. The last bird of the day was a calling Great Horned Owl as we drove the upland portion of the Wildlife Drive in the dark. 

Our list for the Beanery is a good sampling of the day:
34 species
Gadwall  7
Black Vulture  6
Turkey Vulture  9
Northern Harrier  1
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  3
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon   5
Mourning Dove  8
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1     Heard
Downy Woodpecker  1     Heard
Northern Flicker  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Western Kingbird  1    
American Crow  1
Tree Swallow  10
Cave Swallow  9
Carolina Wren  1     Heard
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Eastern Bluebird  5
American Robin  50
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  2
Orange-crowned Warbler  1
Palm Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  10
Swamp Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  1
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Rusty Blackbird  10
Baltimore Oriole  1
Purple Finch  2
American Goldfinch  5

Friday, November 13, 2015

Dr. John Birding 11/13

I was in the right place, but it must've been the wrong time
                                                                                                                                 --Dr. John

This morning, before I met up with Mike, I saw a report from Cape May of Franklin's Gull, a rarity from the west, flying by offshore. "Yeah, well, a Cape May fly by does me no good," I said to myself. 

Then, just as I got to Mike's place I saw an alert for a Franklin's Gull down at Brig. That immediately determined our destination for the day. The alert came at 9:52. By 10:52 we were hitting the dikes. And saw no gull we could even consider was a Franklin's. There were perhaps 6 Ring-billed Gulls floating way off the dike where the Franklin's had been reported. In fact, there was a dearth of birds in the impoundments. It was more like a February day when all the water is frozen than a mid-autumnal windy morning. We were working hard to dig out species. By the time we were 3/4 around we had approximately 25 species, half what we'd normally have. 

Then another alert came in: Franklin's Gull on Lake of the Lilies in Pt. Pleasant. In Ocean County, no less. Our theory was that the gull was working it's way north up the coast. That theory was soon exploded when Mike started to read more reports off his phone: 8 off Holgate, again in Ocean County; 2 more in Ocean County; one at Sandy Hook; 180 down at Cape May; 5 in Hunterdon County. Another in Mercer. Morris County. Middlesex County. Franklin's Gulls on the Hudson River. I even saw reports, when I got home of Franklin's Gulls off the shores of Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.  In essence, there were Franklin's Gull everywhere but where we were. Some storm in the mid-west, which brought us 1/10 of an inch of rain yesterday, had swept up a big flock of rare gulls and dumped them off the mid-Atlantic coast.

So there we were, in one of the premiere birding locations in NJ, which had really very little interesting, where the one exciting bird had apparently used it's wings, while all around the state one of the great gull irruptions of all time was occurring. As Mike would say, "That's just not right." 

We soldiered on at Brig, making a 2nd loop as well as walking the Leed's trail. Toward the end of our 2nd go-round, near the exit ponds we found a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, always a good bird and Mike's first one of the year, so that was a reward for persistence. The last species we saw was Mourning Dove, breaking our remarkable streak of not seeing a MODO at Brig in the last 7 trips. In all we managed to pull out an even 50 species. But there is a big, frustrating hole in the day list. 

Brant (Atlantic)  75
Canada Goose  125
Mute Swan  1
Tundra Swan  10
Wood Duck  2
Gadwall  20
American Wigeon  50
American Black Duck  500
Mallard  25
Blue-winged Teal  1
Northern Shoveler  20
Northern Pintail  500
Green-winged Teal  25
Bufflehead  50
Red-breasted Merganser  3     Turtle Cove
Pied-billed Grebe  2
Double-crested Cormorant  10
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  10
Snowy Egret  1
Turkey Vulture  2
Northern Harrier  2
Bald Eagle  2
American Coot  10
Black-bellied Plover  2
Greater Yellowlegs  6
Dunlin  50
Ring-billed Gull  20
Herring Gull  25
Great Black-backed Gull  2
Mourning Dove  3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1     Near exit ponds
Downy Woodpecker  1     Upland
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  5
Carolina Chickadee  2
Carolina Wren  3     Heard
American Robin  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  35
White-throated Sparrow  2
Vesper Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  6
Song Sparrow  2
Swamp Sparrow  2     Heard, Leeds Eco-trail
Eastern Towhee  4
Northern Cardinal  2
Eastern Meadowlark  1
Rusty Blackbird  3
Common Grackle  1
American Goldfinch  1     Heard, Experimental Pool

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Brig 11/3--KING RAIL

Mike & I were walking down the road to the Gull Pond at Brig this unseasonably warm morning, when we heard, distinctly, coming from the edge of the pond "Kidik-kidik-kidik" multiple times. Virginia Rail, a very nice bird to get and my first one in New Jersey this year. Of course, we couldn't actually find the bird in the reeds (where do you think the phrase "thin as a rail" comes from?) but there were no mistaking the bird. So we were feeling pretty good about that find when, walking a little farther, and just after noting a pond pig (Mute Swan) in the channel on the other side of the road, we heard, loud and fairly slow, "Kek-kek-kek-kek." We knew it wasn't the swan, and it didn't sound like a Clapper Rail, which all seem to have fled in the wake of the storm we had in October. The habitat was right (fresh water). We had heard a KING RAIL, a life bird for me. Earlier this year I thought I had one for the life list but the habitat was wrong and possibility of Clapper Rail was too strong so that I was forced, in good conscience, to take it off my list. But this one I'm counting.

The ducks, of course, are returning to Brig--that's what it was built for--but we also had a surprising number of shorebirds there today, including a massive flock of Dunlins, a couple of late White-rumped Sandpipers, as well as out of season Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers. In all, for our almost 5 hours exploring the refuge, I picked up 56 species, but I could have had only the King Rail and been happy.
Snow Goose  50
Brant  20
Canada Goose  100
Mute Swan  3
Gadwall  5
American Wigeon  1     From north dike, with Gadwalls and pintails
American Black Duck  50
Mallard  100
Northern Shoveler  5
Northern Pintail  200
Green-winged Teal  10
Bufflehead  1     From south dike, before observation tower
Common Loon  1
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  10
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  15
Snowy Egret  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1     South dike
Turkey Vulture  6
Northern Harrier  2
Bald Eagle  7
KING RAIL  1    Heard, road to Gull Pond
Virginia Rail  1     Heard, road to Gull Pond
American Coot  3
Black-bellied Plover  4
Greater Yellowlegs  10
Dunlin  5000
Least Sandpiper  2     From north dike, small brown shorebirds with yellow legs
White-rumped Sandpiper  2     
Semipalmated Sandpiper  5     from north dike, gray birds with finer bills than WESA.
Western Sandpiper  1
Ring-billed Gull  10
Herring Gull  20
Great Black-backed Gull  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3     Heard
Northern Flicker  1     Heard, entrance road
Peregrine Falcon  2
Blue Jay  10
American Crow  5
Carolina Chickadee  3     Heard
Carolina Wren  2     Heard
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1     Heard, trail behind parking lot
American Robin  1     Heard, exit ponds
Gray Catbird  1     Heard, road to Gull Pond
Yellow-rumped Warbler  50
Seaside Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  2
Savannah Sparrow  12
Song Sparrow  10
Swamp Sparrow  3
Eastern Towhee  5
Northern Cardinal  1     Heard
Boat-tailed Grackle  10
House Finch  2

Avalon Sea Watch
We started the day south of Brig, at the relocated Avalon Sea Watch. We were treated to a huge flight of Northern Gannets, a couple of flyby Red-necked Grebes (rare) and watched as a Parasitic Jaeger stole a fish from a hapless Forster's Tern. The jaeger and the tern were very close in, fighting just over the jetty. Finally, I got to see a jaeger that was more than a shape out over the water. Instead of reporting that the bird was there, I can report that I saw the bird with satisfaction. 

I wanted to show Mike the path to through maritime forest through the dunes to the beach down at 48th street, so after a while we headed down there. For whatever reason, shorebirds gather in this area in pretty good numbers--we had Red Knots (which were all gray) Black-bellied Plovers (known at "Grey Plovers" in Europe, Dunlins (gray), Sanderlings (white and light gray), and a couple of Ruddy Turnstones (brown & gray). This is why you have to pick out your shorebirds by shape, size and behavior, because color isn't much help. 

We also had another Red-necked Grebe (perhaps one of the birds we had seen earlier) and a Common Loon on the water, as well as few more plunge-diving gannets. For the two spots we listed 30 species + a couple of incidental birds that I felt duty-bound to count:
Species     Location
Brant     Avalon Seawatch
Wood Duck     Avalon Seawatch
Surf Scoter     Avalon Seawatch
Black Scoter     Avalon Seawatch
Common Loon     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Red-necked Grebe     Avalon Seawatch
Northern Gannet     Avalon Seawatch
Double-crested Cormorant     Avalon Seawatch
American Oystercatcher     Avalon Seawatch
Black-bellied Plover     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Ruddy Turnstone     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Red Knot     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Sanderling     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Dunlin     Avalon Seawatch
Parasitic Jaeger     Avalon Seawatch
Laughing Gull     Avalon Seawatch
Ring-billed Gull     Avalon Seawatch
Herring Gull     Avalon Seawatch
Great Black-backed Gull     Avalon Seawatch
Forster's Tern     Avalon Seawatch
Royal Tern     Avalon Seawatch
Rock Pigeon     Avalon
Downy Woodpecker     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Northern Flicker     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Carolina Chickadee     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Yellow-rumped Warbler     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Song Sparrow     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Northern Cardinal     Avalon 48th St Beach Entrance
Brown-headed Cowbird     Avalon
House Finch     Avalon Seawatch
American Goldfinch     Avalon Seawatch
House Sparrow     Avalon Seawatch