Friday, May 23, 2014

Double Trouble SP 5/23--Least Tern

It rained most of yesterday and was crappy this morning so I was restless and when the sun finally came out and seemed like it might stay bright for a while, I went over to Double Trouble to get another walk in for the day. I walked 4 miles this morning, strictly for exercise--the only birding I did was by ear, since I didn't even take my binoculars in the damp and drizzle.

I wasn't expecting to find much of anything today although I have found that often, late in the day the birding can be just as good as first thing in the morning. The birds get stirring again in the afternoon--some to find food, some to get ready to continue their migration at night.

I walked out to the lake and stood near the spillway. Usually I expect to find swallows there but my impression of the birds flying across the water was that they were too big for swallows, considering the distance--and when one plunge dived, I realized that they were Least Terns. While Least Terns are most often thought of as marsh birds, I can think of three places in Ocean County where I have seen them hunting fresh water lakes and ponds--Double Trouble, Horicon Lake, and the Lakehurst Naval Base.

I also caught sight of a shorebird flying low and fast across the water. Remembering the i.d. tip I got a few weeks ago from Mike Mandracchia, I saw that the bird barely lifted its wings above its body as it flew so I wasn't surprised when the bird that landed across the spillway was a Spotted Sandpiper. Then another flew in. Both bobbed their tails and bopped down the rocky incline to the creek.

I was also pleased to find that I remembered the song of the Black-throated Blue Warbler from my trip on Wednesday. I clearly heard one walking back from the lake. I probably saw a female for an instant back on the bogs, too. Little white dots on the wing were the field marks I noted. 3 Prairie Warblers were also around.

So, while I only expected to work off some excess energy, I managed 30 species in 2 hours and got an FOY. "You won't see nothing if you don't go out," is my motto.
Mallard  4
Great Egret  2
Turkey Vulture  2
Spotted Sandpiper  2
Least Tern  2
Mourning Dove  2
Chimney Swift  2
Eastern Phoebe  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  5     Heard
Eastern Kingbird  3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2
Purple Martin  1
Tree Swallow  6
Barn Swallow  3
Carolina Chickadee  1     Heard
Tufted Titmouse  1     Heard
Carolina Wren  1     Heard
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  4
Wood Thrush  2     Heard
American Robin  5
Gray Catbird  4
Ovenbird  10     Heard
Black-throated Blue Warbler  1     Heard
Pine Warbler  1
Prairie Warbler  3     Heard
Eastern Towhee  5     Heard
Chipping Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  3
Red-winged Blackbird  25
Common Grackle  1

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