Friday, May 30, 2014

Great Bay Blvd WMA 5/30--Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Saltmarsh Sparrow

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Our neighbor Jerry stopped by around noon to ask me if I wanted to go down to Tuckerton with him. We do this a few times a year--Jerry crabs from the first wooden bridge and I hang out with him looking at birds. It's fun to go down there with him--I don't like crabs and wouldn't hold one on a bet, but Jerry is a fun guy and it's amusing as well as instructive (and sometimes gross) to watch him do something so far out of my zone.
It's all in the wrist
Throwing one of those crab cages over the side looks easy until you try to do it and even pulling one up--Jerry always insists that I pull at least one cage up so we can tell Shari I was crabbing--is hard work. You have to gather in the string fast and the cage offers plenty of resistance coming up out of the water.

Jerry threw six cages over the side. He didn't think he'd get much today because the tide was wrong: outgoing. Good for me because mud flats would attract birds, but bad for crabbing. However, his cages weren't in the water more than 5 minutes before he pulled
First crab of the year.
one up with a keeper. By the time we left, about 3 1/2 hours later, he had around 25 crabs.

It's also fun to go with Jerry because when I find a cool bird he gets very enthusiastic. Today, right off, I found a Tricolored Heron, put it in the scope and Jerry went "Wow!" He said it was only the 2nd Tricolored he'd every seen and the first one was just a flyover. Later, I found my first Yellow-crowned Night-Heron of the year and Jerry got all hopped about that one too. He's always amazed at how well you can see a distant bird in a scope.

I also took a walk down to the last bridge--probably about a mile or so more down the road. I was hoping for sparrows and finally, on the trip back, I saw standing on a mat of reeds my first Saltmarsh Sparrow for the year. I had thought I had heard one earlier, in more less the same spot. They can be devilishly hard to find since they don't fly nearly as much as they run on the ground like mice, but this one, for a second or two, was right out in the open.

Is birding considered loitering?
On days down in Tuckerton with Jerry, I don't get out to Great Bay inlet, so my bird count isn't as large as it would be if I didn't my usual routine, but 27 species is a respectable number, especially since most of them were found standing in one place--one place that, according to all the signs, we shouldn't have been.
Mute Swan  2
Double-crested Cormorant  3
Great Egret  25
Snowy Egret  4
Tricolored Heron  5
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  1
Glossy Ibis  4
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  3
Clapper Rail  2     Heard
Semipalmated Plover  1
Willet  15
Semipalmated Sandpiper  12
Laughing Gull  50
Herring Gull  25
Great Black-backed Gull  5
Forster's Tern  5
Mourning Dove  1
Willow Flycatcher  1     Heard
Tree Swallow  2
Barn Swallow  25
Common Yellowthroat  4
Yellow Warbler
Saltmarsh Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  5
Red-winged Blackbird  50
Boat-tailed Grackle  25

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