Thursday, June 19, 2014

Allaire SP 6/19--Yellow-throated Vireo

I went to Allaire State Park with my friend Greg this morning. Shari & I used to go there a fair amount when we lived in Brooklyn, because it was relatively close, but since we moved it seemed out of the way, which is borderline ridiculous. Greg, on the other hand, has been birding it steadily since he moved to NJ, so I was curious to see where he birded in the park.

We started out on the eastern side of the park, not in the middle by the main entrance as Shari & I usually do. I'd been to this section once, but had only a vague memory of its geography. The multi-use path was abuzz with birds, but aside from a White-eyed Vireo, nothing really "interesting." Greg & I both had target birds. His we found after a short while. First he heard the "bee-buzz" song (which, for some perverse reason I hear as "buzz-kill") then we found his bird, a Blue-winged Warbler. A relatively hard bird to find. Greg suspects that they breed in the park, and if they're still singing at this date, I'd say that's a well-founded suspicion.

My bird took a little longer. We walked through Allaire Village (Allaire is the site of a very old iron manufacturing town) down onto the flood plain trail. It was odd to be walking on dirt and slippery clay instead of the usual sand of the Pine Barrens. Down there we heard "Pizza!" and after a bit found an Acadian Flycatcher. That makes two this week for me. Doubling back, we walked through the woods and down near the stream again when Greg heard "my" bird sing. At first, because it was doing a buzzy, scolding call too, we thought it might be a wren, but Greg excitedly pointed out and finally, after almost heroic efforts, got me the Yellow-throated Vireo I wanted. This was not only a year bird for me, but a state bird. I'd only seen them a couple of times last year in Ohio.  They apparently only make a brief stopover in central Jersey, because this bird was flagged as "rare" on eBird. After that bird everything was gravy. In the gravy were Ovenbirds, Indigo Buntings, and on the Jersey Coast Radio Control Club field, a couple of Wild Turkeys.  This last spot is a separate section of Allaire, one that neither Greg nor I had explored before. It bears more investigation, probably earlier in the day than we were there. A large grassland surrounded by woods has plenty of potential.

36 species
Wild Turkey  2     
Turkey Vulture  5
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  1     Heard
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2     Heard
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  3     Heard
Acadian Flycatcher  1
Eastern Phoebe  5
Great Crested Flycatcher  3
Eastern Kingbird  1
White-eyed Vireo  2
Yellow-throated Vireo  1     
Red-eyed Vireo  1     Heard
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  5
Carolina Chickadee  3
Tufted Titmouse  5
White-breasted Nuthatch  4
Carolina Wren  1     Heard
Eastern Bluebird  2
Wood Thrush  2     Heard
American Robin  4
Gray Catbird  20
European Starling  5
Cedar Waxwing  1
Ovenbird  4
Blue-winged Warbler  3
Common Yellowthroat  5     Heard
Pine Warbler  1     Heard
Eastern Towhee  1     Heard
Chipping Sparrow  5
Field Sparrow  1     Heard
Northern Cardinal  1     Heard
Indigo Bunting  5
Brown-headed Cowbird  2

Yesterday, while exploring a section of Cattus Island I'd never been to, I found, to my surprise, a Red-necked Grebe, a bird that is rare here in winter and completely out of season now. I didn't report it to Jerseybirds, figuring that no one was going to be able to refind this bird way out in the bay. Of course I did put it on eBird. But Shawn Wainwright, who keeps tracks of Ocean County birds sent a message to Jerseybirds noting my find.  Sure enough, someone went back there today and found the bird again, which made me happy to have my sighting confirmed. I was never really in doubt about it, though; some birds you look at and your first reaction is "What is that?!" This bird, as soon as I had it in my binoculars just said "I'm a Red-necked Grebe, I don't care how weird that seems."

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