Friday, September 12, 2014

Sandy Hook 9/12--Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

At this point in the year I only need one new bird to make the day seem a success. I went to Sandy Hook this morning to go on a field trip with Scott, hoping that I'd be able to add some warblers to my year list, or at least get some different warblers than the few species I see pretty easily in Pine Barrens. Not to be. Migration may be in full swing, but today the birds skipped the hook. I had exactly two warblers--a Northern Parula (not a bad bird actually) and an American Redstart. The group birded the bike path and the Road to Nowhere and we didn't turn up much. Even Tom Brown, the bird bander in residence there was coming up with little--catbirds.

However, when we returned to the Guardian Park lot Scott spotted an empid in a bare tree. For once, I was able to pick out the bird quickly and for once the bird stayed in place long enough for me to make an i.d.--Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.  Not only was it a year bird, but it was also a state bird for me. Empids are notoriously hard to identify, particularly in fall when they don't sing, but this one was close enough and lingered lone enough for us to get the relevant field marks.

The "death march" on the Fisherman's Trail out to the False Hook didn't produce much--a couple of Royal Terns were the highlights there. After the trip was officially over, Bob Auster and I decided to give the Road to Nowhere and the bike path another chance. Again we were coming up empty until after we completed the loop and found 2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in adjoining trees. One was an immature male, the other a female. I don't get to see many RBGRs in a year, so this was a particularly happy find for me.

Despite what seemed like a slow birding day, I did manage 41 species in my perambulations up and down the Hook.
Canada Goose  15
Northern Pintail  2     f/o fisherman's trail
Double-crested Cormorant  12
Great Blue Heron  1
Snowy Egret  1
Osprey  3
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Clapper Rail  1     Heard, Horseshoe Cove
Black-bellied Plover  5
Semipalmated Plover  1
Sanderling  5
Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher  1
Laughing Gull  20
Ring-billed Gull  25
Herring Gull  25
Great Black-backed Gull  20
Forster's Tern  1
Royal Tern  2
Rock Pigeon  4
Mourning Dove  8
Downy Woodpecker  1     Heard, Guardian Parking Lot
Northern Flicker  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  1     Heard, Guardian Parking Lot
White-eyed Vireo  5
Tree Swallow  500
House Wren  2     Heard
Carolina Wren  3
American Robin  2
Gray Catbird  15
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  25
Cedar Waxwing  15
American Redstart  1
Northern Parula  1
Eastern Towhee  8
Northern Cardinal  2     End of Road to Nowhere
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  2     End of Road to Nowhere
House Finch  2
American Goldfinch  5

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