Friday, October 10, 2014

Great Bay Blvd WMA 10/10--Clay-colored Sparrow

I went looking for one bird today and found another.

Great Bay Blvd, from my understanding, is just about the only reliable place to find Nelson's Sparrow in Ocean County. Since I've only seen Nelson's Sparrow once in NJ (and for all I know, my life, because at one time it was con-specific with Saltmarsh Sparrow), I drove down there today, hoping to come up with at least one for the year and county list.

The tide was very high today, the water pushing up so far as to leave practically no beach, which means the water in the marsh was high too. So if there were going to be any Nelson's Sparrows running around like (as they do) they were going to be in the high reeds and hard to see.

However, the unexpected bird was found just before the 5th and last bridge, in an area that  has some kind of monitoring equipment that emits an incessant "beep" every 2 seconds. I saw lots of sparrows flying around the trees and bushes near the enclosure; they were mostly Song Sparrows. However, one popped up on the fence, very pale. My first reactions was "Ipswich Savannah Sparrow" but then I realized it had no stripes, so that let out that bird and then I noticed the very clean gray nape and realized I was looking at my first New Jersey Clay-colored Sparrow. I got decent looks at it before it flew down into the underbrush. While I pished a Savannah Sparrow (of the non-Ipswich variety) and a White-throated Sparrow appeared in the vicinity, but the Clay-colored was not to be found. I walked down the road to a stand of cedars that acts as reliable night-heron roost, figuring I'd give the bird time to make its way back into sight. I did come up with one Black-crowned Night-Heron, but when I turned back to the fenced off area, a huge flock of about 100 Boat-tailed Grackles flew in, drinking from the puddles, sitting on the fence, and hogging the trees. No chance for the little sparrow to come out with those brutes in place.

Already it seems that warbler migration is waning and sparrows are coming to the fore. While Great Bay Blvd is not exactly know as a migrant trap, there were large numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers in all the bushes, and even larger numbers of Song Sparrows. A few other warblers and sparrows rounded out the list, as well as both kinglets.

Not much in the way of shorebirds and only the expected herons & egrets. Today's list.

34 species
Mute Swan  6     Northern marshes
Double-crested Cormorant  120
Brown Pelican  5
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  50
Snowy Egret  10
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1
Osprey  1
Greater Yellowlegs  7
Laughing Gull  3
Herring Gull  50
Great Black-backed Gull  2
Forster's Tern  25
Belted Kingfisher  4
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  7
Peregrine Falcon  2
House Wren  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  4
American Robin  1
Gray Catbird  4
European Starling  100
Cedar Waxwing  1
Common Yellowthroat  4
Palm Warbler  4
Yellow-rumped Warbler  15
Clay-colored Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  25
Swamp Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  4
Red-winged Blackbird  6
Boat-tailed Grackle  300

No comments:

Post a Comment