Sunday, January 11, 2015

Barnegat Light SP 1/11--Greater Scaup, Harlequin Duck, Horned Grebe, Purple Sandpiper

To go to Barnegat Light in January and not have very much wind is a treat, particularly after our last trip there in December when the winds were blowing 30 mph. We met up with Scott Barnes and Linda Mack for a quickly re-scheduled trip to the Light, since their trip to Assunpink had to be cancelled; the lake is completely frozen.

I need to go to Barnegat Light to get my Harlequin Duck and Purple Sandpiper ticks on my list for the year and the county. The Purple Sandpipers were pretty easy--a small flock was flying around the end of the jetty (which we climbed up from the beach, none of us intrepid/crazy enough to walk its icy length anymore), but the it was touch and go on the Harlequins. Some people who had walked far out to the end of jetty said there were four of the little beauties out there. Only one of our group was brave enough to walk out there. However, with some patience (something I was too impatient to wait on line for when they were handing it out at birth) Linda managed to get one in her scope and I got a nice look at a male.

While it started out calm, by the time we got to the jetty and little bit of southeast wind had kicked up. Nothing I couldn't handle, but it did make the long trek back toward 8th Street a test of my cold weather gear.  The group had spent about a 1/2 hour looking through the large flock of Common Eiders close in to shore, hoping to spot the long-reported hen King Eider (oxymoron). I can honestly say that I looked closely at each hen and wasn't able to find it. Nor were Scott, Linda, Shari, or anyone else in our group with a scope able to spot it. If I'd had been by myself I'd be convinced that I overlooked it. With all those eyes, I'm satisfied that it just wasn't there.

For the trip I had 34 species, plus a huge flock of distant ducks that have to go down as Surf/Black Scoters. I added 4 species for the year and enough species for the county to get into the #3 position. Not that I'm counting.

Greater Scaup  1     Inlet
Common Eider  135
Harlequin Duck  1     Far end of jetty
Surf Scoter  1
Black Scoter  15
Surf/Black Scoter  2000
Long-tailed Duck  10
Bufflehead  9
Red-breasted Merganser  15
Ruddy Duck  1
Red-throated Loon  2
Common Loon  10
Horned Grebe  5
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Great Cormorant  5
Great Blue Heron  1
Northern Harrier  1
Ruddy Turnstone  20
Sanderling  1
Dunlin  15
Purple Sandpiper  25
Bonaparte's Gull  1
Ring-billed Gull  1
Herring Gull  500
Great Black-backed Gull  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
American Crow  2
Carolina Wren  1     Heard
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  50
Yellow-rumped Warbler  10
Savannah Sparrow (Ipswich)  2
American Goldfinch  1

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