Saturday, February 28, 2015

Brig 2/28--Red-shouldered Hawk

I birded the frozen wastes of Forsythe-Brigantine today on a field trip with Pete & Mike. The temperature when we started our first circuit was 17 degrees. But there was no wind. So the "real feel" was, I don't know, okay. Besides, we were mostly in the car.

The first trip around we found very little open water. I thought the scenery would be very beautiful had we not been looking for birds. However, we did come up with a decent amount of species and raptors were the highlight of the day. Down at the Gull Pond tower there was a beauty of a Red-shouldered Hawk perched prominently in a bare tree. Harriers, both vultures, Red-tailed Hawks and and a Bald Eagle were ticked off the list. On the 2nd trip around we found a Rough-legged Hawk sitting atop a pole. It flew a short distance and gave us some field marks. Later, down the road one of our party saw another hawk perched in a tree. Amazingly, I got on it (I am terrible at finding birds at a distance hidden among branches). Not only did I get on it, I found another hawk close by. We got our scopes out and the first bird turned out to be another Rough-legged Hawk (of the dark morph variety) while the bird nearby was yet another, this time a light morph. So we were all feeling pretty good. Naturally, I don't have any pictures of hawks.

I do have some nice photos of the ducks that were close in at one of the exit ponds.
Northern Pintail (drake)
Red-breasted Merganser (hen) & Ring-necked Duck (drake)
Lesser Scaup
And a Great Blue Heron, stepping out:
For the day I had 40 species. That's twice as many as I expected, so, on the last day of the month, I'll consider it a victory over winter.
Snow Goose  500
Brant  100
Canada Goose  10
Mute Swan  3
Tundra Swan  50
American Black Duck  165
Mallard  10
Northern Pintail  30
Green-winged Teal  3     gull pond
Ring-necked Duck  
Lesser Scaup    1     Exit Pond
Bufflehead  50
Common Goldeneye  4     Off corner of east dike.
Hooded Merganser  10     East Dike
Common Merganser  1
Red-breasted Merganser  5
Ruddy Duck  1
Great Blue Heron  2
Black Vulture  1
Turkey Vulture  3
Northern Harrier  2
Bald Eagle  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk  3
Herring Gull  10
Great Black-backed Gull  5
Downy Woodpecker  2
Blue Jay  1     Heard
American Crow  23
Carolina Chickadee  3     Heard
Tufted Titmouse  1     Heard
Hermit Thrush  1
American Robin  10
Yellow-rumped Warbler  2
Eastern Towhee  1     Upland trail
Song Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  3
Red-winged Blackbird  12
House Finch  4

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