Sunday, February 1, 2015

LBI 2/1--Fox Sparrow

We went on Scott & Linda's field trip to Barnegat Light SP and points along the bay on the north end of Long Beach Island. Quite a big group turned out for a relatively balmy day at the beach. We saw most of the Barnegat Light specialties (Harlequin Duck, "Ipswich" Savannah Sparrow, loads of scoters), missing only Purple Sandpiper, but the best bird for me was finally finding Common Redpoll in the county. One birder in our group had seen one with a flock of goldfinches early in the morning, so the group spent a lot of time combing the dunes looking for the finch flock. We finally came across activity about midway to the ocean, but it was frustrating finding the redpolls among the darting Yellow-rumped Warblers and goldfinches. Just to add to the fun, an American Tree Sparrow kept popping up at inopportune times. Someone would get a redpoll in his scope and then it would dive away. Someone would call out that one was "on the cedar" but by the time  you located which cedar, it flew. Finally I went to where Scott and a few others seemed to be getting better views and there on the ground I saw one feeding, getting its distinctive little red cap as a field mark, which made me feel better than when I was seeing light colored little birds flitting about. After seeing literally hundreds of redpolls in Minnesota easily, it was making me crazy that it was so hard to find these redpolls. There was probably a flock of about a dozen, but I only counted the two I couldn't definitely identify with good looks.

But the only new bird for the year was found on the bay side. There's a little stand of cedar trees by what I think is some kind of pumping station where for the last few trips we've found Black-crowned Night-Herons roosting. They weren't in the trees behind the building as they were the last couple of times but Linda found 2 around the corner on 20th Street. While we were looking at them, Shari spotted a sparrow on the edge of the phragmites. I got the bird in my bins for a couple of seconds--gray nape, heavy barring, fat bird--Fox Sparrow.

The final excellent find was at Sunset Park in Harvey Cedars, a usually reliable spot for Common Goldeneye as it was today with a flock of about 20, evenly split between drakes and hens. No Barrow's though.

For the day we had 42 species on LBI and I added 5 species to my county list for the year and 1 species (redpoll) to my county life list.
Species               First Sighting
Brant     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Canada Goose     Harvey Cedars--Sunset Park
American Black Duck     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Mallard     Bayview Marina
Northern Pintail     Bayview Ave Park
Greater Scaup     Harvey Cedars--Sunset Park
Common Eider     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Harlequin Duck     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Surf Scoter     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Black Scoter     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Long-tailed Duck     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Bufflehead     Bayview Marina
Common Goldeneye     Harvey Cedars--Sunset Park
Red-breasted Merganser     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Red-throated Loon     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Common Loon     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Horned Grebe     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Double-crested Cormorant     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Great Cormorant     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Black-crowned Night-Heron     Bayview Ave Park
Northern Harrier     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Black-bellied Plover     Bayview Marina
Ruddy Turnstone     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Dunlin     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Ring-billed Gull     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Herring Gull     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Great Black-backed Gull     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Rock Pigeon     Bayview Marina
Northern Flicker     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Peregrine Falcon     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Blue Jay     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
American Crow     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Carolina Wren     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
European Starling     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Yellow-rumped Warbler     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
American Tree Sparrow     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Savannah Sparrow     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Fox Sparrow     Bayview Ave Park
Song Sparrow     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Common Redpoll     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
American Goldfinch     Barnegat Lighthouse SP
House Sparrow     Barnegat Lighthouse SP

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