Monday, March 30, 2015

Forsythe-Barnegat 3/30--Snowy Egret

Great & Snowy Egrets
After our Delaware interregnum, it was time to get back to wandering around the home county. It is still cold and damp. Migration seems far off, though it has already started. I'm just not participating in it.

I went to Wells Mills Park this morning to get in my vigorous walk. The trails there are more rugged than in most places in the county. You really have a sense of remoteness you don't get in the relatively flat WMA's like Whiting or Collier's Mills, where you can hear traffic no matter how deep in the woods you think you are.

I was hoping to get some "easy" birds that have been scarce so far this year, like catbird, thrasher, or Palm Warbler. None of them were about, but I did see a large flock of Pine Warblers in brilliant yellow, feeding on the ground and low in the trees. I had six naked eye at one time. Those were the only birds that held my attention for than a moment, but I did enjoy walking the hilly trail and was happy I could remember where I was after not being there for many months.

I decided to drive over to the Barnegat impoundments. I've been going over there about once a week, always hoping for a "good" bird that's been reported and never finding said bird. Today I broke that streak when I found three Snowy Egrets, my first of the year.  They were in a section of the impoundments that until recently I didn't know you could view--someone has knocked down the phragmites at where Bayshore Drive bends. It looks like someone just decided to plow a truck into the reeds.

After first checking the usual cut I walked down to that section and had both Great Egret and the snowies immediately.  The ducks seem to be thinning out in both number of species and number of ducks in total. If the water would recede, there might be a chance for shorebirds, but there appears to be a blocked outlet keeping the impoundments from the tidal influence.

The only other notable bird today I saw while talking to my friend Karmela who lives nearby--a bird swooped by us. My first instinct was "heh, pigeon." A second look told me it was Merlin instead.
19 species
Canada Goose  5
Mute Swan  4
Gadwall  15
American Black Duck  10
Mallard  50
Northern Shoveler  20
Northern Pintail  2
Green-winged Teal  10
Long-tailed Duck  2     Bay
Red-breasted Merganser  1     Bay
Horned Grebe  5     Bay
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  3
Snowy Egret  3   
Herring Gull  5
Great Black-backed Gull  3     Bay
Merlin  1
American Crow  1     Heard
Fish Crow  15

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