Sunday, April 26, 2015

Brig 4/25--American White Pelican, Semipalmated Sandpiper

Now the day went from good to great. While we were at Belleplain I had a text saying that two rare birds were still being seen. Even though we were going to Brig on Sunday, I wanted to get there on Saturday so that, if the birds did stay for the weekend, I wouldn't be so crazed to get to the rarities that I wasn't able to enjoy all the other birds there. Mike planned to drive there to, as did Hank, another leader on the trip. It is about an hour from the Delaware Bayshore to Brig and we all eventually gathered on the south dike. Bob spotted the American White Pelican right away--just about the biggest bird you're going to see in North America--and another birder had 6 gorgeous American Avocets in her scope, so we put both of those rarities away pretty quickly. Brig usually gets an avocet a year. I've seen as many as two there in one day. But six (there were counts as high as nine the previous couple of days) is very rare. Six constitutes a flock.

We also had a Semipalmated Sandpiper on the way to the target birds. I didn't realize that on Saturday semisands were flagged as rare on eBird, while today, they're just another bird.

Now that I knew we'd be able to relax on Sunday without angsting about the rarities, we went to a local Italian place in Galloway for an early dinner before our final stop of the day, which was up in Barnegat. We needed darkness for this bird anyway, so there was no rush.

We drove up the Parkway to Barnegat to Collinstown Road which is a forested area near the HQ for the Forsythe's Barnegat division. This is an area that is reliable for Chuck-will's-widow. Even though I had the bird in NY last week, I still wanted it for my OC & NJ lists and, it would be a lifer for Bob.

We arrived around 7:55 and waited for the last rays of daylight to vanish.  At 8:10 we heard...whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-wills aren't supposed to east of Rt 9. Then we heard...another whip-poor-will. Finally, at around 8:15 we heard the Chuck, though it wasn't as loud as the whips, it was still clear enough to list and count. Thus ended a spectacular day of birding, which was only a prelude to Sunday's big "wow."

The list for Brig is short because after the pelican and avocet we drove around the remaining 7 miles of the wildlife drive at a torrid 20mph.
24 species
Brant  100
Canada Goose  8
Mute Swan  3
American Black Duck  2
Double-crested Cormorant  7
American White Pelican  1     
Great Egret  10
Snowy Egret  13
Glossy Ibis  1
Osprey  3
American Avocet  6    Unmistakable.
American Oystercatcher  3
Greater Yellowlegs  3
Willet  2
Dunlin  100
Semipalmated Sandpiper  1     black legs, gray body.
Laughing Gull  1
Herring Gull  23
Great Black-backed Gull  1
Forster's Tern  2
Fish Crow  5
Tree Swallow  1
Barn Swallow  3
Red-winged Blackbird  2

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