Sunday, April 5, 2015

Brig 4/5--Glossy Ibis, Purple Martin

Martin houses, Brig
Shari & I took a couple of spins around Brig today, starting mid-morning. We were able to add two new birds to the year list. The first one we saw immediately upon arrival--Purple Martins, a few at least, have returned and are claiming their apartments in the martin complex. They'd better hurry and they better be prepared to be aggressive because I saw at least one House Sparrow also checking out the accommodations.

Ducks are still plentiful and we saw good numbers of both white egrets. Our second year bird was Glossy Ibis. There was a fairly good-sized flock of them that would occasionally fly up out of the reeds, swirl around a bit, then settle back out of sight in the tall vegetation. My first count was about 20. The next time they appeared, as we were starting our second circuit, I estimated about 40. Good looks from the distance, but none were cooperative enough to come in close for photos.

The other special bird we had today is what I think of as a "common rarity" if you'll allow me the oxymoron. From the south dike, while looking at flocks of pintails and black ducks, I spotted a Eurasian Wigeon, quite obvious with its brownish-red head, cream pate and gray flanks. Again, too far for a photo, but no doubt about the ID.  Eurasian Wigeons are rare, but not that rare--as I've said, there always seems to be one, somewhere, in New Jersey.

The day started out in the mid-50's and a bit breezy. By the time we were completing our second trip the temps were in the low 60's but the wind was howling as badly as yesterday. The upland portion of the drive yielded no passerines other than Tree Swallows. They don't mind getting blown about.

We finished with 46 species on the day:
Brant  10
Canada Goose  115
Mute Swan  3
Wood Duck  2     Gull Pond
Gadwall  2
Eurasian Wigeon  1     From south dike, looking north, between Turtle Crossing sign and Goose #4. 
American Wigeon  4
American Black Duck  210
Mallard  10
Blue-winged Teal  6
Northern Shoveler  8
Northern Pintail  15
Green-winged Teal  255
Ring-necked Duck  12     Exit Pond
Bufflehead  1     From north dike
Hooded Merganser  10     One drake, others hens
Red-breasted Merganser  3     NE corner
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  14
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  22
Snowy Egret  27
Glossy Ibis  40
Turkey Vulture  2
Osprey  10
Northern Harrier  1
Greater Yellowlegs  3
Herring Gull  40
Great Black-backed Gull  5
Peregrine Falcon  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
American Crow  1     Heard
Fish Crow  3
Purple Martin  5
Tree Swallow  50
Carolina Wren  1     Heard, picnic tables
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Eastern Bluebird  4
American Robin  1     Heard, picnic tables
Chipping Sparrow  3
Field Sparrow  1     Heard, near PUMA houses
Song Sparrow  2
Red-winged Blackbird  8
Brown-headed Cowbird  4     PUMA houses field
House Finch  1     Feeders
House Sparrow  1    

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