Friday, April 24, 2015

Colliers Mills WMA 4/24--Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper
I was planning on going to Island Beach SP again today until I woke up and saw that the temperature here was about 37 with a stiff breeze. The beach, I figured, was no place to be, so I headed inland to Colliers Mills, figuring that at least some of the time I'd be out of the wind while walking in the woods. It proved to be a good choice, even if, while walking along the berm and behind the shooting range it felt more like February than late April.

I was crossing the dam at the back of Turnmill Pond when I "spotted" a bird fly down into the mud. I followed and found a new arrival for Ocean County this year, a nicely field-marked Spotted Sandpiper, bobbing its way up the hill, into the grass and over to the pond.  Later, on Colliers Mills Lake, I found two more, one at the back and one at the parking area.

American Kestrel
Hardly any waterfowl around. I had to trudge, again, all the way back to the 2nd bog past the power line cut to find my Wood Ducks. Five warbler species, none of them new, though I'm surprised at how many beautifully garbed Yellow-rumped Warblers are still around. And while I was walking near the large, recently burnt field on Success Road, I checked the big dead tree where a kestrel often hangs out, but there was no bird in sight. Then, a few minutes later one came swooping around and landed briefly on a Restricted Area sign before it flew off. I suspect that one was a male but I couldn't get a decent enough look at color before it flew. About an hour later, coming back to the field from the opposite direction I saw a kestrel and this one, a female, stayed perched long enough for me to get a half-way decent picture. While it is fun to find birds where "they're not supposed to be," there is a satisfying sense of continuity when birds return regularly to the same area.

I spent 3 hours and 33 minutes walking around my usual route and managed 36 species in that time. They were:
Canada Goose  3
Wood Duck  2    
Mallard  3
Great Blue Heron  1
Black Vulture  3
Turkey Vulture  6
Sharp-shinned Hawk  2     One chasing the other
Spotted Sandpiper  3     
Mourning Dove  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2     Heard
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
American Kestrel  1    
Eastern Phoebe  1     Heard, near parking area
Blue Jay  20
Tree Swallow  5
Carolina Chickadee  5
Tufted Titmouse  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  2     Heard
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  15
Eastern Bluebird  1
American Robin  30
Gray Catbird  1     Heard, Hawkin Road
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  10
Black-and-white Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  2     Heard
Palm Warbler  6
Pine Warbler  8
Yellow-rumped Warbler  12
Eastern Towhee  3
Chipping Sparrow  15
White-throated Sparrow  1
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Common Grackle  1
Brown-headed Cowbird  16

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