Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Bunker Hill Bogs 5/6--Green Heron, Magnolia Warbler, Orchard Oriole

Bunker Hill Bogs from cross dike
Back to the woods today. My avian alarm clocks (whip-poor-will at 4:11 AM, turkeys at 5:30) got me up and I was at Bunker Hill Bogs in Jackson, eating breakfast by 6:30. While I don't closely follow the radar and the winds to see how optimal the migration conditions will be next morning, I gathered that the winds weren't right for another big push, so I wasn't expecting a fall out. I was hoping for new birds, though the 3 birds I added to the list were not the ones I had in mind. I will take them, obviously.

As I started my walk in the woods I heard the by now usual warblers--Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, Black-and-white Warbler. Between the whining of the catbirds and the lispy buzz of the gnatcatchers, it was hard to hear much else. There were warblers flitting high in the trees and I managed to isolate long enough to see that it was a Magnolia Warbler. That's a striking bird, just not one I had in mind today. (For the record, I was thinking: redstart, Black-throated Green, Red-eyed and/or Blue-headed Vireo, none of which I have for NJ yet.)

I made my way out onto the cross dike and saw at the top of small tree a first-summer Orchard Oriole singing. Here's a bird that can be confusing since it all yellow with a black throat (as opposed to the blood red of the adult) and not especially large--one might think warbler if one one wasn't thinking too hard.

On some of the mud flats shorebirds were dancing around. I knew they weren't Killdeer and I was pretty certain they were Spotted Sandpipers, but I would have to wait for the next stop to see the bird I was hoping they were. Just as I was about to give up on the dike I turned around and glanced at the adjoining bog where I'd seen a couple of Mallards. A bird was flying which I first took for a duck, then for a crow, then for what it was: A Green Heron (which are crow-like), followed by another. They both landed in some high evergreens and I wasn't able to relocate them but that was 3 new birds in the space of about 10 minutes.

And that was it for that stop. I continued walking all the way up to Butterfly Road, crossing my favorite improvised bridge over the breach in two bogs
and found some good birds in the back bogs including the resident Wood Ducks. It is similar to Colliers Mills--if they're not in the first bog, they'll be in the 2nd, and if not in the 2nd then they're in the 3rd. They were in the 3rd. 

Even though today was much cooler than the last couple of days, after the first burst of energy in the morning, the bird activity quieted down pretty quickly after about 9 o'clock. I managed a good list there though:
37 species
Canada Goose  10
Wood Duck  2     furthest bog back by power line cut
Mallard  5
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Great Blue Heron  2
Green Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  3
Laughing Gull  1     heard, f/o in clouds
Mourning Dove  3
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1     Heard
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  2     Heard
Eastern Kingbird  4
White-eyed Vireo  1     Heard
Blue Jay  2
American Crow  5
Fish Crow  2
Tree Swallow  10
Carolina Chickadee  5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  10
Eastern Bluebird  2     Back bogs
Wood Thrush  1     Heard
Gray Catbird  15
Ovenbird  10
Black-and-white Warbler  6
Common Yellowthroat  10
Magnolia Warbler  1
Pine Warbler  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  3
Eastern Towhee  10
Northern Cardinal  1     Heard
Red-winged Blackbird  50
Common Grackle  6
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Orchard Oriole  1     
American Goldfinch  1     singing

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