Saturday, May 2, 2015

Jackson Twp 5/2--Yellow-throated Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Northern Parula, Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole, Lake Enno
Photos: Shari Zirlin
We spent the day roaming the 100+ square miles of Jackson Township with Mike and a few other local birders. We met at Jackson Memorial High School where we got our first year bird of the day--the famous "three-eight" bird, Yellow-throated Vireo. "Three-eight" is the mnemonic for its song and we heard it clearly and multiple times though we didn't see the bird. This was also a life county bird for me, so I was immediately feeling good about the day.

Our first official stop of the day was at FREC (Forest Research Education Center) on Don Connor Blvd. There we had over 30 species just walking through the woods, the highlight for me being the sweet song of the Wood Thrush. Ear birding does have its points. The Wood Thrush's song is much more beautiful than the bird itself.

We made a quick stop at Butterfly Bogs. The water was too high to get any sandpipers, but there were a couple of Killdeer on a nearby mud flat, along with Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, and a pair of Wood Ducks way in the back.

Driving along Butterfly Road, Mike pulled over when he heard a parula. I kind of heard it too, but I didn't feel comfortable counting it, given my "hear it twice" rule, especially since what I heard was really only the first half of the song. I did hear, after Mike pointed it out, a Black-capped Chickadee, a supposedly rare bird for Ocean County. There are probably more of them here than anyone suspects. The Raritan River is the rule of thumb dividing line between Carolina Chickadee and Black-capped, but it isn't exactly an ocean that birds can't cross and since that part of the county is part of the Eastern Deciduous Forest and not in the Pine Barrens, there's no reason a BC couldn't be there. I know that song from years of listening to it in NY and Massachusetts. I've probably heard it down here before except I wasn't really listening. You see (and hear) what you expect.

I've only visited Lake Enno twice. Both times I've had my FOY Baltimore Oriole there. We heard it calling as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. It took a couple of minutes for me to find it. I figured, hey, it's a big, bright bird, there aren't many leaves on the trees (which kept our day's warbler count down), I ought to be able to find this bird and after a brief search I saw it fly into the tree where Shari took its picture.

We stopped at Prospertown Lake where there wasn't anything we hadn't seen before. That is, birds I could count. As we pulled in we saw two Swan Geese associating with the Canadas. What with Great Adventure's safari attraction just down the road, there is no way you can make the case that these are wild birds and not escapees. Cool looking bird though. I have to admit that had I seen these birds in any other county, I would have listed them (I listed Egyptian Goose in Monmouth) but I take my Ocean County list too seriously to pollute it with exotics.

Our penultimate stop was Colliers Mills. At the parking area, as I hoped, the Blue-winged Teal I found yesterday at the north end of the lake could be viewed with a scope. We also heard my FOY Warbling Vireo. Here's another example of a bird it is just as well to hear as to see, since it is such a nothing, gray bird once you've tracked it down. The mnemonic for this bird goes something like "If I see you I will seize you and squeeze you til you squirt." It doesn't sound anything like that when you hear the bird, but I'm proud I've memorized the mnemonic without needing another mnemonic for it.

Then we did something I've wanted to do since the first time I visited Colliers Mills: we drove the length of Success Road, 5.9 miles, exiting on Route 571. The road gets very rough in spots and it isn't advisable to drive it after a big rain, but there were no problems today and deep, deep in the woods we had one magic cedar tree that had in it a Northern Parula, a Yellow-throated Warbler (a life county bird for me) along with a Black-and-white Warbler.

Our final stop was a new place for, the Silver Stream Trail on Frank Applegate Road. (Jackson is very big on naming streets after residents.) We found a lot of skunk cabbage. Perhaps in a week or two, when the trees have finally leafed out, it will be a haven for warblers, but today the best we could do was Eastern Bluebird to the day list.

That day list consisted of 64 species for me, 4 years birds, 7 county year birds and 3 county lifers.
Herewith, the list:
Canada Goose   19
Mute Swan   1
Wood Duck   3
Mallard   9
Blue-winged Teal   1
Double-crested Cormorant   1
Great Blue Heron   1
Great Egret   1
Turkey Vulture   3
Cooper's Hawk   2
Red-tailed Hawk   2
Killdeer   2
Greater Yellowlegs   2
Rock Pigeon   1
Mourning Dove   1
Red-bellied Woodpecker   4
Downy Woodpecker   4
Northern Flicker   3
Eastern Phoebe   2
Great Crested Flycatcher   2
Eastern Kingbird   1
White-eyed Vireo   14
Yellow-throated Vireo   1
Warbling Vireo   1
Blue Jay   4
American Crow   1
Fish Crow   2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow   2
Purple Martin   5
Tree Swallow   2
Barn Swallow   3
Carolina Chickadee   5
Black-capped Chickadee   1
Tufted Titmouse   2
White-breasted Nuthatch   1
House Wren   2
Carolina Wren   3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher   22
Eastern Bluebird   2
Wood Thrush   2
American Robin   4
Gray Catbird   9
European Starling   2
Ovenbird   7
Black-and-white Warbler   6
Common Yellowthroat   14
Northern Parula   1
Pine Warbler   7
Yellow-rumped Warbler   2
Yellow-throated Warbler   1
Prairie Warbler   6
Eastern Towhee   4
Chipping Sparrow   7
Song Sparrow   1
Swamp Sparrow   2
White-throated Sparrow   2
Northern Cardinal   2
Red-winged Blackbird   19
Common Grackle   2
Brown-headed Cowbird   2
Baltimore Oriole   1
House Finch   1
American Goldfinch   2
House Sparrow   1

No comments:

Post a Comment