Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Great Bay Blvd WMA 6/10--Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Great Bay Blvd.
After my 2nd trip to Lakehurst this month, where I saw pretty much everything I saw last week only in better weather and light, Mike & I decided to continue the birding day. Our first stop was Railroad Avenue in Waretown where we looked, fruitlessly, for over an hour, for the Mississippi Kite that has been reported there for the last week or so. We were joined by other frustrated birders and had to answer many questions from the locals as to why we were walking slowly up and down their street with our necks craned to perfectly cloudless, cerulean sky. Every once in a while we'd get excited if a gull or a vulture flew over to provide a false alarm. Looking for a rarity can be like holding a losing stock--you know you should cut your losses, but you don't want to take the loss. You hold or stay, hoping you'll go into the plus column. Sometimes you do, but the longer you hold or stay, the less likely you will.

After that we headed down to Great Bay Blvd, hoping to add some year birds to our lists. Mike still needed Little Blue Heron and we both needed Brown Pelican and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. It didn't look good for any of these species until on our way back, just as we were about to go over one of the wooden bridges, Mike spotted a bird just off the water that wasn't an egret or ibis. Naturally, there was a car behind us, so we could stop. Instead we crossed the bridge, turned around and went back over. As we crossed again going south I put my binoculars on the bird and saw that it was the Yellow-crowned. It posed for pictures and we were both pretty pleased. We hadn't exactly given up, but we were in the process of leaving.

Immature Black-crowned Night-Heron
On the way north up the road we came across a trio of waders--Snowy Egret, Glossy Ibis and an immature night-heron. Our first impression was that of another Yellow-crown, but after we looked more closely at the bill we thought not. When Mike said the bill was bi-colored, I said that it was a Black-crown, using Shari's mnemonic: Black bill = yellow, yellow bill = black. It's that simple and why people spend hours debating immature night-heron I don't know. Actually I do: they can't see the bill well enough and then you're thrown back on structure and "giss."

To the birder we told it was a Yellow-crown I can only say, "Oops, sorry." At least we told her where to find the adult.

I had 27 species while we  slalomed up and down the boulevard of broken asphalt avoiding the many Diamondback Terrapins making their way from one side of the marsh to the other. Mike also had a Cooper's Hawk and a distant American Oystercatcher that I missed.

Double-crested Cormorant  2
Great Egret  15
Snowy Egret  10
Black-crowned Night-Heron  5     
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  1     
Glossy Ibis  10
Osprey  5
Clapper Rail  4     Heard
Willet  10
Semipalmated Sandpiper  20
Laughing Gull  75
Herring Gull  50
Great Black-backed Gull  5
Common Tern  3
Forster's Tern  1
Mourning Dove  3
Willow Flycatcher  1
Fish Crow  1
Tree Swallow  2
Barn Swallow  25
Gray Catbird  1
Common Yellowthroat  4
Yellow Warbler
 1     Heard, end of the road
Seaside Sparrow  10
Song Sparrow  3
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Boat-tailed Grackle  10

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