Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Island Beach SP 7/1--Brown Pelican

Common Terns
My 2nd trip in a week to Island Beach finally produced one of the two birds I've been looking for since the summer started: Brown Pelican. I walked all the way down the beach to the northern side of Barnegat Inlet, a distance of only, according to Google, 1.67 miles, but it seems longer. Along the way I didn't see much along the way, not surprisingly. Gulls and terns. The terns were for the most part Common Terns, though when I got to the inlet there were a few Forster's Terns. When I got to the inlet I turned to the west and scoped out the sand bars and beaches around Great Sedge Island. The birds were distant, but I could pick out cormorants and oystercatchers. Finally, scanning around the water I saw, at just about the limit of the scope's range, a pelican, a huge brown bird, flying away from me. Aside from seeing the color and knowing how they fly, one way I knew it was a pelican was because it was large enough for me to see it all, given the distance it was from me.

So I had my pelican for the year, but it wasn't a very satisfactory look. However, on the walk back I saw a pelican approaching over the water, flying fairly low over the breakers. I put down the scope and turned on the camera, but just then the ocean came up a little higher than I anticipated and I had to save the scope from the undertow. But, luck was with me, as another bird came flying south about 15 minutes later. This one I was able to get some silhouette-type pictures. See above &:
Actually, the most interesting species I saw today was earlier when I walked the Spizzle Creek trail. I was scoping from the blind when I came across two ducks, drake and hen. When the drake turned toward me, I saw a bright orange bill and was surprised to find lingering Black Scoters in the pool.
Drake Black Scoter
Drake & hen BLSC checked out by Great Egret
 It isn't absolutely amazing to find scoters in summer, but since you usually find them in the ocean, it was odd to find them paddling around like a couple of puddle ducks.

Saltmarsh Sparrow
The other happy find today along the trail was a Saltmarsh Sparrow that posted up nicely for me. At first I thought it was the Song Sparrow I'd been hearing, but no, that bird was a little further on and the buffy face on this bird made for an easy i.d. (You can click any of these photos for a larger rendition.)

I still need Royal Tern for the year and it was not to be found today. The tide was high, so the sand bar at the Winter Anchorage,where I might be able to scope one or two, was pretty much submerged today.

In all I had 34 species to start off July.
Spizzle Creek Blind Trail
31 species
Black Scoter  2     <
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Great Egret  10
Snowy Egret  2
Little Blue Heron  1
Tricolored Heron  4
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1
Glossy Ibis  6
Osprey  25     Conservative count
Willet  4
Laughing Gull  10
Herring Gull  1
Great Black-backed Gull  2
Forster's Tern  3
Mourning Dove  1
Peregrine Falcon  2     On hacking tower
Eastern Kingbird  1
Fish Crow  7
Barn Swallow  4
Marsh Wren  5
Gray Catbird  6
Brown Thrasher  1
Northern Mockingbird  2
Cedar Waxwing  1
Common Yellowthroat  6
Yellow Warbler
Eastern Towhee  1     Heard
Saltmarsh Sparrow  1     
Song Sparrow  1
Red-winged Blackbird  5
Boat-tailed Grackle  8
South Beach to Inlet9 species 
Double-crested Cormorant  7
Brown Pelican  3     
Osprey  3     Nesting on tower off Barnegat Jetty
American Oystercatcher  5
Laughing Gull  50
Herring Gull  25
Great Black-backed Gull  20
Common Tern  50
Forster's Tern  5

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