Friday, January 8, 2016

Assunpink WMA 1/8--Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Northern Mockingbird, White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrows in their "historical" location
Today, I decided to put a relatively easy bird on the year. Relatively easy in one location--a farm driveway on the way into Assunpink. As is almost always the case in the fall, winter and early spring, a flock of White-crowned Sparrows was alternately feeding in the gravel and flying into the hedges along the fence.

Usage note (this is Birds & Words, after all): When birds regularly occur in the same location, birders tend to refer to that place as the "traditional" spot for the birds. This has always annoyed me because birds don't have traditions. They do have histories, though (even though they're obviously unaware of them) so I prefer the word "historical" when referring to these areas. Want White-crowned Sparrows on your list? Go to their historical location on Imlaystown Road.

Assunpink Lake is approximately 95% frozen--I was surprised that just a couple of days of sub-freezing temperatures would do that so quickly--and thus the only waterfowl I found were 3 swans on on the extreme eastern section of the lake. 3 swans--when I first saw the big white shapes in the distance I was hoping they were the Trumpeter Swans returning to their "historical" location, but alas, they were only 3 Pond Pigs (Mute Swans). It doesn't look good for Trumpeter Swans this year, which is disappointing because, aside from being beautiful birds, they're countable now in Monmouth County.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
I walked the long semi-circular road that follows the the shore of the lake and came up with the usual species. When I emerged on to the main road, near where the old headquarters once stood (pulled down last year) I was going to turn right in the direction of the parking  lot, but then remembered that last time I was there in December, in the tangles to my left I found a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. What were the chances of finding one again? Very good it turns out, because no sooner did I approach the same bare bush where I'd seen one in December, a kinglet popped out. What were the chance it would stand still long enough for me to get a good picture? Not very good as it turns out:

Northern Mockingbird
My last year bird of the day was one I certainly wasn't sweating--Northern Mockingbird, on my way out, in the same driveway as the White-crowned Sparrows--also an historical location for this species.

26 species 
Canada Goose  2     Heard/ f/o
Mute Swan  3     
Turkey Vulture  15
Rock Pigeon   7
Mourning Dove  5
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  1     Heard
Carolina Chickadee  10
Tufted Titmouse  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  1     Heard
Carolina Wren  4
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  5
Yellow-rumped Warbler  5
Field Sparrow  1
White-crowned Sparrow  9    
White-throated Sparrow  40
Song Sparrow  5
Northern Cardinal  2
American Goldfinch  2

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