|Purple Finches, Beach Avenue|
Well before dawn we checked in the with the count's compiler, Rick Radis at a diner on Rt. 72. He told us that he had heard a Long-eared Owl on Stafford Avenue, which is part of our territory. Getting back into the car I said to Mike that I didn't even know what a Long-eared sounded like--I've only seen them. Mike wasn't sure what their call was but Pete, of course, did know--it's a "barking" sound.
Soon after, about a half hour before dawn, we were at the end of Beach Avenue in the woods, just before it opens up to marsh. Pete was whinnying, trying to call in an Eastern Screech Owl. He wasn't having much luck, and while he paused for a minute, I heard, behind us, a distinct little bark. I heard it again. Pete heard it. It was a Long-ear, my first for the county (and the Bird of the Day). We moved over to the marsh end of the road, hoping to find the Sedge Wren that is often there but wasn't today. However, while we were listening for the wren, the Screech Owl finally responded.
|Killdeer, Manahawkin Lake|
I added 20 species to my year list and for the day we totaled 57 species, pretty good for a winter's day. Mike's tally sheets below: