Saturday, January 2, 2016

Turning to the Ocean County List...

Pine Siskin
Plans to go to Cape May or Brig today didn't jell, so I turned my birding attentions to putting some species onto the all-important Ocean County list.

Our feeders were active today and Pine Siskins, sometimes rare, sometimes abundant, made an appearance this morning when the newly-filled thistle feeder was still in the blue shadows.

I decided that Cattus Island would probably have a good mix of waterfowl and land birds and I was right. The most surprising bird there was the drake Canvasback I found in Silver Bay, in with a flock of Ruddy Ducks. I've never seen a Canvasback at Cattus Island. Not the greatest picture, but you can see the white back and the big brick-red head.

I drove over to nearby Marshall's Pond. For a retention pond in the middle of a shopping center it attracts a lot of waterfowl. My main goal there was to get the Redhead I'd seen reported for the last couple of weeks. Now that I've seen both Canvasback and Redhead in the county, it saves me from having to scan the waterfront at Riverfront Landing on freezing winter mornings, looking for these ducks. The Canvasbacks are pretty common there, but it's always an ordeal trying to pick out the Redheads among them with your eyes tearing and fingers freezing. I still might have to go over there...Canvasback is a good bird to have in your pocket for Bird A Day, but at least the pressure is off for those two ducks (favorites here in the Zirlin household).

Last bird of the day was a Northern Cardinal in the gloaming, eating safflower seed.

So with today's various sightings I have Ocean County up to a somewhat respectable 37 species. I added 17 species to the year list. They were:
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Pine Siskin
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Golden-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Red-winged Blackbird
Ring-necked Duck
Dark-eyed Junco
White-breasted Nuthatch
Northern Cardinal


  1. Is this early for pine siskins? Not a sight yet of any around here...

  2. Not early--they've been around for about a month. They're sporadic. They may have skipped right over you.