Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Union Transportation Trail 1/12--Fish Crow

My main destination this morning was the Union Transportation Trail (UTT) in Upper Freehold, a "rails to trails" conversion. The trail was once the right of way for the Pemberton & Hightstown Railroad which ran along Cream Ridge, picking up milk from the dairies that use to operate there. Now it runs through a number of different habitats, passing by horse farms, tree farms, and over a number of creeks. I like it because I can gauge my progress by the mile markers and because a lot of birds can be found as you progress from tangles, to woods, to wet lands, to open farm land.

Hidden Pond
Until recently I didn't walk here in the fall or winter, so with the leaves off the trees, I've discovered a number of different ponds that were completely hidden by the foliage. Now I know why I often see herons on the trail and one little pond occasionally has black ducks on it. I'm hoping for Wood Duck sometime soon.

The tangles along the trail are great for attracting birds. They are not great for actually seeing birds. It can be frustrating watching the flitting forms behind the hedges, trying to pish them out only to have yet another White-throated Sparrow pop up.

Almost from the start I heard Fish Crows overhead. For some reason not well-explained, Fish Crows in winter are much more likely to show up inland than by large bodies of water. I have a fondness for Fish Crows, born from my first identification of one at Jamaica Bay many years ago when I realized that the crow I was hearing sounded "wrong" and then, looking up crows in my Peterson, realized that it was a Fish Crow. So whenever I hear that "eh-eh," I relive that happy moment.  I don't mind listing Fish Crows by ear (you do have to hear one before you can determine whether it is Fish or American) but, as with every bird, I do prefer to see them. It took a while but finally I heard a large flock overhead and managed to see them. Had they not been calling they would have gone down on the list as "crow sp." if they went down at all.

I walked a little over 5 miles (the mile markers farther apart than their mileage would indicate, but I have to trust them) and came back to the car with 18 species, all of them expected, some of them FOY for Monmouth County:
Canada Goose  40     Two f/o flocks
Turkey Vulture  4
Ring-billed Gull  9     f/o
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  1     Heard
Fish Crow  15
Carolina Chickadee  2     Heard
Tufted Titmouse  2
Carolina Wren  1     Heard
Hermit Thrush  1
American Robin  200
European Starling  250
Yellow-rumped Warbler  3
Dark-eyed Junco  1
White-throated Sparrow  20
Song Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  7
Farm House

No comments:

Post a Comment