Saturday, February 20, 2016

Absecon Creek 2/20--Lesser Yellowlegs

I rode down to Brig today with Mike & Pete for the monthly NJ Audubon trip 'round the impoundments and in between the first loop and lunch the group drove down to Absecon Creek for the continuing rarities, two American Avocets. Some in the group hadn't seen the species yet this year; others, like me, just like to see these really cool birds.
American Avocets
These were again "roll up" birds; the cars hadn't even braked before we were all on the birds. After everyone got good scope views and all the pictures they wanted, we were going to head back up to Brig. Driving along the creek to get back to Route 9 we saw the usual ducks, geese, gulls, what not, plus a Fish Crow that vocalized for us, confirming its identity. Then Mike spotted what he at first thought was a Dunlin--shorebirds were non-existent at Brig, so this was a big deal to us. With the car stopped the bird quickly became a yellowlegs. A little more examination (size of bird, size of bill) and we all concluded that we had a Lesser Yellowlegs across the channel. My only year bird for the day and a supposed rarity in Atlantic County this time of year. As to its rarity, I'm dubious--they aren't flagged in Ocean County, but I'm nevertheless happy to get another shorebird on the list.
Lesser Yellowlegs
Small Snow Goose with "grin patch"
We also had an excellent day at Brig, with many more species than we originally expected. The most unusual duck species we saw there as a large flock of Canvasbacks--it isn't unheard of to find a few at Brig, but we had well over 40 birds. (On Wednesday, when I was there with Shari, we had 65 Cans.) As usual, Snow Geese were in the thousands but try as we might we couldn't find a Ross's Goose in the flocks, despite waiting a couple of times for smaller geese to wake up and take their heads out of their feathers. If you see a "grin patch" then it doesn't matter how small you think the goose is.

For the day I had 53 species--I missed a few birds along the way, but nothing I didn't already have for the year.
50 species (+1 other taxa)
Snow Goose  2000
Brant  55
Canada Goose  150
Mute Swan  4
Tundra Swan  2
Gadwall  20
American Wigeon  25
American Black Duck  1000
Mallard  100
American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid)  1
Northern Shoveler  10
Northern Pintail  40
Green-winged Teal  55
Canvasback  45     
Ring-necked Duck  7
Greater Scaup  5
Bufflehead  40
Hooded Merganser  30
Common Merganser  4     Three gull pond, one exit pond
Red-breasted Merganser  5     Turtle Cove
Great Blue Heron  4
Black Vulture  2
Turkey Vulture  3
Northern Harrier  4
Bald Eagle  3
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk
Killdeer  1
Ring-billed Gull  3
Herring Gull  200
Great Black-backed Gull  7
Mourning Dove  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2     Heard, upland section and parking lot
Peregrine Falcon  1
Blue Jay  2     Heard
American Crow  7
Carolina Chickadee  2     Heard
Tufted Titmouse  1     Heard
White-breasted Nuthatch  2     Heard
Carolina Wren  2     Heard
Eastern Bluebird  2
American Robin  30
Yellow-rumped Warbler  10
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  1
Eastern Towhee  2     Heard upland section
Northern Cardinal  2     Heard
Red-winged Blackbird  40
Boat-tailed Grackle  1
House Finch  3
American Goldfinch  3
Absecon Creek
10 species (+1 other taxa)
Canada Goose  10
Mallard  50
Bufflehead  1     with HOME
Hooded Merganser  10
Double-crested Cormorant  1
American Avocet  2    
Lesser Yellowlegs  1     
Great Black-backed Gull  1
gull sp.  25     didn't bother scoping these.
Blue Jay  1     Heard
Fish Crow  1

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