Saturday, February 27, 2016

Jackson 2/27--Horned Lark

Mike leads a series of trips, The Birds of Jackson, for the Jackson Community School and today was the initial foray to some of the hot spots in the 100 square mile township. Jackson is big. Some of the spots are well known destinations, like Colliers Mills and Prospertown Lake, but others are not frequently birded, like the Forest Resource Education Center (FREC) or Lake Enno.

Mike's method is to go to the same places each trip to show how the birding changes as the habitats change, but today he started off at a place he wouldn't normally go, Jackson Liberty HS, because he'd spotted Horned Larks in the field there. Horned Lark is a very good Ocean County bird--the only place in the county I've seen them is the Lakehurst Naval Base around the jump circle. So, after stopping for a nice flock of Killdeers in the high school's playing fields, we got great scope looks at 4 (at least) larks in another field. It is funny how such a beautiful bird can blend in so perfectly with it's grassy surroundings. Unfortunately, they were way too far to even attempt a photo.

We then proceeded to make the rounds, including the above mentioned stops as well as Butterfly Bogs and some retention ponds. Probably the most unusual bird we found, after the larks, was a Common Loon on Prospertown Lake. We managed a good number of ducks at the various ponds, and found Red-tailed Hawks at about half the places we looked. I listed 34 species for the morning's birding; there were a few more, like grackles and White-throated Sparrows, along the way that I didn't bother to list.

Locations birded:
Jackson Liberty HS, Veterans Hway Retention Pond, Butterfly Bogs, FREC, Jackson Mills Pond, Lake Enno, Prospertown Lake, Colliers Mills
Canada Goose   139
Gadwall   5
American Black Duck   3
Mallard   9
Ring-necked Duck   15
Hooded Merganser   3
Common Loon   1
Great Blue Heron   1
Turkey Vulture   4
Red-tailed Hawk   3
Killdeer   11
Ring-billed Gull   1
Mourning Dove   6
Red-bellied Woodpecker   2
Downy Woodpecker   2
Hairy Woodpecker   1
Northern Flicker   1
Blue Jay   1
American Crow   2
Fish Crow   1
Horned Lark   4
Carolina Chickadee   5
Tufted Titmouse   5
White-breasted Nuthatch   2
Carolina Wren   1
Eastern Bluebird   4
American Robin   30
European Starling   12
Yellow-rumped Warbler   1
Dark-eyed Junco   15
Song Sparrow   2
Northern Cardinal   1
Red-winged Blackbird   2
House Sparrow   1

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