Monday, February 15, 2016

Manasquan Reservoir 2/15--Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler
My original plan to bird Barnegat Light SP was scotched by the weather--the snow arriving much earlier than I expected. Instead, I decided to try to out-run the storm by driving up to Manasquan Reservoir where I knew there was at least one interesting bird to be found.

The skies were iron-gray when I got there and the reservoir itself was about 95% frozen over, but the bird I was looking for was supposedly by the feeders at the Environmental Center. I walked around to the side of the building and planted myself there for about 10 minutes, getting all the birds I could just as easily see outside my window and getting very cold hands in the bargain. I went around the building to a little trail where I could scope the reservoir where I found a few Great Black-backed Gulls and Ruddy Ducks, & nothing else to keep me there.

Then, I had a "duh" moment when I realized that one could view the feeders inside the nice & warm Center. I set myself up by the window in front of the suet feeder and waited. This type of birding is kind of boring to me--I like to move--but at least I could feel my fingers. While I was just standing there I said to myself that I may as well set my camera to the right distance in the unlikely event that the bird showed up. As I was focusing on the suet cage a bird flew on to it. I automatically snapped a photo then looked naked eye and found my target bird--Orange-crowned Warbler, a tough bird at any time in NJ and really unusual in the winter. I took a couple of more photos through the glass in gray light. One of the volunteers there had said to me that though he'd seen the bird, he'd never be able to identify it by himself. I inwardly scoffed at that--at this time of year, just look for the drabbest bird in the crowd and that's your OCWA. Maybe in migration it might be tough when there are other warblers to contend with like Tennessee or even Pine, but right now it's a snap. Of course, in the best of times you rarely see the orange crown; certainly doesn't show now.

Bald Eagle (imm)
Having gotten my Bird A Day entry, I decided to drive over to the other side of the reservoir and look around there, hoping for some open water. There were a few patches right in the middle where I found a decent flock of Common Mergansers (but nothing like the 1000 that were reported yesterday) and a few more ruddies, along with very distant swans and large flock of noisy geese. I also found, on the ice, eating some kind of carcass, an immature Bald Eagle.

I walked about a third of the way around the reservoir as the snow started to come down heavily. It's a 5 mile loop but given the conditions and relative lack of birds, I turned around. One day, though, I'll do the loop.

It didn't seem to be snowing very heavily when I left the reservoir, so I decided to give Colliers Mills a try again. There has been a kestrel reported there that I keep missing. By the time I got there, though, the storm had arrived in force. Snow doesn't bother me like rain and there was relatively no wind, so I walked along Success Road with no success, then up the path to the "landing strip" where I'd seen the Red-headed Woodpecker on Friday. I heard a woodpecker that I knew wasn't any of the usual ones and after walking into the field and following the sound I was again rewarded with a very nice look at the bird. I wasn't carrying the camera; no point in that snow.

Having ticked two cool birds for the day, I walked on back to the car, where a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was on a tree across from the parking lot.

My Manasquan Reservoir list:
23 species
Canada Goose  300
Mute Swan  2
Common Merganser  70
Ruddy Duck  15
Bald Eagle  1     
Great Black-backed Gull  3
Mourning Dove  4
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  1     Feeders
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  15
Carolina Chickadee  5
Tufted Titmouse  4
White-breasted Nuthatch  1     Feeders
Carolina Wren  2     One @ Feeders, one heard
American Robin  2
Northern Mockingbird  1
Orange-crowned Warbler  1    
Dark-eyed Junco  10
White-throated Sparrow  15
Northern Cardinal  4
House Finch  25
American Goldfinch  20

No comments:

Post a Comment