Saturday, February 27, 2016

Trenton Sewer Utility 2/27--Tree Swallow

Shari's first visit to this birding hot spot
It was only about noon when Mike's trip ended, so Shari decided that we should try, again, for the Harris's Sparrow up in Hopewell. I wasn't very hopeful, but we gave it a shot and for the 2nd time it was a futile trip. This is a life bird for Shari, so we'll try again, tomorrow. So it shouldn't be a total loss, we stopped off at the Trenton Sewer Utility which was only about 10 or 15 minutes south of the sparrow spot. I'd been there earlier in the month and thought Shari would like the place. We walked up the short driveway to where the trees climb up the highway ramp and within a few minutes we had both the continuing Palm Warbler and the Orange-crowned Warbler (a rarity for the state, especially this time of year) as well as a ginormous number of Yellow-rumped Warblers. There were so many yellow-rumps that after a while I was getting yellow-rump burnout--you'd see a bird fly out of a tree hawking some invisible midge and then fly back into the tangles and you'd know it was a yumper without putting up your binoculars.

But the birds that really interested me today were our first Tree Swallows of the year. There were two (maybe three) flying over the settling ponds, eating, I can only assume, the little bugs that keep hatching out of the water, the same bugs which, presumably, have kept the warblers there all winter.

The other great sight was a murmuration of starlings that a Red-tailed Hawk scared up for a minute or so before they all settled down again atop a giant stirring mechanism in a around tower.
Northern Mockingbird

There was also a Northern Mockingbird picking away at a bag of suet that a kindly birder has hung up. I've never seen a mockingbird eat suet before.

Our list for standing around the utility:
13 species
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Ring-billed Gull  5
American Crow  1
Tree Swallow  2
Carolina Chickadee  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3
American Robin  4
Northern Mockingbird  1     
European Starling  500    
Orange-crowned Warbler  1     
Palm Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  25

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