Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Island Beach SP 3/16--Piping Plover

Piping Plover
The weather conditions this morning were just about perfect for birding Island Beach SP--mild, sunny, and dead calm. I started, as I usually do, at Reed's Road, not really expecting much as it is still too early to find any migratory birds, but I did have a nice mix of birds, including the month's first Golden-crowned Kinglet. Soon these little guys will be gone. As I was driving south on the main road, two flocks of Great Blue Herons flew over the car. So they're on the move. At Spizzle Creek, I didn't find as much as I'd have liked (but then, I never do, anywhere) but I did see a hunting Northern Harrier and a Peregrine Falcon was perched on the hacking tower out on Great Sedge Island. I was happy to see that the trail to the blind has been cleared--it had become almost impassable with downed trees. I was hoping for a FOY Osprey, but none were evident, and I didn't even get Tree Swallows for the county.

I walked the beach at the  southern tip of the park down to the outlet. I was vaguely hoping for something new, perhaps a look, finally, at the hen King Eider (oxymoron) that has been reported, though I knew that was unlikely. Aside from lots of Long-tailed Ducks and a one flock of Black Scoters, there wasn't much to see until I was almost at the inlet. Then I saw, running up the beach to the wrack line, a Piping Plover.  I usually make a special trip to Barnegat Light in the summer to find this bird on its nesting grounds, so it seemed like a bonus to get one so early in the year. I followed the bird up the beach and found that it had company--in all there were 3 plovers. I figured the plover, would qualify for Bird of the Day, & that I wouldn't have to make a special trip to LBI to "get it" this summer. However, I came across a "better" bird (see above) later in the day.

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