Thursday, April 21, 2016

Island Beach SP 4/21--Blue-headed Vireo, Prairie Warbler

Blue-headed Vireo
Southerly winds made me think there might be migrants coming in, so I took a walk  this morning along Reed's Road on Island Beach SP, a well-known migrant trap. I go there despite never really having much luck. I like the pathway, once a road to a rough and ready hotel for outdoors-men. So I wasn't surprised when I was finding virtually nothing on my way in, though I did run into a fellow birder and caught up with him, standing on the beach of Barnegat Bay while ibises and cormorants flew in large flocks over the water.

After checking out "the bowl" a grove of pines a little north of the road, I was making my way back when I spotted an FOY, a Prairie Warbler jumping through the branches of a tree. It wasn't singing. I heard my friend up ahead, but didn't know if he was on the phone or talking to someone and didn't want to yell out PRAIRIE WARBLER, especially if he'd seen it already. It turns out he was talking to another birder we both know and, yes, they had both had the warbler before me.  A Field Sparrow made an appearance while we were chatting, exchanging places with the warbler. We continued in opposite directions and just before I came to the main road I pished a bit, just to see if I could draw out one more bird and sure enough, one jumped up, looking a bit like a warbler until I got a look at its spectacles and large bill--my first Blue-headed Vireo of the year. Again, not singing. I know Prairie Warblers nest in the county and I believe the vireo does too--I guess they're just not interested in nesting on Reed's Road and would rather be on the mainland.

I drove down to the Spizzle Creek trail where there was a Brown Thrasher singing at the head of the path and when I made it out to the marsh, there was a large flock of shorebirds across the water, mostly Dunlins, getting the black patches on their bellies, but a good number of Black-bellied Plovers were there too, along with a couple of Greater Yellowlegs (they were singing; they're always "singing") and my NJ Willets were mixed in with all the rest. My first Willet this year was off Little Tobago Island, where it was considered "rare." But these Willets are county birds.

I had 42 species in all, including a late junco along the path to the Winter Anchorage.
Species   First Sighting
Brant   Spizzle Creek
Mute Swan   Reed’s Road
Mallard   Reed’s Road
Bufflehead   Reed’s Road
Red-breasted Merganser   Spizzle Creek
Double-crested Cormorant   Reed’s Road
Great Egret   Spizzle Creek
Snowy Egret   Spizzle Creek
Glossy Ibis   Reed’s Road
Osprey   Spizzle Creek
Black-bellied Plover   Spizzle Creek
Greater Yellowlegs   Spizzle Creek
Willet   Spizzle Creek
Dunlin   Spizzle Creek
Laughing Gull   Reed’s Road
Herring Gull   Reed’s Road
Great Black-backed Gull   Reed’s Road
Forster's Tern   Spizzle Creek
Mourning Dove   Reed’s Road
Red-bellied Woodpecker   Reed’s Road
Peregrine Falcon   Spizzle Creek
Blue-headed Vireo   Reed’s Road
American Crow   Reed’s Road
Fish Crow   Spizzle Creek
Carolina Chickadee   Reed’s Road
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher   Reed’s Road
American Robin   Reed’s Road
Brown Thrasher   Spizzle Creek
Northern Mockingbird   Reed’s Road
Cedar Waxwing   Reed’s Road
Yellow-rumped Warbler   Reed’s Road
Prairie Warbler   Reed’s Road
Chipping Sparrow   Winter Anchorage
Field Sparrow   Reed’s Road
Dark-eyed Junco   Winter Anchorage
White-throated Sparrow   Reed’s Road
Song Sparrow   Reed’s Road
Eastern Towhee   Reed’s Road
Red-winged Blackbird   Reed’s Road
Boat-tailed Grackle   Spizzle Creek
Brown-headed Cowbird   Reed’s Road
American Goldfinch   Reed’s Road
Finally, one of the first things I saw this morning was this displaying tom on the back lawn. The two hens picking at the grass were not impressed.

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