Sunday, July 31, 2016

Richard W. DeKorte Park 7/30 + July Wrap-up

Ruff, DeKorte Park
For a change of pace, Shari & I went up to north Jersey with our pal Bob Auster and birded DeKorte Park in the Meadowlands. Shari & I hadn't been there since we lived in Brooklyn (when it was an easier drive) and Bob had never birded it. While most of the birds that are found on the mudflats can be found closer to home, there were a couple of specialties I was hoping for (Least Bittern and Sora) that I missed, though Bob did get a brief look at the bittern. 

For the last week or so the park has also had a male Ruff, molting out of breeding plumage. Birding can sometimes be a little like collecting baseball cards--if you already have a Mickey Mantle, you don't need another. We three already had a Ruff down in Heislerville and since this bird was in a restricted area, we weren't too upset if we saw it or not. However, we ran into a birder we knew who was doing a survey in that area and she kindly let us in to see the bird. I have to say that this was far and away the best view of a Ruff I've ever had and also, by far, the best looking one. A lot of times these birds just look like shabby yellowlegs, but this bird had colorful plumage still extant. It was, unfortunately, back lit, so photography was a problem despite it's proximity, but I did manage to digiscope with the iPhone the halfway decent picture above. 

Speaking of phones, on Disposal Road (one of the great road names in NJ) we found these relics of pay phones. Bob tried to call in the Ruff to the NJ Rare Bird Hotline, but he wasn't able to get through.

When you don't bird a place often, you're always surprised at what's supposedly rare there. Bob & I had a Caspian Tern fly over us, identified it immediately, and then, when I went to list it in eBird, found that it was a rarity. According to regular there, it isn't all that rare, but was notable. While walking a boardwalk trail that winds through a marsh we heard a Clapper Rail. Again, supposedly rare. Bob also found a Green Heron while we were looking at the Ruff. Not a rare bird there, but one that was passing through on migration. Still, it was a bird we hadn't expected. 

My last foray of the month was a more usual trip--my eighth go-round of Brig in the last 31 days. Nothing special there to report; shorebird numbers are increasing and--hurrah--they won't be shutting it down for reconstruction in August as previously threatened. Contractor scheduling conflicts--whoever heard of that? Still, the water levels seem high--whether it is due to all the recent rain or because the water control systems need work is unclear. But the big area by the dogleg, where all the rarities seem to turn up, is, instead of mud and grass, full of water and gulls and geese and not much else. 

July was another slow month, with only 7 year birds. I started using up "easy" birds for Bird A Day. If I get through August with the contest it will be an accomplishment. I suppose the biggest highlight of the month was the Red-necked Phalarope at Brig, but I also liked getting birds in Ocean County, like the Brown Pelican on Great Sedge Island and the Lesser Black-backed Gull along the beach at IBSP. 

For the month I ticked 127 species all in NJ save for one trip to Central Park in NY.
Counties birded:
New Jersey: Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Ocean, Union
New York: New York
Species      First Sighting
Canada Goose   Brig
Mute Swan   Brig
Wood Duck   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
American Black Duck   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Mallard   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Blue-winged Teal   Brig
Black Scoter   Cape May Meadows
Ruddy Duck   Richard W. DeKorte Park
Wild Turkey   35 Sunset Rd
Common Loon   Island Beach SP
Pied-billed Grebe   Brig
Double-crested Cormorant   Linden Hawk Rise Sanctuary
Brown Pelican   Great Sedge Island
Great Blue Heron   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Great Egret   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Snowy Egret   Brig
Little Blue Heron   Great Bay Bvld. WMA
Tricolored Heron   Forsythe-Barnegat
Green Heron   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Black-crowned Night-Heron   Brig
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron   Great Bay Bvld. WMA
Glossy Ibis   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
White-faced Ibis   Brig
Turkey Vulture   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Osprey   Brig
Cooper's Hawk   Whiting WMA
Bald Eagle   GSP MM 48
Red-tailed Hawk   Cloverdale Farm
Clapper Rail   Great Bay Bvld. WMA
American Oystercatcher   Brig
Black-bellied Plover   Brig
Semipalmated Plover   Forsythe-Barnegat
Piping Plover   Island Beach SP
Killdeer   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Spotted Sandpiper   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Greater Yellowlegs   Brig
Willet   Brig
Lesser Yellowlegs   Brig
Whimbrel   Brig
Ruddy Turnstone   Island Beach SP
Ruff   Richard W. DeKorte Park
Sanderling   Island Beach SP
Least Sandpiper   Brig
White-rumped Sandpiper   Brig
Semipalmated Sandpiper   Brig
Western Sandpiper   Brig
Short-billed Dowitcher   Brig
Long-billed Dowitcher   Brig
Red-necked Phalarope   Brig
Laughing Gull   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Ring-billed Gull   Brig
Herring Gull   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Lesser Black-backed Gull   Island Beach SP
Great Black-backed Gull   Brig
Least Tern   Brig
Gull-billed Tern   Brig
Caspian Tern   Brig
Common Tern   Brig
Forster's Tern   Brig
Royal Tern   Island Beach SP
Black Skimmer   Brig
Rock Pigeon   Central Park
Mourning Dove   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Yellow-billed Cuckoo   Spizzle Creek
Eastern Whip-poor-will   35 Sunset Rd
Ruby-throated Hummingbird   35 Sunset Rd
Red-bellied Woodpecker   35 Sunset Rd
Downy Woodpecker   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Northern Flicker   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Peregrine Falcon   Brig
Eastern Wood-Pewee   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Willow Flycatcher   Great Sedge Island
Eastern Phoebe   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Great Crested Flycatcher   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Eastern Kingbird   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
White-eyed Vireo   Brig
Warbling Vireo   Colliers Mills WMA
Red-eyed Vireo   Bridge to Nowhere
Blue Jay   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
American Crow   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Fish Crow   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Common Raven   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Northern Rough-winged Swallow   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Purple Martin   Brig
Tree Swallow   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Bank Swallow   Brig
Barn Swallow   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Carolina Chickadee   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Tufted Titmouse   35 Sunset Rd
White-breasted Nuthatch   35 Sunset Rd
House Wren   Brig
Marsh Wren   Brig
Carolina Wren   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Eastern Bluebird   Cloverdale Farm
Wood Thrush   Colliers Mills WMA
American Robin   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Gray Catbird   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Brown Thrasher   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Northern Mockingbird   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
European Starling   Brig
Cedar Waxwing   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Ovenbird   Colliers Mills WMA
Black-and-white Warbler   White's Bogs
Common Yellowthroat   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Yellow Warbler   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Pine Warbler   Colliers Mills WMA
Prairie Warbler   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Grasshopper Sparrow   Colliers Mills WMA
Saltmarsh Sparrow   Great Bay Bvld. WMA
Seaside Sparrow   Brig
Chipping Sparrow   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Field Sparrow   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Song Sparrow   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Eastern Towhee   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Northern Cardinal   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Blue Grosbeak   Brig
Indigo Bunting   Colliers Mills WMA
Bobolink   Brig
Red-winged Blackbird   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Common Grackle   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Boat-tailed Grackle   Brig
Brown-headed Cowbird   Brig
Orchard Oriole   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
House Finch   35 Sunset Rd
American Goldfinch   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
House Sparrow   Shelter Cove Park

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