Saturday, August 6, 2016

Brig 8/6--Pectoral Sandpiper

American Avocet
After 5 trips in 4 days to Whitesbog, I shifted my birding south, first to Cape May and Brig with Mike on Friday, then another 3 trips around Brig today with Mike's & Pete's semi-monthly field trip.

Yesterday, I arose at an ungodly hour so that Mike & I could get down to Cape May early enough to make the birding worthwhile (and beat the summer traffic). Our quest to find a Roseate Tern somewhere on the beaches was unfruitful. One of the few birds in NJ that would be a lifer for me that continues to elude me. After a walk around the state park (where we tallied well over 50 species, barely trying) we headed up to Brig. In both Cape May and Brig we gathered more data to prove Zirlin's Law of Birding which roughly states that "If a guy in a pick up truck stops to ask you about birds it is only because he wants to tell you about 'Eagles I Have Seen.'" While we were going up the Coral Ave dune crossing in Cape May a guy stopped us (seeing our scopes) and told us about how if we went to "the bird place" (we'd know where it was) we could see the eagles nesting. There are no eagles nesting in Cape May and he more than likely meant Ospreys but we let him go on. As our informant walked down the steps, Mike was just about to ask me if I thought he owned a pick up truck when I saw the guy get into a big red one parked across the street. Then, at Brig, while we were showing a Clapper Rail with its chicks to a couple of very enthusiastic new birders, a woman with a howitzer of a camera cradled in her arms, jumped out of a white pick-up truck, confessed she knew nothing about shorebirds, though raptors were her thing, and went into a disquisition about the eagles nest in the cell tower near where she lived and how amazing it was--Mike & I knew she was talking about the cell tower on Hooper Avenue in Toms River. More proof. No longer a hypothesis, no longer a theory, it is now an unalterable law of birding: pick up trucks lead to boring stories about eagles.

Today, I got to Brig early enough to do a solo trip around the impoundments before the official trip began. I was picking up all the usual birds, happy to hear a Blue Grosbeak, see 6 Black-crowned Night-Herons, and find a Caspian Tern on a mud bank, when, on the north dike, I saw the familiar vehicle of a very good birder who I know and caught up to him. I was just about to ask him what birds I missed when he back up, gestured to the pool and said, "You saw the avocet, right?" Actually, no, I hadn't, but I hadn't looked that hard. I would say it was 50/50 that I would have found the bird on my own. Still, it was fine to have one for the day. Unfortunately, it didn't stay for the group and only Jason and I recorded it for the day.

For the group's trip we found most of the interesting birds on the south dike, a deviation from the norm. The two most interesting birds to me were my FOY Pectoral Sandpiper (I had been looking for this bird at Whitesbog all week) and a decent look at a White-rumped Sandpiper (diagnostic crossing wings at the rear) which I used as my Bird A Day listing. I figure, now, that I have decent chance to finish out the month for BAD and then, unless there is an amazing influx of birds in September, will run out of birds.
My Brig list:
70 species
Canada Goose  70
Mute Swan  2
Wood Duck  4
American Black Duck  1
Mallard  5
Double-crested Cormorant  50
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  75
Snowy Egret  50
Little Blue Heron  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  8
Glossy Ibis  50
Turkey Vulture  2
Osprey  10
Bald Eagle  1     in treeline just before drive enters upland area
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Clapper Rail  5
American Avocet  1
American Oystercatcher  4
Black-bellied Plover  3
Semipalmated Plover  50
Spotted Sandpiper  5
Greater Yellowlegs  10
Lesser Yellowlegs
Whimbrel  5
Ruddy Turnstone  2
Least Sandpiper  20
White-rumped Sandpiper  1
Pectoral Sandpiper  1
Semipalmated Sandpiper  400
Western Sandpiper  3
Short-billed Dowitcher  25
Long-billed Dowitcher  4     from East Dike, large, red, hump-backed dowitchers. 
Laughing Gull  200
Herring Gull  50
Great Black-backed Gull  25
Least Tern  45
Gull-billed Tern  2
Caspian Tern  4
Common Tern  1
Forster's Tern  25
Black Skimmer  15
Mourning Dove  10
Downy Woodpecker  2
Peregrine Falcon  2
Eastern Kingbird  1
Blue Jay  1     Heard
American Crow  10
Fish Crow  3
Tree Swallow  3
Barn Swallow  5
Carolina Chickadee  1     Heard upland
Marsh Wren  2     Heard
Carolina Wren  1     Heard, parking lot
American Robin  1
Gray Catbird  2
European Starling  25
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow Warbler  
Saltmarsh Sparrow  2
Seaside Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  3     Heard
Eastern Towhee  2     Heard, upland
Northern Cardinal  1     Heard, upland
Blue Grosbeak  1     Heard, start of drive
Indigo Bunting  2     singing
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Boat-tailed Grackle  2
House Finch  2
American Goldfinch  2     Heard

1 comment:

  1. All the pickup jokes that I wasn't getting (much like the avocet) suddenly make sense...