Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cloverdale Farm 8/17--Olive-sided Flycatcher

I have pretty much spent this month at Whitesbog, circling the bogs almost every morning, looking for the rarities that pop in there. So far, aside from a large number of Short-billed Dowitchers (rare in Burlington, no big deal in Ocean) and a juvenile White Ibis (rare anytime in NJ) it has been the expected birds. Oh yeah, there was the Stilt Sandpiper early on.

I started the day there again and didn't see anything new other than the first Northern Waterthrush in a few months back around Union Pond. I left relatively early to have lunch in Toms River with Shari, then decided to head down to Cloverdale Farm. An Olive-sided Flycatcher had been reported there late yesterday afternoon. Last night Shari asked me if I was going to try to find it and I said no, it was a low percentage attempt. On the other hand, if you don't go, it is a NO percentage quest. (This, by the way, is the logic that lottery commissions use to sucker you into buying a ticket--ya gotta be in it to win it. Except with birds you only lose time.)

In any case, I hadn't been there in a long time, so with low expectations, it being the middle of the day, I arrived around 12:30. Another cool bird that has nested there is Red-headed Woodpecker. I hadn't seen one there, yet, but never looked very hard because I've "had" them a number of times at Colliers Mills. I looked again, perfunctorily, where they had been reported and didn't see one.

The flycatcher had been reported from marker #14. I wasn't exactly sure where that marker was, but, providentially, decided to walk the trail backwards, starting at the entrance gate (where the RHWO had nested) and was surprised to find the first (last) marker I came to was 14. I was also surprised to find a beautiful Red-headed Woodpecker perched on a dead branch.

The bird flew off to the left and landed on another branch where I saw another bird, all gray. My first impression was that it was a juvenile woodpecker, but then I saw it's "unbuttoned vest" and realized very quickly that it was the Olive-sided Flycatcher! The bird flew to another bare branch but before I could get a shot it flew again toward a pine tree. It rested there for a few moments, with just enough branches in the way so that the camera focused on them instead of the bird, then disappeared deeper into the woods. Year bird and county life bird. Bird of the day (day #230). Pretty good results for "what the hell, let's give it a shot."

15 species
Great Blue Heron  1
Herring Gull  1     f/o
Mourning Dove  15
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-headed Woodpecker  1     First bog at entrance.
Olive-sided Flycatcher  1    
Eastern Wood-Pewee  3     Heard
Carolina Chickadee  2
Tufted Titmouse  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1     Heard
Eastern Bluebird  2
Chipping Sparrow  2
House Finch  6
American Goldfinch  2     Heard

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