Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Brig 10/4--American White Pelican

American White Pelicans
I didn't think I'd be going back to Brig so soon; I figured I'd wait for its "grand re-opening" but a text alert came in while I was walking on Great Bay Blvd that two American White Pelicans were viewable from the Gull Tower and since GBB was, according to GPS, only 37 minutes away and since pelicans are big birds and hard to miss, I drove down there. I wouldn't chase a flighty bird like a warbler or sparrow, but this seemed like a pretty good bet.

And it was. I climbed up the tower, met a couple of guys there who pointed me in the general direction of the pelicans, looked through my scope and added them to the year list. I was figuring that was a species that would be a miss this year.

Almost as interesting to me as the pelicans were the 6 Common Gallinules that were in the Gull Pond. (Gallinula galeata use to be called Common Moorhen but since half of them aren't hens and there are no moors in North America, the name was, to my mind, sensibly changed, though much to the chagrin of some traditionalists. On a somewhat related note, the Toledo Mudhens minor league baseball team, uses the folk name for American Coot. The team doesn't seem to know this and its mascot looks more like a chicken than a coot.) While Common Gallinule is not rare this time of year at Brig, 6 of them is a pretty big number to find. These all looked like either females or juveniles to me.
Common Gallinule
For the 6th day in a row, the weather was nasty--blowing drizzle, gusting winds, but not enough to prevent me from getting out to bird. Great Bay Blvd had a decent variety of birds, but, the ones I was looking for, sparrows, were being extraordinarily difficult, showing themselves for a fleeting moment before diving into the reeds. The dim light and windy conditions didn't help, so I couldn't tell if the sparrows scampering around the marsh were Saltmarsh or Nelson's. Nelson's is the one I need for the year and GBB is the best place in Ocean County to find them.

Some other birds I did see down there:
Least Sandpiper
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (juvenile)
You can see how murky the light was today. Tomorrow might be better. Then we're awaiting a hurricane to decide on its path.

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