Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January: 10 Rarities

Ross's Goose, Deerhead Lake
I birded almost every day this month. The weather, aside from a brief cold snap, was kind. I probably picked up close to 40% of the birds I'll see in New Jersey this year in the first month. That's not an accomplishment. I did, however, see 10 rarities, for New Jersey, this month, and 40% of those rarities were white: American White Pelican on the first day of the year, the Ross's Goose I found at Deerhead Lake, a Trumpeter Swan at Assunpink (a pretty dingy white, but nonetheless white) and the Snowy Owl on Holgate. I'm not even counting the Pine Warblers at the Trenton Sewer Utility (the "poo ponds" as I have heard them called) as rarities because those birds are more prevalent than eBird allows.

I started the month at Tip Seaman Park in Tuckerton where the pelican carried over from the last day of December and ended the month there, sorting through the Canada Goose flock hoping for a rare goose that has made a couple of brief appearances in the county--Pink-footed Goose. There's a very easy PFGO in Cape May, but local birds are so much more satisfying. While looking through the flock I found one goose that was banded. I noticed that the flock, like many of the goose flocks in winter, had two distinct types of Canada Geese--the ones like the banded goose are very big with thick necks, while the other geese, which I presume are local and don't migrate, are probably a little smaller overall, but their necks are distinctly thinner. I reported the goose to the USGS and mentioned that they might want to find a way to differentiate between the characters "zero" and "O" in their typography. I'm ever the printer.

The year is off to an excellent start. I was a little concerned in December when I felt my birding spirits flagging, but the prospect of finding new birds for the year seems to have revived them. I've been thinking that the listing part of birding, at least, is similar to collecting baseball cards--every pack (read day) had the potential for a great card (bird). The Pink-footed Goose would be a Mickey Mantle in my day. The European Starling is Choo-choo Coleman.

I ended the month with 122 species (96 in Ocean County). They were:
Species             First Sighting
Snow Goose   Colliers Mills WMA
Ross's Goose   Deer Head Lake
Brant   Cape May Harbor
Barnacle Goose   Etra Lake
Canada Goose   35 Sunset Rd
Mute Swan   Tip Seaman CP
Trumpeter Swan   Assunpink WMA
Tundra Swan   Cape May Meadows
Wood Duck   Cranberry Bogs--Dover Rd
Gadwall   Cape May Point SP
Eurasian Wigeon   Shark River
American Wigeon   Cape May Point SP
American Black Duck   Cape May Point SP
Mallard   Cape May Point SP
Northern Shoveler   Cape May Point SP
Northern Pintail   Cape May Point SP
Green-winged Teal   Lily Lake
Canvasback   Riverfront Landing
Redhead   Silver Lake
Ring-necked Duck   Lily Lake
Greater Scaup   CMBO Northwood Center
King Eider   Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Common Eider   Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Harlequin Duck   Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Surf Scoter   Two Mile Beach
Black Scoter   Cape May Meadows
Long-tailed Duck   Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Bufflehead   Lily Lake
Common Goldeneye   Harvey Cedars
Hooded Merganser   Cape May Point SP
Common Merganser   Manasquan Reservoir IBA
Red-breasted Merganser   Cape May Harbor
Ruddy Duck   Cattus Island County Park
Wild Turkey   Assunpink WMA
Red-throated Loon   Coral Ave. dune crossing
Common Loon   Cape May Harbor
Pied-billed Grebe   Manasquan Reservoir IBA
Horned Grebe   Sunset Lake
Red-necked Grebe   Sunset Lake
Northern Gannet   Coral Ave. dune crossing
Great Cormorant   Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Double-crested Cormorant   Cape May Point SP
American White Pelican   Tip Seaman CP
Great Blue Heron   Cape May Point SP
Great Egret   Cape May Point SP
Black-crowned Night-Heron   Lake Como
Black Vulture   Lake Barnegat
Turkey Vulture   Tip Seaman CP
Northern Harrier   Assunpink WMA
Sharp-shinned Hawk   Assunpink WMA
Cooper's Hawk   Lily Lake
Bald Eagle   GSP MM 48
Red-shouldered Hawk   Cape May Point SP
Red-tailed Hawk   Colliers Mills WMA
American Coot   Cape May Point SP
Black-bellied Plover   Holgate
Killdeer   White's Bogs
Ruddy Turnstone   Coral Ave. dune crossing
Sanderling   Coral Ave. dune crossing
Dunlin   Two Mile Beach
Purple Sandpiper   Sunset Beach/Concrete Ship
Bonaparte's Gull   Sunset Beach/Concrete Ship
Ring-billed Gull   Cape May Point SP
Herring Gull   Tip Seaman CP
Lesser Black-backed Gull   Manasquan Inlet
Great Black-backed Gull   Cape May Meadows
Rock Pigeon   Cape May Point SP
Mourning Dove   35 Sunset Rd
Great Horned Owl   35 Sunset Rd
Snowy Owl   Holgate
Belted Kingfisher   Eno’s Pond
Red-headed Woodpecker   Colliers Mills WMA
Red-bellied Woodpecker   CMBO Northwood Center
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker   Assunpink WMA
Downy Woodpecker   CMBO Northwood Center
Hairy Woodpecker   Assunpink WMA
Northern Flicker   Cape May Point SP
American Kestrel   Bridge to Nowhere
Merlin   Tuckerton--Great Bay Bvld. WMA
Peregrine Falcon   Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Blue Jay   Cape May Point SP
American Crow   35 Sunset Rd
Fish Crow   Colliers Mills WMA
Tree Swallow   Cape May Meadows
Carolina Chickadee   Cape May Point SP
Tufted Titmouse   CMBO Northwood Center
Red-breasted Nuthatch   Harvard Ave
White-breasted Nuthatch   35 Sunset Rd
Brown Creeper   Assunpink WMA
Carolina Wren   Cape May Point SP
Golden-crowned Kinglet   Whiting WMA
Ruby-crowned Kinglet   Assunpink WMA
Eastern Bluebird   Cattus Island County Park
Hermit Thrush   Crestwood Village
American Robin   Coral Ave. dune crossing
Gray Catbird   Cape May Point SP
Northern Mockingbird   Cape May Pt SP
European Starling   Cape May Point SP
Cedar Waxwing   Cape May Hawkwatch Platform
Orange-crowned Warbler   Manasquan Reservoir IBA
Palm Warbler   Cattus Island County Park
Pine Warbler   Trenton Sewage Ponds
Yellow-rumped Warbler   Cape May Point SP
Yellow-breasted Chat   Cape May Point SP
American Tree Sparrow   Assunpink WMA
Field Sparrow   Marshall's Pond
Fox Sparrow   CMBO Northwood Center
Dark-eyed Junco   35 Sunset Rd
White-crowned Sparrow   Assunpink WMA
White-throated Sparrow   Cape May Point SP
Savannah Sparrow   Cattus Island County Park
Song Sparrow   Cape May Point SP
Swamp Sparrow   Cattus Island County Park
Northern Cardinal   Cape May Point SP
Dickcissel   Assunpink WMA
Red-winged Blackbird   Cape May Point SP
Common Grackle   Coral Ave. dune crossing
Boat-tailed Grackle   Great Bay Bvld. WMA
Brown-headed Cowbird   Coral Ave. dune crossing
House Finch   35 Sunset Rd
American Goldfinch   35 Sunset Rd
House Sparrow   Lehigh Ave
Some birds in flight:
Snow Geese over Colliers Mills
Tundra Swans over the cranberry bogs in South Toms River

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