Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Trenton Sewer Utility 1/16--Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler
Any warbler in winter is interesting. A flock of warblers in winter is an attraction and so the Trenton Sewer Utility has become a winter hot spot, literally and figuratively. Mike & I did a day of birding, starting at Assunpink, where we dipped on the Dickcissel but did add an American Tree Sparrow to our respective lists, went up to Etra Lake, where the previous day's Barnacle Goose was not in evidence, then drove west to the sewage ponds in search of little birds. We found them in abundance. Aside from 4 or 5 Pine Warblers (supposedly rare in winter though I sometimes come across them in the woods), Palm Warblers and Yellow-rumped Warblers, there were also both kinglets and a Brown Creeper.

There was also one weird bird that the little group we were standing with could not identify. It was a small, sparrow-like bird, all black, with, depending on who was looking at it, a pink or a white/silver beak. Mike's and my first impression was that of a junco, it didn't have any markings on the back and didn't display white outer tail feathers. There are cases of melanism where birds have too much pigment in their feathers and become dark all over and I'm inclined to attribute the blackness of the bid to that, because I don't a Rosy Finch has suddenly appeared in Trenton, NJ, though stranger things have happened.

We "just missed" the Orange-crowned Warbler and the reported Northern Rough-winged Swallows were absent. The former I have for the year, the latter I'm not worried about.

10 species
Ring-billed Gull  5
Brown Creeper  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3
European Starling  10
Palm Warbler  2
Pine Warbler  4     Double wing bars yellow breast pointy bill
Yellow-rumped Warbler  4
White-throated Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  1

The birds can be found just in front of the entrance ramp wall to the highway. I noticed, for the first time these tree growing out of the seams in the wall. It just proves how tenacious nature can be given a little dirt and enough water.

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