Friday, February 17, 2017

Brig 2/17--Wilson's Snipe

Wilson's Snipe with amused American Black Duck
Mike & I did a road trip down to Cape May today. The hope was to find the Pink-footed Goose that has been visiting the grounds of the Cape May Zoo and surrounding fields and ponds. No luck there. We looked around the zoo's pond a couple of times plus checked a nearby athletic field and the veteran's cemetery on the other side of the parkway finding only boring old Canada Geese. We met a fellow with Arkansas license plates, on our second trip to the zoo grounds in the afternoon, who said he'd been looking all around the area for over 5 hours. That actually made us feel good in two ways:

  • A) We're not that nuts
  • B) We didn't miss the bird; it wasn't there. 

We found about 60 species wandering around the county, nothing spectacular, the highlights being a Gray Catbird at Higbee Beach (hard to find in winter); Killdeer at the state park (year bird for Mike); and a drake Common Goldeneye in a channel of the wetlands along the Stone Harbor causeway.

Having made a big loop of the county we headed up the parkway to Brig and, even though we're going to be there tomorrow for Mike's delayed trip, we still went around the Wildlife Drive--"scouting" we called it.

There were a goodly number of birds, but aside from a large flock of close-by Canvasbacks, nothing out of the ordinary until we got almost to the end of the north dike. Mike stopped the car and looked left and I looked to my right at the outside channel. "I have an eagle," he said. "I have a shorebird," said I. It was the first shorebird we'd seen at the refuge. "That can't be a Dunlin," I said. "No, look at the bill," Mike replied. And the bill was very long. The head was striped. And the shorebird was a Wilson's Snipe and we were both very happy to get a year bird.

The last bird of note there was Palm Warbler we found bobbing its tail in the scrub above what used to be called the Experimental Pool and is now signed as the "Refuge Overlook" or some such. Funny, Palm Warbler is not unusual in winter in some counties, but is in Atlantic County. There was no doubt about the identification, though.

For our one and half hours traveling the 8 mile loop (plus a quick look at the Gull Pond) we garnered 33 species.
Snow Goose 50
Brant 600
Canada Goose 150
Mute Swan 3
Tundra Swan 6
Gadwall 2
American Wigeon 2
American Black Duck 350
Mallard 30
Northern Shoveler 35
Northern Pintail 35
Green-winged Teal 12
Canvasback 50 Careful estimate
Ring-necked Duck 6
Greater Scaup 10
Bufflehead 35
Hooded Merganser 4
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 3
Northern Harrier 2
Bald Eagle 1
Wilson's Snipe 1 North dike
Herring Gull 155
Great Black-backed Gull 2
Mourning Dove 1
Northern Flicker 1
American Crow 5
Carolina Chickadee 1 Heard
Eastern Bluebird 2
American Robin 1
Palm Warbler 1
Red-winged Blackbird 12

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