Monday, February 20, 2017

Villas 2/20--Forster's Tern

Forster's Terns on sand bar with Herring Gulls and Black-bellied Plovers
Mike and I started the day with a number of birds in mind. We started in Point Pleasant Beach, hoping that the Iceland Gull,  reported on & off there, was still on. Many gulls, none of them "white-winged." On to the jetty at Manasquan, where perhaps there would be an Iceland Gull on the beach. There wasn't. Nor was there a Razorbill for Mike's year list. Back to the first spot in PPB and still no Iceland Gull.

Then we drove down the parkway to Double Trouble Park, hoping that the flock of Red Crossbills, very rare in NJ and certainly rare in this county, would still be in the pine on the trail to the reservoir. Our hopes were dashed when we met a couple of birders we knew who had been searching for a few hours hadn't found them. Still, we had to look and had no more success than our friends. There weren't even a lot of birds in the woods to substitute quantity for quality.

We'd heard that the Pink-footed Goose at the Cape May Zoo, which we missed on Friday, had been seen again yesterday and then today was seen nearby & was said to heading back toward the zoo, so we did too. An hour later, at the zoo, no PFGO.

The exercise in frustration continued as down to Villas we headed,  seeking the reported Black-headed Gull.  We found a small group of birders intently studying the large flock of gulls on the sand bars. Nice to see Bonaparte's Gull, which look a lot like Black-headed Gull but there was no BHGU in the flock, though some time was spent debating a bird that was perhaps a half mile distant. This was becoming ridiculous.

At that same distance, though, we were able to see, with enough clarity through the scope if not in the photo through the scope, a small group of Forster's Terns. At last, a year bird for the day. Not one we were looking for or particularly expected, but we were happy to take it and then went to the car, planning to eat our lunches. However...(see post above)

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