Sunday, March 12, 2017

Manahawkin WMA 3/12--Eastern Phoebe

We're at the point in the birding year, where, if you haven't seen a winter species you're probably going to have to wait until the end of the year for a second chance--that's why I was happy to get Snow Buntings yesterday at Brig. Meanwhile, the spring birds are just starting to arrive. Mike reported a Pine Warbler in his backyard this morning--they can usually be found in winter, but not so much this year. And I, walking in the Manahawkin WMA, caught sight of my first Eastern Phoebe of the year, sitting on the branch of a small tree, pumping its tail. It flew before I had any chance to photograph it.

I saw a big flock of House Finches there but couldn't turn any of them purple--looks like that species will have to wait. Ducks were scarce--most of the impoundments were frozen and there were only a few of the more common dabblers in the pool on Stafford Avenue The diving ducks, save for a single hen Hooded Merganser, seem to be moved on from there. An American Coot, though, was a surprise.
18 species
Mute Swan 2
American Black Duck 6
Mallard 4
Northern Pintail 6
Green-winged Teal 5
Hooded Merganser 1
Turkey Vulture 2
American Coot 1
Mourning Dove 2
Belted Kingfisher 1 Heard
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 Heard
Eastern Phoebe 1
Carolina Chickadee 4 Heard
Carolina Wren 1 Heard
Song Sparrow 2 Heard
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 2
House Finch 20

More interesting to me than the phoebe, a bird that will soon be listed almost daily, was a report of a Wilson's Snipe up at Meadowedge Park in Barnegat.  Snipes, like woodcocks, can be elusive and they're cool birds to find. I drove up there without much hope that I'd see the bird but almost as soon as I got out of the car, there it was, standing in a wet, grassy area, along with a Killdeer. Not a year bird, but it was a county bird and, even more importantly, a fun bird to find.

Wilson's Snipe

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