Thursday, April 27, 2017

IBSP Reed's Road 4/27--Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Reed's Road at Island Beach SP can be a great migration destination. The problem is that, unless you're a fisherman, or claim to be one, the hour you're allowed entrance is just about when the birds are settling in and get harder to see. However, until May 1, you can get in there before 8.  I was there 7:15 and started walking up the road. Lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers. Striking in their breeding plumage instead of their drab winter wear, but very, very common.  I knew it was just a little too early in the spring for the big push of warblers to come through (that will happen when the entrance hour shifts to 8 AM) but I had a couple of other birds in mind.

 I was about a third of the way up the trail when I heard someone call my name. It was Al, with Shannon, and he was asking me if I'd seen the owl. Of course I hadn't seen the owl. I didn't even know that the first person down the road (which was apparently me) gets to the flush the Great Horned Owl that roosts in the area.

Indigo Bunting
Photo: Al Della Bella
We three walked up the road together and at the clearing where the trail is bordered by fences, Al spotted one of the birds I was seeking--an Indigo Bunting feeding in the middle of the trail. There was a brown female associating with it--will they nest here? Yesterday a friend sent me a picture of a brown, sparrow-like bird that he was uncertain about and I remembered that when I was uncertain about a brown sparrow-like bird it was a female Indigo Bunting, which is where he was leaning too. So that was the impetus to go to IBSP. I had never seen an Indigo Bunting there.

Onward to the "bowl" the supposedly secret spot a little north of Reed's. This can be a good spot for warblers (I seem to get lucky with Black-throated Green, there) but today it was fairly quiet except for the skeins of Double-crested Cormorants flying over in perfect V formations and flocks of Great Egrets ranging from 5 to 15. We estimated 450 cormorants and over 60 egrets.

It was also there that Al located my 2nd target bird--a fine-looking Rose-breasted Grosbeak. With its crimson heart shaped patch on its breast contrasting with it's otherwise black and white plumage, this has got to be one of the my top 5 birds in North America. Walking back along Reed's, in just about the same place we saw the bunting, Shannon spotted yet another grosbeak, imperturbably sitting in a small tree--that's the one I was able to a photo of.

Reed's Road is only about a 1/4 mile long and it maybe another an 1/8th of a mile up to the bowl so in that limited distance we had, in about 2 1/2 hours, 43 species, which, I'm sure, breaks every personal record for me at that hot spot.
Brant 50
Double-crested Cormorant 450
Great Egret 61
Snowy Egret 1
Osprey 4
Bald Eagle 1
American Oystercatcher 4
Willet 1
Herring Gull 5
Mourning Dove 4
Downy Woodpecker 1
American Kestrel 1
Merlin 2
White-eyed Vireo 2
Blue-headed Vireo 4

Blue Jay 1 Heard
American Crow 1
Fish Crow 1 Heard
Carolina Chickadee 1 Heard
Tufted Titmouse 1 Heard
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 Heard
House Wren 1 Heard
Carolina Wren 1 heard
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1 Heard
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Hermit Thrush 1
American Robin 2
Cedar Waxwing 1
Ovenbird 2 Heard
Black-and-white Warbler 5
Common Yellowthroat 2 Heard
Palm Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 10
White-throated Sparrow 1 Heard
Song Sparrow 4
Eastern Towhee 9
Northern Cardinal 1 Heard
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2
Indigo Bunting 2
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 1
American Goldfinch 1 Heard

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