Monday, April 3, 2017

Island Beach SP 4/3--Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron with Snowy Egret, Spizzle Creek
No wind and seasonable temperature indicated a walk along the ocean today, where my expectations weren't high, but in the game of birding, the point is to try to beat your expectations. I didn't. Aside from some lingering Long-tail Ducks (I like the idea of ducks "lingering." It sounds so languorous, like they have nothing better to do than float in the ocean, when all the other serious ducks are getting down to the business of flying north to mate) and 32 Sanderlings, there really wasn't much to hold my attention on the mile & a half walk at the southern end of Island Beach.

I drove north a little and walked my favorite part of the park, the Spizzle Creek trail. The name alone makes me happy. As soon as I got to the top of "T" and looked out on the water & saw a Snowy Egret. I took the scope off my shoulder and scanned the pool, coming up with Buffleheads and a lone hen Hooded Merganser. Then my year bird for the day appeared in the eyepiece--an adult Little Blue Heron. I wasn't really expecting that bird--seems a tad early but I haven't checked my records. There were two birds in all, because after the first one I sighted flew off, I found the one badly pictured above on the other size of the marsh, standing next to another Snowy. The best part was to get an adult as an FOY and not have to dither at a distance as to whether the white bird was an immature Little Blue or just another Snowy. Little Egret? I don't go there.

I was toying with the idea of hitting a couple of other spots on the way north out of the park but I'd spent a lot of time walking and I wanted to get home for the first pitch of the Mets game. Mets win 6-0, so a good day in all.
35 species
190 Brant
2 Canada Goose
6 Long-tailed Duck 
50 Bufflehead 
1 Hooded Merganser -
8 Red-breasted Merganser 
1 Common Loon
4 Double-crested Cormorant 
6 Great Egret
2 Snowy Egret 
2 Little Blue Heron 
8 Osprey 
2 American Oystercatcher
2 Black-bellied Plover
32 Sanderling 
3 Dunlin 
1 Ring-billed Gull
125 Herring Gull 
15 Great Black-backed Gull 
1 Belted Kingfisher 
1 Northern Flicker 
1 Peregrine Falcon 
1 Eastern Phoebe 
3 American Crow 
6 Fish Crow 
1 Carolina Chickadee 
1 Carolina Wren 
2 Golden-crowned Kinglet 
1 American Robin
2 Northern Mockingbird 
3 Dark-eyed Junco 
12 Song Sparrow 
5 Boat-tailed Grackle
1 House Finch 
2 American Goldfinch 

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