Thursday, July 20, 2017

IBSP 7/20--Royal Tern

Royal Tern, 
(the bigger this picture gets
the worse it looks)
Bob Auster and I set out for Island Beach this morning, where a number of interesting birds were reported yesterday. Unfortunately, you really needed a kayak or canoe to see those birds and we are landlubbers. We stopped at the Winter Anchorage first, where we could see on the sandbar a good variety of species. One of them turned out to be my first Royal Tern of the year.

Out on Sedge Island, I could see 3 "kids" I know, walking around with scopes. I've always said that you could walk out to Sedge Island at low tide. They did. But it does bring up the time & tide problem, because if you don't time it right, you're stuck there, or worse, if you think you can get back and find a low spot, you have very expensive, very wet optics. Happily they made it back with only a couple of minor slips. Out on the island they did see the Marbled Godwit (a regular out there for the last few years) but didn't see either of the two cool terns (Black & Sandwich) reported yesterday.

Bob & I then took the long walk from the last parking lot to the inlet, probably about a mile and a half one way. Low tide made the walking easy and after we got past the fishermen to the no vehicle zone where the Piping Plovers have nested (successfully) for the 2nd year, we had lots of Sanderlings and a few other shorebirds to keep us occupied, but mostly, we were amused by the Brown Pelicans in two, threes, and fives, that we saw drifting overhead. They always remind me, hard to say why, like the old Pan Am flying boats of the thirties.

But it was the inlet that was spectacular--on the old dike there were, according to Bob's count, 48 pelicans roosting, and scattered among them, were 40 American Oystercatchers. It would have made a great wallpaper pattern.

Some of the Brown Pelicans.
A report showed up on Jerseybirds of two White Ibis at Brig. Neither of us has White Ibis for the year, and Bob doesn't have it as a state bird, so despite my ambivalence about chasing, we chased, arriving at Brig about 4 hours after the email. And probably a dollar short because, despite looking at every stinking Glossy Ibis there, we found neither the White Ibis (juveniles, as it turns out) nor even a red-eyed White-faced Ibis. And unlike the pleasant breeze coming off the ocean as we walked on the almost concrete-like sand at Island Beach, at Brig there was a blast furnace wind that coated everything and you in dust, that rose in little puffy clouds as you swatted away the very hungry, aggressive greenhead flies. Fun.

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