Saturday, July 29, 2017

Brig 7/29--White Ibis

I have been to Brig 5 or 6 times this month (there's really nowhere else to go mid-summer), always looking for the reported juvenile White Ibises and always missing these increasingly common rarities. Today I had my secret weapon with me--Shari.

We originally had planned a trip through the Cape May marshes on the Skimmer, a boat trip we like to take once or twice a year, but, though the rain had stopped, the wind was about 25 mph and the trip was cancelled. We hemmed and hawed about going down to Brig--my inclination was not to go because of the wind, but after lunch we decided to head down there anyway--the winds were supposed to be "only" 12 to 15 mph.

It seemed a lot windier than that and it was dank and dreary. While I was standing atop the observation tower the wind was so strong that I couldn't even hear what Shari was shouting up at me from below, no matter how close she got to the platform.

The tide seemed high and the water levels were oceanic--all the recent rain was impounded along with the surrounding water. But just as we made the turn onto the Wildlife Drive first Shari, then I saw a brown above/white below ibis fly out of the marsh. We followed it for a few seconds before it dove down into the phragmites, not to be seen again. Still we had our year bird.

The water was so high that about the only place there was for roosting birds was either the rocks along the beach at Turtle Cove or the drive itself. Along and on the road we saw a a Saltmarsh Sparrow skittering to and fro like a mouse, hundreds of Semipalmated Sandpipers, more Semipalmated Plovers than the eBird filter was willing to accept, a dozen Least Tern, and toward the end of the drive a Black Skimmer who did not seem interested in joining with the flock.

We only made one loop and did no walking. I finished the day with 42 species; Shari had one more, a catbird I missed as we were entering the refuge.
Snow Goose 2 Continuing injured
Canada Goose 40
Mute Swan 6
Mallard 5
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 50
Snowy Egret 40
Tricolored Heron 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2
White Ibis 1
Glossy Ibis 15
Osprey 10
Clapper Rail 3 Heard
American Oystercatcher 1
Semipalmated Plover 75 Underestimated
Whimbrel 11
Least Sandpiper 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper 400
Short-billed Dowitcher 3
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Willet 5
Lesser Yellowlegs 2
Laughing Gull 90
Ring-billed Gull 1
Herring Gull 120
Great Black-backed Gull 5
Least Tern 12
Gull-billed Tern 1
Forster's Tern 30
Black Skimmer 125
Mourning Dove 3
Blue Jay 1 Heard
Tree Swallow 10
Barn Swallow 4
Marsh Wren 2
European Starling 25
Saltmarsh Sparrow 1
Eastern Towhee 1 Heard
Red-winged Blackbird 5
Boat-tailed Grackle 15
American Goldfinch
1 Heard

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