Saturday, May 04, 2019

May 4 - Wilson's Plover in New Jersey !

Yesterday afternoon a NJ-rarity was reported but I could not leave work to try for it.  This morning while driving toward Garret it was very foggy so I made a literal last-second decision to veer onto Route 287 south toward Sea Bright where the Wilson's Plover has been seen.
I arrived just before 6:30 to find that Marc C. and Bob D. had already arrived and not found the bird. The pair walked north just outside the Piping Plover enclosure, as other birders of Bob A. and Peter K. also arrived to look for the Wilson's.
After 30 minutes or so Marc & Bob D. left, and shortly thereafter so did Bob A.   The weather started clearing so I began walking north in hopes of spotting the Wilson's. After about 200 yards I scoped farther north on maximum zoom and saw what appeared to be a dark-backed plover laying in the sand.  I walked another 100 yards north and scoped again, this time I could be certain the bird was indeed the Wilson's Plover. I turned around to alert the other birders yet they had all left already !
I continued walking another 150-200 yards north, stopping intermittently to scope the bird again and confirm it was the Wilson's.
The Wilson's Plover is NJ Bird # 393 for me.

click to enlarge

Other species seen here today were  Piping Plovers, Sanderling, Oystercatchers, Willet, Spotted Sandpiper, Gannet, Common and Least Terns, and a Merlin that took a Barn Swallow while in flight !

Sunday, April 28, 2019

April 28 - Local rarities chase

Two rare birds were found nearby to each other, one in Middlesex County & the other in Somerset County.
First up was the Cattle Egret at Negri-Nepote Grasslands in Somerset.

credit: Larry Scacchetti

Shortly afterwards we sent to Bicentennial Park and saw the very cooperative Prothonotary Warbler.
The bird was gathering nesting material and showing this off to a female. 

Both of these birds were drive-up/walk-up you cannot ask for anything easier.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

April 20 - Local Rarity

This morning there was a rare bird and for a nice change it was local.  Located in nearby Morris Plains was a western vagrant of the Black-Headed Grosbeak.
This is my first sighting of this species in New Jersey.

Black-headed Grosbeak

credit: Larry Scacchetti

Sunday, April 14, 2019

April 14 - Garret Mountain and Long-Eared Owl

A first for me in Passaic County was this Long-Eared Owl found at Garret Mountain.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

March 16 - Washington County Rarities

This morning we took the 175-mile trek up to New York State's Washington County.  First stop was in the town of Salem where we had wonderful views of Pine Grosbeaks.  I had not seen this species in 6 years so it was a treat.  At one point the birds were having a drink of water practically at our feet !

click to enlarge
Credit: Scott Varney

Afterwards we visited the Fort Edward Grasslands, where we had several Long-Eared Owls.

There were also a pair of Short-Eared Owls too !

Saturday, March 09, 2019

March 9 - Shawangunk Grasslands

Image result for short-eared owl

This evening I brought my wife along to meet up with my regular friends at the Shawangunk Grasslands in Ulster County's Galeville, NY.

Here we waited for and saw 3 of the Short-Eared Owls that are being seen each evening during the months of February and March.  Very Soon they will be gone north.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

March 3 - Return to Merrill Creek

With only brief looks last weekend at the Boreal Chickadee, a return trip to Merrill Creek was on the docket today.  I arrived and immediately had the bird at very close range, and at points it appeared on the feeding station.

Later I also saw the female Barrow's Goldeneye from the Hawkwatch Overlook by the I/O Tower.