Sunday, October 11, 2015

October 11 - Sandy Hook Sparrows

Today I made a trip to Sandy Hook to see some sparrows.  My primary target was the Nelson's Sparrow, a species that migrates through the coastal marshes in mid-October and through mid-November.
I had not seen this species last fall so a special trip was in order.  I arrived at Sandy Hook at first light and parked in Lot C to make my way toward Plum Island, which is on the Bay Side. The bay eventually forms the Shrewsbury River.  Immediately I saw several of the Nelson's Sparrows, including a bright orange one that is from the Interior Race of this species, and these birds breed in Central Canada.

Other sparrows seen today were Song, Swamp, Savannah, White-Throated, White-Crowned, and a lone Lincoln's.   Along Raccoon Alley, I had a Philadelphia Vireo and a Blue-Headed Vireo.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

September 27 - North Carolina's Outer Banks

Before visiting family in North Carolina I spent a few days in Kitty Hawk, which is located on the Outer Banks.   The first few days had fine weather, but the final 2 days were terribly windy with on-shore winds gusting into the 30-mph range.

On the nice days I was able to do a little bird-watching.  Locally in Kitty Hawk I was able to see a regional specialty in the form of Brown-Headed Nuthatches.   Along the beach were numerous Sandwich Terns, along with other tern species like Royal, and Common.   Surprisingly to me, there were quite a few of the Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on the beach.  They were joined by the expected Willets, and Sanderlings.

Click on images to enlarge

My favorite birding on this trip was at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.  This area is located immediately south of the Oregon Inlet.  The birding here was productive.  There were several species of Ducks, and also Shorebirds and Waders.  There were a few dozen of the American Avocet, yet sadly none of the Black-Necked Stilt.  I saw more Tri-colored Herons in this location than I've ever seen before, and the flocks of White Ibis were also in high numbers.   A handful of Marbled Godwits were seen as well.

The  notable shorebird species seen were Piping Plover, Black-Bellied Plover, White-Rumped Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin, and Western Sandpiper.   Caspian, Forster's, and Royal Terns were seen here too.

This pic shows one of my favorite moments in life....waiting for the Sunrise !

Here is a shot of Pea Island in the daylight

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 15 - Philly Vireo

I made a quick stop at Garret Mountain today and ran into friend Bill E. and the first thing I did was to thank him for telling me about the Connecticut Warbler from yesterday.  A little while later I thanked him again as he spotted a Philly Vireo up near the Tower.
Later at the spot where we had the Chats this past Saturday, I re-found the Philadelphia Vireo and had great long looks at the bird.  Perhaps it was the same one that we saw earlier...

There wasn't much else around so I headed off to work after an hour or so.

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 14 - Connecticut Warbler

Earlier today my friend Bill had found a pair of Connecticut Warblers at Garret Mountain in the 'Wet Area' that is at the north end of Barbour's Pond.  
As I've had very good luck in the past with Connecticut's in this spot, specifically after work, I tried for the birds this afternoon.  Almost immediately I was able to get onto one of the birds, and that was a relief since I had missed this species last fall.
A very productive 15-minute stop !!

Credit: Bill Elrick

Click to enlarge

Saturday, September 12, 2015

September 12 - Yellow-Breasted Chats

I had only two hours free today before life's responsibilities had to be taken care of, so I headed over to Garret Mountain in hopes of seasonal target birds like Connecticut Warbler, Philadelphia Vireo, or Clay-colored Sparrow.

To my surprise Bill located a Chat, and then we saw a second Chat was there as well.  This is a tough bird to find in Northern NJ, and I had not yet seen this species this year.  The best part was that I had never seen this species at Garret Mountain at all in over 15 years birding here !!

Passaic County Life Bird # 231....

Saturday, September 05, 2015

September 5 - Brigantine specialties

I was happy to have the entire day free today so I made sure that I got to the Wildlife Drive at the Forsythe NWR at first light.

Today's specialties were:
The Buff-Breasted Sandpiper, of which there were 3 seen very well...
The Baird's Sandpiper that we saw at least 2 of...
The American Golden Plover, and two of these were present.

Other species that I enjoyed today were the Saltmarsh Sparrows, as well as the Seaside the end of the day a pair of Marbled Godwits flew in for some good views.
We saw a late-ish Stilt Sandpiper and an early Dunlin, along with numerous White-Rumped Sandpipers, and a few Western Sandpipers.