Sunday, September 30, 2007

September 30 - Allendale Celery Farm

This morning I stopped at Garret Mountain. Many of the species I saw yesterday were again present, and a few new ones as well. Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, Osprey, Raven, BH Vireo and RE Vireos, Lincoln's Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak.

After birding here briefly I was called away by my buddy Rob F., who told me of a Clay-Colored Sparrow at the Celery Farm. I rushed over to Allendale to see this mid-western sparrow.
I saw it as soon as I arrived and then later we had fantastic views for about a half-hour or more.

Also seen here today were several Purple Finches, Nashville Warbler, Palm Warbler, and Northern Waterthrush.

September 29 - Garret Mountain

A small cold front passed through last night, so I decided to visit a local migrant trap. The birding was pretty good for this unusually slow fall migration. One highlight was a late Yellow-Throated Vireo.
This bird is typically out of the area by late August. Also seen today was Blue-Headed and Red-eyed Vireos. Fifteen species of warblers were seen with Bay-breasted and Wilson's being noteworthy. Others seen were Parula, Chestnut-Sided, Magnolia, BT Blue, Yellow-Rumped, BT Green, Pine, Palm, Blackpoll, B & W , Redstart, Ovenbord and Yellowthroat.

Scarlet Tanagers were seen frequently, and a Brown Creeper was my first of the fall.
Sparrows were represented by Chipping, Savannah, Song, Lincoln's, Swamp, White-Throated and Junco, Towhee and House.

Here is an image of a Lincoln's Sparrow:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

September 23 - Sandy Hook

Philadelphia Vireo

After a small cold front last night I returned to the Hook today. Although it was slow, friends Rob and Tommy, along with new acquaintance Rich today brought me 4 new birds for my Sandy Hook list. These were Philly Vireo, Western Sandpiper, Sora, and Caspian Tern.
That brings my total to 213 species seen here over the years.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

September 22- Sandy Hook again

Once again the weather did not cooperate and the birding was light today. Of course, some good birds were seen, especially the ones where the calendar says they should be migrating south already.
Great-Crested Flycatcher

Highlights from today's walk were Common Nighthawk, Merlin, Great-Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Phoebe, Pewee, Royal Terns, Ruddy Turnstone, the plovers of both Black-Bellied and American Golden, Oystercatcher, Osprey, and Yellow-Billed Cuckoo.
Royal Tern .
credit Greg Downing

Warblers were represented by Parula, Black and White, Blackpoll, Blackburnian, Black-Throated Blue, Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, and Common Yellowthroat.

Black-Throated Blue Warbler
credit Greg Downing

So, I'll be waiting for the long overdue cold-front to bring in some new migrants

September 15 - Sandy Hook

A rainy morning kept the birds to a minimum, yet I did see some good ones. with friends Rob and Stephanie we birded for passerines, hoping for a Connecticut Warbler.
We never did find that species but did see these: Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Merlin, Black-bellied Plover, American Oystercatcher, Willet, Laughing Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Royal Tern, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Kingbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Tree Swallow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow.

American Oystercatcher

Friday, September 14, 2007

September 12 - Connecticut Warbler at Garret Mountain

I made a brief stop after work today, and was fortunate to find a Connecticut Warbler here.
This bird is typically hard to see as it tends to stay in very thick brush and stay very close to the ground.

Luckily for me this bird had just bathed, and was perched on a branch preening it's feathers for about a minute.

I've spent many hours over the past years searching for this bird, which passes through New Jersey mainly in the fall only, and have now seen it 4 times over the past 6 years.
Here is it's range map:

So I was very excited to see this bird so easily today. In fact I had only been birding for about 10 minutes before spotting the bird.

September 8 - Brigantine & Johnson Sod Farm

Brigantine was the first stop today. Here I saw White Pelican, and also Baird's Sandpiper.
Other noteworthy birds seen here were several dozen Blue-Winged Teal, and three Sora rails, Blue Grosbeak, Caspian Tern, Bobolink, and Seaside Sparrow.

Next up was a visit to the Johnson Sod Farm down in southern NJ's Cumberland County.
I was looking forward to seeing the American Golden Plover and was immediately rewarded as we saw about a dozen of these birds together.
Fortunately two were males in nearly full breeding plumage, similar to this image.

After getting my target bird, we continued along the farm roads and found an amazing group of approx. 30 Buff-Breasted Sandpipers. Today's birds were seen much closer than last weekends, and revealed all the details of this beautiful shorebird.

Finally, just before leaving we were able to get a few seconds view of the rare Upland Sandpiper.
This bird is known to breed in only two places in the state, both being airports in the southern half of the state.
This was only the second time I have seen the Uppie in the state.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

September 2 - Jamaica Bay & Jones Beach

I started this day at Garret Mountain, however it was dreadfully slow there.
As luck would have it I ran into my friends Andy and Jennifer. We all decided to give Jamaica Bay a try.

The birding here today was great. For Jennifer, she was able to see the Red-Necked Phalarope for just her third time. Also there were two very cooperative Wilson's Phalaropes.
credit - Cam MacDonald

The birds that had my interest were the Hudsonian Godwits.
It was great to see the black under-wing of this species:

Godwit photos - Kurt Muenz

Many other fine birds were seen here today. They included Sandpipers of White-Rumped, Pectoral, Stilt, Least, Semi-Palmated, Western, and Spotted. Blue-Winged Teal was seen, as was, Merlin and Northern Harrier.

While at Jamaica Bay we ran into Lloyd Spitalnik who was kind enough to tell us of a Lark Sparrow being seen at Jones Beach. We jumped in the car and headed east. Upon arriving we were able to see two of these sparrows.
As you can see, this bird breeds in the Midwest/West, but a few end up on the east coast during every fall migration.

Finally we went to the West End area of Jones Beach where we had fine looks at five Buff-Breasted Sandpipers and a Baird's Sandpiper. More on these birds in my next posting...