Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December 31 - Out with the old.....

For those of you who like numbers, here's lots of them.
These are my totals at the end of 2008.

Life Lists:
ABA Area--- 579
Lower 48--- 579
U.S. -------- 608
N. America- 622
AOU Area -- 651
Millenium--- 576
ABA N.E.---- 372

Various States Life Lists:
NJ--- 339
NY--- 288
CT--- 106
MA-- 104
ME--- 85
DE---- 84
PA---- 57
R.I.--- 50
MD--- 30

AZ--- 201
FL--- 171
CA--- 158
CO--- 148
NV--- 4

Various Life Lists for places in NJ:
ABA N.E.----- 372
Sandy Hook- 229
Cape May --- 245
Garret ------ 173
Brigantine -- 186

For 2008 only:
ABA Area--- 368
ABA N.E.---- 308
N.J. 2008--- 273
N.Y. 2008--- 240

Monday, December 29, 2008

December 29 - Northern Hawk Owl trip


To see an image of the bird we saw yesterday visit: David Blinder

This morning some friends and I left my home at 3 a.m. for the long trip up to Peru, New York to see the previously reported Northern Hawk Owl.
We had tremendous views of the bird as it perched on trees, telephone poles, and in flight.

Later we went to Hurricane Mountain Road in Elizabethtown, NY and saw a half-dozen Pine Grosbeaks, as well as, a Red Crossbill who was gather grit from the roadside.

The Owl was one of my most wanted birds, and becomes ABA Lifer bird # 579.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

December 27 - Sedge Wren

This morning I drove south away from the rain & fog that was pushing north, all the way down to Cape May. I was after a bird I had seen once before, up in New Paltz, NY back in June 2004.

Thanks to local birder Chris Vogel and his recent updates about this bird, I was able to locate it pretty quickly. First by it's call, and then numerous glimpses as it ran through the grasses, and perched from time to time. Overall I spent an hour enjoying this little beauty.

credit: The Marksman

This species is rapidly declining in the east, and barely winters in New Jersey. There are reports of this bird being found every other year or so. Likely it is here annually, but just not discovered as much.
credit: WhataBird click on map to enlarge

This endangered species has been disappearing from the Eastern States, including nearly all of Pennsylvania as well as Maine.

So you can now understand (maybe!) why I would drive so far on a dreary day to enjoy this rare bird.
Oh, and that was New Jersey State Bird # 339 for me !!

Friday, December 26, 2008

December 26 - Meadowlands Arctic visitors

Due to the early winter snows across most of northern North America, two species that breed in the Arctic are now well into their wintering ranges, and these species are showing up in higher numbers than previous years. Across the region there have been numerous reports of Snowy Owls and, more recently, Rough-Legged Hawks.

Maps credit: Whatabird

Today I was able to see both within the Meadowlands, specifically the Richard De Korte Park area. There are two Snowy Owls being seen just north of the now fallow Town of Lyndhurst ballfields. Here is one being harassed by a Northern Harrier:
credit: Jerry Barrack

Throughtout the area are likely close to a dozen of the Rough-Legged Hawks, and both the light & dark morphs are being seen.

Also seen were hawks of Red-Tailed, and the Cooper's, plus American Kestrel, and several Northern Harriers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

December 14 - Montauk Point & Eastern L.I.

Some friends and I started here about 8:30 this morning following the 3-hour ride. As expected we saw several thousand Scoters here, and all three species of Black, Surf, and White-winged were well represented. In fact, from my experiences I know of no better place in this area to see more White-winged Scoters than here.

Among the scoters were many Common Eiders in all plumages, including the adults with the pinkish-blush on their breasts. Red-Breasted Mergansers were about as were numerous Common, and Red-Throated Loons. We were able to see about 10 Razorbills, mostly in flight but some did sit on the water for us too.

I picked out a Black-Headed Gull in flight, and other species of gulls were Bonaparte's, Ring-Billed, Herring, and Greater Black-Backed were also seen.
Common Black-Headed Gull credit:

My friend Andy got to see a very distant Kittiwake but I could not get on it. Alas, no King Eiders were spotted today.

Deep Hollow Ranch species of note were two Snow Geese among the Canada Geese, and a few Killdeer.

Later at Hither Hills State Park we found the out of season Clay-Colored Sparrow, amongst other species of House, Song, White-Throated, and Field Sparrows.
Clay-Colored Sparrow

In the Hamptons we re-located the Cackling Goose, and later at Indian Hills beach access we found the Glaucous Gull in the Sagaponack Pond outflow into the ocean.
Glaucous Gull credit: unknown

Thanks to Angus Wilson for reporting his Saturday sightings of the Cackling Goose, Glaucous Gull, and the Clay-Colored Sparrow.

Monday, December 08, 2008

December 7 - another Ross' Goose !

Well, as happy as I am to get great views of the Ross' Goose that was found about 20 minutes from my house, I am partly frustrated over my recent history with this same species, ha ha !

As luck would have it, I drove 2 hours out to Eastern Long Island to life this bird in March 2008, then spent 4 hours searching for it in winds of 25+ mph, and gusts into the 40s.

Then last Sunday I drove 2 hours south into New Jersey to get it as a State bird, and it rained the entire trip !

So when I heard it was seen this morning, and me being so close, with really nice weather, I decided to see this species again.
credit: Doug Morel

I got to see the bird as I initially drove up, then I watched it feed, fly and swim in the pond.
Overall my best sighting of this species, and the cheapest !