Monday, May 04, 2009

May 2 - Garret Mountain

Have you readers noticed a trend of where I have been birding lately....when you live in North Jersey the best place to bird in May during spring Migration is Garret Mountain, so why go anywhere else ?

Saturday May 2 proved to be one of the banner days that this park is regionally (perhaps even nationally?) known for. A south/southwest front passed through last night, with the rain ending around 5 am, and the birds following this front end up landing at Garret Mountain once the sun comes up.

Besides the fantastic diversity, there were incredible numbers of birds here today. The unquestionably predominant species was Rose-Breasted Grosbeak.

All photos credit: Kevin Watson

Estimates ranged from 500 up 2,500 of these birds being in the park today. All I know is that I easily saw over 100, and wasn't taking the time to focus on this species nor count them all.
At any point you could scan the top of any Oak and see 10-12-15 of these beauties feasting up there. Other park regulars commented on how this was the greatest concentration of this species ever in their memories.

However, this was just the prelude to a great day of birding. I started at 6 am and birded until just before 3 during which time I tallied over 85 species. While I've had higher species counts on past trips, this day was one of the top 3 that I can recall as far as numbers of birds being in the park. This was evidenced by the, at least, 4 worm-Eating Warblers that I saw today and another one was heard only !
credit: Speiser

I also enjoyed 3 of the Black-Billed Cuckoos, and 4-5 of the Yellow-Bellied species.

click on images to enlarge

On the warbler front I had 19 species seen, and missed another 4-5 species that were reported by others.

I'll try to add more details of this fantastic day shortly...