Monday, August 31, 2009

August 30 - Brigantine NWR

Late August brings the highest diversity of birds to the Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge and yesterday was full of different birds to enjoy. Over 80 species of birds were seen today, including some rare & uncommon birds.

I took the pre-dawn drive of two hours with my friend Bill and we were both rewarded with a fantastic day.
Highlights included the vagrant, but long-staying Roseate Spoonbill. Some of you may remember that this species made a visit to Brigantine back in 2007.

Other exciting birds seen were the Hudsonian Godwit, Baird's Sandpiper and Buff-Breasted Sandpiper.
credit: Tim Studebaker

Here is the full list:
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Northern Bobwhite
Pied-billed Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Northern Harrier
Peregrine Falcon
Clapper Rail
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
American Avocet
Spotted Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Hudsonian Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Red Knot
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Phalarope
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
American Crow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
Chipping Sparrow
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch

August 29 - Swallow-Tailed Kite

Between raindrops, and painting at home today, I ran up to Wallkill NWR in Wantage, New Jersey to see the Swallow-Tailed Kite.
This bird was found on Wednesday, and I tried to see it after work that day but it was too late when I arrived after 6 pm.
On Saturday my friend John called and alerted me that the bird was being seen. So I went up there right away and got the bird immediately. Very nice views were had as the bird coursed around a large field next to the Wallkill River.

The last time I saw this species was back in the spring of 1998 at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Florida, so it was fantastic to see after such a long interval. I hope the next one doesn't take so long !

As the map below illustrates this species is found mainly in the southeastern US, so seeing one less than 30 minutes from home was a real treat..

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

August 23 - Jones Beach & Jamaica Bay

With Hurricane Bill passing through on Saturday night my friend Bill and I tried our luck out at Jones Beach this morning. While no storm birds were seen we did have some nice success. First at the Coast Guard Station we had numerous species of shorebirds & sandpipers. Notables were Red Knots, Plovers of Piping, Semi-Palmated, and Black-Bellied, both Yellowlegs, Ruddy Turnstone, Willet, Oystercatcher, flyover Bobolinks, and a fly through Peregrine Falcon. A male Kestrel was perched nearby.
Later in the West End 2 area we saw a pair of Baird's Sandpipers, and numerous Black Skimmers, and a single Black Tern.
Red Knot credit: RJ Wiley

We then traveled to Jamaica Bay where we enjoyed some more good fortune. We were able to see all of the recently reported rarities of American Avocet, Marbled Godwit, Wilson's Phalaropes along with the expected Stilt Sandpipers, both Dowitcher species, another Black Tern, both Night-Heron species, Glossy Ibis, White-Rumped Sandpipers and Little Blue Heron.

Avocet credit: J Reynolds
Marbled Godwit credit: Ken Lillis

A great morning of birding !

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August 16 - Jamaica Bay Refuge

I made a visit to see the southbound migrating shorebirds at Jamaica Bay, which is next to JFK Airport. Although the numbers of birds were a bit low the diversity of species was good. I only stayed a few hours as the heat got to be too much before Noon.

Shorebirds seen were:
Least Sandpiper
Semi-Palmated Sandpiper
White-Rumped Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs
Short-Billed Dowitcher
Black-Bellied Plover
American Oystercatcher
Ruddy Turnstone

Herons seen were:
Little Blue
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Great Blue