Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 30 - Southwestern NJ rarities

The hotspot for rarities has been Salem County in southwestern NJ, so my friends and I sent there today.  First up was the Tufted Duck seen in Parvin State Park.  This bird was seen well and the park also had my first Pine Warblers of the spring.

For more of Karl Lukens' fine images of this bird visit here

Later over at Featherbed Lane, Jennifer was able to find the Yellow-Headed Blackbird for our group.

Finally on Kings Highway we were able to spot the Crested Caracara and enjoy long looks at this bird.

 credit:  NJAudubon

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 24 - Spruce Run

As it's time for Gulls to be on the move back to breeding grounds today's stop was at Spruce Run.   Although we missed the Glaucous Gull that had been reported yesterday, we did connect with an Iceland Gull and several dozen of the Lesser Black-Backed Gulls. A few Tree Swallows were about as well.   Spring is here and each day will bring new arrivals.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 17 - Return to Garret Mountain

Today was my first return to Garret since last fall's migration.  I was surprised to see how many trees, especially the White Pines along Mountain Road, have been devastated by last year's Hurricane Sandy.   The loss of understory, due to year-round grazing by deer, combined with this recent blow-down will hurt the park even more.  One can hope that new growth can happen around & under the fallen trees while also remaining out of touch for the Deer.  Only time can tell this answer. 

For the birds I was able to get fine views of a handful of American Woodcock, also a half-dozen Tree Swallows, and several Eastern Phoebes.  Once April comes I'm sure to be at this park almost daily into Mid-May, at least when its not raining...or when the winds are out of the East.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

March 16 - Pacific Loon Squared

This morning I made a return trip to Morris Plains for longer & better looks at the 1st-ever record of Pacific Loon in Morris County.  The last time here was at first light and brief as I had to get to work.  Arriving in the late morning at the pond on American Road it proved to have much better light and allowed for terrific views. The bird was also diving less and preening more, so the looks were terrific.

I received word that a second Pacific Loon was being seen on nearby Lake Parsippany, just about 3 miles away from American Road.  This bird is an adult, being much darker than the American Road bird.   I was able to connect with this bird too for a very surprising 2nd-ever record for the county.

See the pictures that Jonathan Klizas took of this second Pacific Loon

Compare the American Road juvenile against the Lake Parsippany Adult with the all-dark back.
click to enlarge

photo credit: Jonathan Klizas

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11 - Pacific Loon

To my surprise this morning I awoke to read about a rare bird finding close to my home.  So before work I headed down to the town of Morris Plains, which is some 20 miles away.  Here in a corporate park on a small retention pond is where a Pacific Loon had been confirmed by Jamie Glydon on Sunday.
Fortunately just minutes before arriving I received a tweet from Simon Lane that the bird was still present !  The bird was mostly diving but in between it put on quite a show, at times being very close & at others flapping it's wings as if preparing to take off.   Evidently there is enough food for the bird to be feeding for a day or two, yet undoubtedly it should be departing soon to it's more familiar haunts of the ocean coastline.

Here is a picture taken by friend Jonathan Klizas, and more info on the Morris-Somerset County birding blog which he administers.

click to enlarge

for more images & info from the MoCoSoCo birds website click here

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 10 - Prospect Park

A visit to Brooklyn for a Varied Thrush...I had not seen this species since the Central Park bird of November 2010.  This Prospect Park bird showed well between 8:30 and 10:00 before flying off.  It was first seen near it's favored spot of the hillside near the Nevermead Arches Bridge, just up slope from the sparse Yew Tree.  It quickly flew across the ravine & up into a tree.  Seeing this bird in flight with it's strong wing stripe was nice.

click to enlarge

Read Andrew Baksh's report & see more of his images at

In the Coincidence Department,  my office calendar for March just happens to be....

click to enlarge

So each day this month I get to re-live seeing the Prospect Park bird !!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

March 9 - Ross' Goose

Fortunately just before leaving home today for some errands a friend called with news that a Ross' Goose was begin seen up at Orange County's "Camel Farm" among 1,000 Snow Geese.  Since I had not seen this bird since 2008, I was able to adjust my plans and got there within an hour.  Pretty quickly I was able to locate the diminutive Goose amongst it's larger cousins.  Also 3 Tundra Swans were on the pond too.  

See John Haas's birding blog of Orange & Sullivan counties for more images and info.

March 9 - Redpolls again !

For the last two weeks some Common Redpolls have been frequenting my backyard feeder.  Today was a nice bright day & their caps seemed to glow like a hummingbird's gorget !!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Saturday, March 02, 2013

March 2 - Gyr Redux

A return trip was in order and the Gyrfalcon was seen again today.

Later a female Barrow's Goldeneye was enjoyed over at Oak Beach.

Finally a Red-Necked Grebe at Captree Marina.