Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 29 - Local Spots

Because I had just a half-day of free time today I decided to do some local birding.
It had been a few years since my last sighting of Glaucous Gull so once friend Dan P. had reported one on the Passaic River in the vicinity of Garfield I decided to try for it.  My first attempt was a short try back on Tuesday December 26 but I did not see it.

When the gull was reported by friend Mike W. on Saturday, I made a second attempt on Sunday at first light.  I arrived about a quarter past 7, just before sunrise, and there was enough ambient light to start looking at the group of gulls.  Fortunately the Glaucous Gull is a big all-white bird which makes it easier to find in darker conditions.  Within a few minutes I had located the Gull !

credit:  Dan Paolillo.

credit:  Mike Wolfe

When I was watching the big white Gull I then noticed a smaller white gull, it was an Iceland Gull.  The Iceland Gull took off after less than a minute and flew downstream to the Dundee Dam area.

The Glaucous stayed in sight the entire time I was there and at times came quite close.  Other species seen in my half-hour there were Bufflehead, Common Merganser, and Gulls of Ring-Billed, Herring, and Greater Black-Backed.

I could see that rain was going to come soon but I continued onto my next stop at Hatfield Swamp.
Along the walk under the power lines I saw such sparrows as Dark-Eyed Junco, American Tree, Song, Swamp, Field, and White-Throated. I heard a Towhee call a few times as well.   I came across a pair of Blackbirds, yet these were not Rusties but of the Red-winged variety.  Here woodpeckers abound and I saw numerous Downy & Red-Bellied along with many Northern Flickers, plus a few each of Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker and Hairy Woodpeckers.  Surprisingly there weren't any Red-Headed Woodpeckers even though this place looks to be perfect for this species' liking...

During my walk I spotted a Barred Owl, which is the first time I have seen this species here.

I think that's it for my birding adventures in 2013.  I do hope to get out on New Year's Day and start the 2014 chases !