Sunday, February 09, 2014

February 9 - Common Murre, Brigantine NWR, and Western Grebe

Out by myself this morning I decided to take the long ride down toward Cape May because there was a rare bird being seen in Wildwood Crest.   A Common Murre had been reported a few days earlier om the bay side in Sunset Lake.
I arrived just after first light and quickly got on the bird. Although it was actively feeding at first, the bird was very close to shore.   Later after the feeding frenzy was completed, the bird then was a little farther out into the lake, but then was staying above the water for long periods, offering great looks at this species.   This is my first record of Common Murre in New Jersey !

Here's a crappy 'documentation-purpose' only pic that I took with my cellphone.

Also seen here today is another rarity for the area in the bird of Rough-Legged Hawk.  This bird was quite distant on the other side of Sunset Lake, but it's perching & flight-style are easy identifiers for this species.

After birding the local Cape May area for a bit and not seeing anything unusual, I headed back north toward home.  First I stopped at Brigantine to look at some ducks and to get views of Tundra Swans, and the Snowy Owl which has been staying here for quite some time now.  I also spotted a Red-Shouldered Hawk.

I resumed my way north and made one last quick stop in Monmouth Beach.  Here I was able to see the Western Grebe which was found by friend Tommy Boyle a few days earlier.  I had not seen this Grebe in a few years so it was nice to put my eyes on this species once again !