Saturday, February 07, 2015

February 7 - Painted Bunting chase & Black Dirt region

While today wasn't much of a chase since we only had to walk 10 minutes from the parking spot, we did get to see fantastic views of the Painted Bunting which has been visiting a feeder in Andover, New Jersey.  It had been 10 long years since I had last seen this species (that too was in NJ, but near Cape May) so it was really enjoyable to see this splendidly plumaged bird.

Credit: Alyssa Della Fave

After spending an hour or so with the target bird, we headed to the nearby Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority --- a euphemism for the County Landfill.   We went to this sensory-overload location to look for rare winter gulls.  Despite the views & odors we were able to find out targets.   Andy located an Iceland Gull & then another, while Jennifer's sharp eyes spotted a beautiful Glaucous Gull.  An adult Bald Eagle was also seen.

Finally we decided to visit the Black Dirt region of the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge that is situated along the NJ/NY border.
We hoped to see Lapland Longspurs but did not come across any today.  However we enjoyed thoroughly the many individuals of Rough-Legged Hawk that were seen. We saw probably 6-8 of the Light-Morph version of the hawk, and several of the Dark-Morph too.  It's not possible to say which one is more beautiful.