Saturday, July 09, 2016

July 9 - Rainy Day with Great birds

While this morning started with a delay as Bill got stuck in traffic because the highway was closed at 4:30 am due to a tractor-trailer accident, and then we had to drive through lots of fog & drizzle, eventually it was a fantastic day. 
We met friends Andy & Jen at Forsythe NWR, aka "Brig".  Here we had many of the expected species...Purple Martins, Carolina Chickadees, Seaside & Saltmarsh Sparrows, Clapper Rails, Gull-Billed and Least Terns, Little Blue Heron, we also had some early migrants like Pectoral Sandpiper and Whimbrels.  Later we got our primary target, the female Red-Necked Phalarope.
Here's a dramatic picture taken by friend Chris Takacs, showing just how small these phalaropes are.

The flight shot is courtesy Steven Albert.  Click on images to enlarge

We departed Brig and headed north toward Waretown to try for the Mississippi Kite that has been seen again this year.  I saw this bird here last July 2015.

Before Waretown, Bill and I took a short detour to Tuckerton's Great Bay Boulevard.  Here we saw more Seaside and Saltmarsh Sparrows, along with an Adult Little Blue Heron, and several Tri-colored Herons.  Then we saw 5 American Avocets in flight at close range, but they quickly took off toward Brig.

Our friend Andy called and said that two Mississippi Kites were being seen, so we headed over to meet him and the now sleeping Jennifer.  Hey, its sometimes hard to get up at 4 am !
By the time we arrived Andy had located the Kite's nest !!  We saw the parents bringing food and feeding the 2 young, so this represents the first known record of breeding Mississippi Kites in the State of New Jersey !!
Here is more info on these birds: Mississippi Kites found nesting in New Jersey

While driving home, we saw the birding alert that an Adult Franklin's Gull has been found at Liberty State Park's Boat Launch.  So we headed over there.  Upon arriving we saw friend Ed Borowik who had arranged with the Park Police to allow some birders to briefly park their cars near where the bird was being seen.  We got fine looks at the bird, and moments later Andy & the now awoken Jennifer arrived and also got to see the bird.  This Franklin's Gull was my first being seen in New Jersey.

Credit: Larry Scacchetti

So it was quite a day, even after the obstacles that the early morning had in store for us,