Saturday, December 19, 2020

December 19 - Bean Goose & Allen's Hummingbird

 Today I chased the rarities that are being seen just outside of the Philadelphia area.

First up was the Allen's Hummingbird that is making appearances for 12 consecutive days at a private residence.  This bird showed within 10-15 minutes of my arrival and offered fine views as it sipped nectar from the feeder that now has a heater connected to it.


I then went over to the Crum Creek Reservoir for a try at the putative Tundra Bean Goose.

The bird was present, along with several dozen other birders, when I arrived.  There were initial good views from the dam area, and then better views from the roadside above the reservoir.  Finally the best views came from the gracious homeowner's pool deck.


Monday, November 02, 2020

November 2 - Common Cuckoo in RI !


 Yesterday morning, Sunday, there was a report of a Common Cuckoo being seen at the Snake Den Farm in Rhode Island.  Ironically I was here just 5 weeks ago when visiting Greenwich, RI.  Unfortunately I got word of this sighting too late in the day.

This morning, Monday, I waited for a positive report and got one just about 07:30 I immediately headed out on the 175-mile drive.  The morning traffic was thick and it took some time to get across the TZ Bridge (I commuted from Rockland to Westchester for 4 years of school, so I'll always refer to it as the TZ !)   but once in Connecticut, and especially north of New Haven the drive was just fine.

I arrived at 10:40 and immediately got on the bird !  The bird was very active to the delight of myself and the crowd there.  Every view you could want was provided.  Here's some pictures from another birder who was kind enough to share.

ABA Lower-48 Area Lifer # 670 !!


Wednesday, July 08, 2020

July 7 - Ninigret Mudflats for Little Stint.

Today I returned to Rhode Island in search of another mega-rarity shorebird of Little Stint.

Again I left my house just after 04:30 for the drive out to Charlestown, RI's breachway. After arriving in the RV parking lot I then had to walk/wade out to the mudflats.  Thankfully it was low tide and the water was just below my waist.  

Immediately I was able to see the breeding plumaged Little Stint



Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June 30 - Terek Sandpiper at Napatree Point, RI

 A mega-rarity was reported on Sunday afternoon up in Rhode Island. Unfortunately I had to work all day on Monday... so Tuesday would be my chance to try for this visitor from Siberia.

I left home at 04:30 and arrived in Watch Hill, RI just past 07:15...only to then take the .75 mile walk out on Napatree Point to the lagoon area where the bird had been seen.  Fortunately when I arrived the bird appeared in the distance, and then came closer during its time here this morning.  After about 20 minutes the bird flew away to the island in the bay.  So it was a great morning, as I got to see a bird that likely I will not see again...unless I go to Siberia ! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

May 27 - Historic Aerial Photos of Garret Mountain

With Spring Migration winding down I found myself looking at some old aerial photos of Garret Mountain.  My initial thoughts were that these photos would clearly show a significant decline in tree cover over the decades...due to development, pollution, climate change etc.
I was surprised to find that the Tree Coverage appears the opposite of what my impression was, that Garret now appears to be more thickly covered in trees than in the past.
Of course making judgements from some old, two-dimensional photos is incomplete at best.

Did older photos accurately capture accurate images ?
Were these older images taken before the Spring Leaf-Out and/or After the Fall ?
Are the new images taken, with curren tbetter optics, when leaves are out ?
Do the new images artificially enhance 'greenery' ?
Even if it appears there is more tree cover, they may not be native trees ?
From the photos you cannot tell what the Tree Understory habitat was / is like ?
Several other questions come to mind, but I'll leave them as thoughts to ponder...

Here's the website for you to draw your own inferences (and to check out any other place you wish to see its changes over the decades)

Here's some images to get the thoughts going.

 Click on the Images to enlarge

1953: appears to show larger open areas, but tough to be certain due to the photo quality

 1966: appears to show tree cover increasing, and this would be before artifical enhancement

2013: Greenery appears on the increase, particulary as one approaches Route 80.
Maybe this photo is enhanced to be more appealing to the eyes ?

Check out the site, have fun, and let me know what you think, either on this blog or via the Garret Mountain Group Me messages

Sunday, February 02, 2020

February 2 - Super Day of Birding

Well, Super Bowl Sunday is here !  Today we started down in Toms River in the cranberry bogs off of Dover Avenue because a Northern Shrike has been reported from here.  We arrived just about 08:00 am & after a 30-minute wait the Shrike was flushed up from it's low position by a photographer walking the dikes of the bogs.
The bird spent some time perched atop a pine tree offering fine looks before heading to a deciduous tree that gave even better looks.

click to enlarge

Our next stop was another spot in Ocean County at Manasquan Inlet.  Here we had nice close views of a Razorbill, perhaps two individuals.  In this very mild winter it was a treat to get an alcid.

We then hit the traditional spots along the long-birded 'North Shore Trip' from Manasquan to points north.  Along the way we picked up the Eurasian Wigeon at it's annual spot within the Shark River Inlet near the 7-11.

We saw lots of other good birds today at the various ponds like Gadwall, Greater Scaup with some Lesser Scaup mixed in.

One last stop at Sandy Hook produced the over-wintering Ash-Throated Flycatcher as a great way to end the day before going home to enjoy the game (but not so much for the 49er's !!)

Saturday, January 18, 2020

January 18 - Ridgewood Duck Pond

A very brief stop today, with my wife waiting in the car, gave me good looks at the Red-Headed Woodpecker adult that is spending the winter at this local pond.

Other woodpeckers seen today were Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, ad Red-Bellied Woodpecker.