Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | October 16, 2014

Stop senseless habitat destruction on Sandy Hook

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Originally posted by Monmouth County Audubon.

Stop senseless habitat destruction on Sandy Hook

Members and Friends,

The National Park Service has announced a plan to relocate maintenance facilities at Sandy Hook to areas that provide critical bird habitat. The proposed action would result in destruction of this critical habitat in order to construct new facilities and expand existing development.

Your urgent action is needed to OPPOSE this plan. Please submit comments against the proposal by October 22, 2014 to the website or address below.

NPS is considering two sites for development for the new facility. One area, the “well and water treatment plant site,” runs from the north end of the Scout Camp north to the intersection of the bike path and the unused portion of Randolph Road. This area contains the largest and oldest contiguous piece of coastal maritime/holly forest in Monmouth County. It is well known by birders as a prime spot for birding, especially in migration. Bird banding study in this very area has documented this forest as a critical stopover site for migrating birds.

A second site under consideration, the “tent city” site, runs along Gunnison Road adjacent to the MAST campus and into the wooded area behind the NOAA Marine Sciences Lab. The area is currently undeveloped grassy scrub and forest. The lots along Gunnison Road are known by birders to attract sparrows in the fall migration. The site is also the location of an active Osprey nesting platform. Maps and the NPS’ statement regarding the proposal can be found at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/gate and click on the link titled Relocate Maintenance Facilities to More Sustainable Locations – Sandy Hook.

Monmouth County Audubon opposes the proposed relocation to either of these sites. Please submit comments OPPOSING the plan.

Key points against this plan include:

* NPS should not undertake any new construction that involves removal of old trees, native vegetation and wildlife habitat when there are existing developed areas and abandoned buildings on Sandy Hook that can be refurbished, re-purposed and re-adapted for use as the maintenance facility.

* Both areas under consideration are important bird habitat. The “well and water treatment plant” site encompasses dense, old maritime forest which provides critical habitat for both nesting and migrating songbirds. An ongoing bird banding study being done by the College of Staten Island documents use of this forest by thousands of migratory birds, including New Jersey state-threatened and endangered species. The “tent city” site also provides habitat for nesting and migrating birds, including Henslow’s Sparrow, a federally endangered Species.

* The proposed sites do not provide a “sustainable” location for the maintenance facilities because both areas flooded during Superstorm Sandy and will likely flood again in future storms.

* The proposal would cost approximately $24 million dollars, a poor use of taxpayers’ money which should instead be spent on refurbishing existing buildings.

* Relocating maintenance facilities to either proposed site would negatively impact visitor use and experience at Sandy Hook by destroying prime birding locations or making them unavailable to the public.

* The NPS has the duty and responsibility to preserve and protect the natural resources of Sandy Hook for future generations. The proposed plan violates this mission.

We urge you to submit your comments by OCTOBER 22, 2014, online at:
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=237&projectID=49465&documentID=61398
You may also submit your comments by mail to:

Office of the Superintendent
Gateway National Recreation Area
ATTN: Sandy Hook Unit Maintenance Facilities Relocation EA Comments
210 New York Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10305

Thank you for your support!
Monmouth County Audubon Society

Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | October 13, 2014

FALL day at Sandy Hook / SAVE SANDY HOOK

Sandy Hook is one of my favorite places to be in autumn. It has a natural beauty, the lighthouse, arguably interesting structures and under the right circumstances, great birding.
Here is the view from Plum Island overlooking the Twin Lights of Navesink:

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Rob and I took it in, and joined Scott Barnes’ New Jersey Audubon trip and it was fantastic.

We stayed until about 1pm and enjoyed sparrows, Phoebes, Brown Creepers and Kinglets galore!
Leaves of Three, Leave it be- poison ivy:

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Prickly Pear Cactus is abundant on “the hook”

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Catalpa Trees and other vegetation make for great habitat!
Look closely at the woodpecker holes:

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Catalpa Trees are great places for fall warblers. Their broad leaves offer protection and a place to hide after making a long, tiring journey.

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In addition to bird diversity, there is great butterfly diversity at “the Hook.” Here, 2 Buckeyes rest together in a patch of grass.

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Even the old military structures have become homes to some of Sandy Hook’s favorite visitors. Here, an Osprey pair returns annually to nest atop the officer’s quarters. While the National Park Service has tried to deter this, by placing spikes on the chimneys, the Osprey have adapted and built around the spikes! Go Osprey!

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Speaking of old structures, there are many old structures which are in ruins. They make for interesting exploring, however a new proposal wants to build new infrastructure in some of the currently wild areas, rather than repurposing buildings that can be salvaged or tearing down some of these eyesores.

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Here is the NPS’ version:
http://www.nps.gov/gate/parkmgmt/relocation-of-sandy-hook-maintenance-facilities-environmental-assessment.htm

If you are as outraged as many of us, I urge you to read more and submit your comments to the National Park Service at the link in these articles.

http://blog.aba.org/2014/10/birders-can-speak-out-on-sandy-hook-nj-building-proposal.html

http://www.app.com/story/news/local/red-bank-middletown-area/2014/10/07/bird-enthusiasts-pan-sandy-hook-building-proposal/16874551/

And finally, a letter to the editor from Sandy Hook Bird Bander, and friend Professor Tom Brown:
http://patch.com/new-jersey/middletown-nj/please-oppose-national-park-services-plan-build-new-maintenance-building

All we ask is for everyone to submit comments. Please consider helping to KEEP SANDY HOOK WILD!

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Bird list follows:
Sandy Hook, Monmouth, US-NJ
Oct 12, 2014 8:00 AM – 1:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 mile(s)
Comments: Birded alone till 8:45AM, joined Scott Barnes’ NJAS trip.
54 species (+1 other taxa)

Brant X
Canada Goose X
American Black Duck X
Mallard X
Double-crested Cormorant X
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey X
Northern Harrier 1
Bald Eagle 1 imm
peep sp. 2
Laughing Gull X
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull X
Royal Tern 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) X
Mourning Dove X
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker X
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 3
Downy Woodpecker X
Northern Flicker X
Merlin X
Peregrine Falcon X
Eastern Phoebe 30
Blue-headed Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo X
American Crow X
Tree Swallow 100
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Brown Creeper 2
Carolina Wren X
Golden-crowned Kinglet X
Ruby-crowned Kinglet X
Gray Catbird X
Northern Mockingbird X
European Starling X
Cedar Waxwing X
Palm Warbler 3
Pine Warbler 1 male
Yellow-rumped Warbler X
Eastern Towhee X heard
Chipping Sparrow 20
Savannah Sparrow X
Song Sparrow X
White-throated Sparrow X
White-crowned Sparrow 2 imm
Dark-eyed Junco X
Northern Cardinal X
Bobolink 1
Red-winged Blackbird X
House Finch X
Pine Siskin 2 flyover “K” lot
American Goldfinch X
House Sparrow X

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S20214472

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (/content/nj)

Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | October 9, 2014

Autumn sunset

A cloudy autumn sunset over the Raritan Bay 10-9-14 as seen from the Driscoll Bridge

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Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | September 9, 2014

Fall at Brig

It may only be September, but it’s Fall to the birds. We have spent the last few weekends at Edwin B Forsythe NWR or “Brig” as it’s known.

We had great looks at migrating shorebirds including some of the rarer ones, Hudsonian Godwit, Wilson’s Phalarope and American Avocet.

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Ahhhh fall!

Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | August 18, 2014

Birding in the First State

Along with our friend ES, we started out at Bombay Hook where the highlight was one of two continuing SEDGE WREN that we heard well, and saw briefly (great looks at its buffy rump as it flew away from us.) We also had a young Black Vulture peaking from an old barn window.

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Water levels were high, so shore bird diversity was low, but we still had a flock of 50 AVOCETS (the staple of Delaware birding.) The action of the day was a peregrine swooping on the pool of shorebirds. The peeps took to the sky while the Avocets huddled together.

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In a fit of temporary insanity, we decided to continue further south, to Prime Hook in search of Black-necked Stilt (a lifer for Eleanor.) We drove the hour, and scoured the Broadkill marsh where there were more Avocets and other shorebirds, but no sign BN Stilt… UNTIL….. The Avocets took flight at once, and were replaced by 2 BLACK-NECKED STILTS from the ether! :)

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Why stop here? In yet another fit of insanity, we decided… let’s try for the TRIFECTA! ..so on to Cape Henlopen it was….. We searched around the Piney woods near the seaside nature center and heard little squeaks. BUT we were being slaughtered by giant mosquitoes, so as we headed back to our car to douse ourselves in bug spray, we happened upon a feeder. Our target was briefly seen on the feeder, so we waited for more looks and were eventually rewarded with great looks at several BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCHES coming to the feeder, and in the surrounding pines. Another lifer for ES!

All in all, we tallied 63 species.
A great, but tiring day. Delaware birding is always a highlight of our adventures.

Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | May 11, 2014

Cheep Trills: World Series of Birding ’14

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special post to this.great.planet by Rob Fanning

At the stroke of midnight, Team Cheap Trills embarked on a mission to identify as many species as possible (by sight or sound) in a limited Geographic area (in this case Monmouth county)  We started our night birding at Sandy Hook where we tallied our first truly nocturnal bird, a calling BARRED OWL.

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We then ventured to various marshes where our luck was minimal, but we continued to add a bird here and a bird there slowly but surely–highlighted by a distant but distinctly calling WHIP-POOR-WILL! (A member of the Nightjar family named after it’s call–formerly fairly common in Monmouth co but sadly now quite rare) We joked that we can make it to double-digits eventually. But with night comes the promise of sunrise–and as we positioned ourselves at a farmland site for the dawn chorus, we started tallying many species quickly–such as Meadowlark, Grasshopper Sparrow, Wood Thrush, and Bobolink.  We fought dense fog from midnight to mid-morning–but luckily heard birds count–and the good ears of the Cheap Trills paid off at this time. It was a good day for migrants–and we continued to add many new species as we birded woodlands and fields filled with birdsong. One of the highlights was the diversity of warblers, of which we tallied 19 species for the day–with the “best” being the highly sought-after Cape May warbler (which even makes Cape May birders envious)

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As morning turned to early afternoon–we turned our attention to shorebirds, terns, herons,hawks, and waterfowl. We had mixed success here–but turned up some nice finds including Black-bellied Plover, Bald Eagle, Least Tern, Glossy Ibis, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, and Common Loon.

With energy running low (we had been birding for approx. 13 hours by then), we ventured back out to Sandy Hook–where we worked the woods hoping to add more species. Again we had mixed success and could not find our 20th warbler, but we did muster some new birds including Swainson’s thrush, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Clapper Rail, Piping Plover, Broad-winged Hawk, a gorgeous and rare for Monmouth Summer Tanager!, and finally an “elusive” for this day Black Vulture! (high fives were exchanged after this one!) These birds were added in between several severe downpours accompanied by lightning.

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We decided to stay at the hook to until nightfall for more nocturnal birds. It paid off in the form of several COMMON NIGHTHAWKS winging overhead, and after 9pm–a calling CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW! (another member of the Nightjar family that is named after it’s call)

Buoyed by this latest addition–we decided to try a few more places for Great Horned and Screech owls–which we had missed earlier in the day. While we never did hear a Great Horned, some whistling by the Cheap Trills members eventually enticed a SCREECH OWL to respond with their distinctive tremolo whistle!–a major thrill for the Trills!  This put our final tally at 145 species–a very respectable total for one county in NJ. After 22 hours of non-stop birding, we decided to call it a day (or night!) and hand in our results to the “Red-eyed Vireos” of Cape May county.

The day was tiring, but more than that it was fun, and the Cheap Trills are proud to help raise funds for Monmouth co. Audubon’s scholarship program, thanks to our generous friends and colleagues. We could not have done this event without you. Thank you!

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Official Team Photo   L-R; Rob Fanning, Lisa Ann Fanning, John Temple, Dena Temple (with Kermit the wondertruck, courtesy of Tom’s Ford, Keyport, NJ)   (photo by Sam Galick) 


 

Complete list below: 145 species

Brant  X
Canada Goose  X
Mute Swan  X
Wood Duck  X
Gadwall  X
Mallard  X
Bufflehead  5     Wreck Pond
Red-breasted Merganser  1     Sandy Hook
Ruddy Duck  X
Wild Turkey  6     Assunpink
Common Loon  2
Double-crested Cormorant  X
Great Blue Heron  X
Great Egret  X
Snowy Egret  X
Green Heron  3
Black-crowned Night-Heron  4
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  1     (near Keyport Fishery)
Glossy Ibis  3
Black Vulture  1
Turkey Vulture  X
Osprey  X
Northern Harrier  1     Sandy Hook
Cooper’s Hawk  2
Bald Eagle  1     Manasquan Res.
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  X
Clapper Rail  2     1 seen at Sandy Hook – Plum Island
American Oystercatcher  X
Black-bellied Plover  X
Semipalmated Plover  X
Piping Plover  1
Killdeer  X
Spotted Sandpiper  X
Solitary Sandpiper  X
Greater Yellowlegs  X
Willet  X
Lesser Yellowlegs  X
Least Sandpiper  X
Semipalmated Sandpiper  X
Short-billed Dowitcher  X
Laughing Gull  X
Ring-billed Gull  X
Herring Gull  X
Great Black-backed Gull  X
Least Tern  X
Common Tern  X
Forster’s Tern  X
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  X
Mourning Dove  X
Eastern Screech-Owl  1     heard
Barred Owl  2
Common Nighthawk  4
Chuck-will’s-widow  1     heard at Sandy Hook – Atlantic Avenue
Eastern Whip-poor-will  1     heard at Nomoco
Chimney Swift  X
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Red-headed Woodpecker  1     heard at Assunpink
Red-bellied Woodpecker  X
Downy Woodpecker  X
Hairy Woodpecker  X
Northern Flicker  X
American Kestrel  X
Merlin  X
Eastern Wood-Pewee  X
Willow Flycatcher  1     Assunpink Boat launch
Least Flycatcher  X
Eastern Phoebe  X
Great Crested Flycatcher  X
Eastern Kingbird  X
White-eyed Vireo  X
Yellow-throated Vireo  X
Warbling Vireo  X
Red-eyed Vireo  X
Blue Jay  X
American Crow  X
Fish Crow  X
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  X
Purple Martin  X
Tree Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Carolina Chickadee  X
Black-capped Chickadee  1     Sandy Hook
Tufted Titmouse  X
White-breasted Nuthatch  X
House Wren  X
Carolina Wren  X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  X
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3
Eastern Bluebird  1     Allaire
Veery  X
Swainson’s Thrush  1     Sandy Hook
Wood Thrush  X
American Robin  X
Gray Catbird  X
Brown Thrasher  2
Northern Mockingbird  X
European Starling  X
Cedar Waxwing  X
Ovenbird  X
Northern Waterthrush  X
Blue-winged Warbler  X
Black-and-white Warbler  X
Nashville Warbler  X
Common Yellowthroat  X
American Redstart  X
Cape May Warbler  2     males – 1 Allaire, 1 Glimmerglass
Northern Parula  X
Magnolia Warbler  4
Yellow Warbler  X
Blackpoll Warbler  X
Black-throated Blue Warbler  X
Palm Warbler  3     1 Western,  2 Yellow (Sandy Hook)
Pine Warbler  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler  X
Prairie Warbler  2
Black-throated Green Warbler  X
Yellow-breasted Chat  1     heard at Assunpink
Eastern Towhee  X
Chipping Sparrow  X
Field Sparrow  X
Savannah Sparrow  X
Grasshopper Sparrow  X     Polhemus
Song Sparrow  X
Lincoln’s Sparrow  1     Sandy Hook
Swamp Sparrow  X
White-throated Sparrow  X
White-crowned Sparrow  3
Summer Tanager  1     Sandy Hook (rare for location) 1st year male – mostly red
Scarlet Tanager  X
Northern Cardinal  X
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  X
Blue Grosbeak  1
Indigo Bunting  X
Bobolink  X     heard at Polhemus
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Eastern Meadowlark  X     Polhemus
Common Grackle  X
Boat-tailed Grackle  X
Brown-headed Cowbird  X
Orchard Oriole  X
Baltimore Oriole  X
House Finch  X
American Goldfinch  X
House Sparrow  X

 

Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | May 5, 2014

Texas Birding (trip report)

My very first time birding in Texas, and it sure did live up to the legacy – and we didn’t even hit the Valley yet!

Four of us (Rob, Todd, Meg and I) came to texas for a long weekend, and with our sights set on three particular targets… Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-Capped Vireo and Attwater’s Prairie Chicken (Greater).

We were able to get looks at the Attwater’s Prairie Chickens displaying at Attwater NWR (via a guided Van tour.)

A male Prairie Chicken "shows off" for two females.

A male Prairie Chicken “shows off” for two females.

For our looks at Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-Capped Vireo, we attended the Balcones Canyonlands NWR festival (and met up with fellow NJ birder, Deidre!) And boy did we get looks at these great birds!  (The Vireo is a little more elusive, and hence why I don’t have any photos.)

The Beautiful and Endangered Golden-Cheeked Warbler

The Beautiful and Endangered Golden-Cheeked Warbler

We got all three of our targets, and then some!    What an amazing trip… we ended up with 147 species for the trip, and in addition to the lifers, we ended on the last day, with a trip to Shiner, TX (for a quick stop at the Spoetzel Brewery) and a Mississippi Kite show!!! (at least 40 MIKIs circling the skies over Shiner, TX)

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers were definitely in abundance, and there were also lots of goodies like White-tailed Hawk, White-tailed Kite, Painted Buntings, Fulvous Whistling Duck, and many other goodies.

All in all, an awesome trip!

..... and we birded till the cow came home!

….. and we birded till the cow came home!

Full list follows:

Date range: Apr 25, 2014 – Apr 28, 2014 Total # of Species: 147
Total # of Checklists: 10
Location(s):   Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR- N. (Prairie Chicken Rd. area); Balcones Canyonlands NWR; Eagle Lake; Galveston; Hornsby Bend (HOTE 037); Palmetto SP (CTC 029); Rice Field Road – Sealy TX; Shiner; St. Edwards Pk (NW Austin); Texas

  • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
  • Fulvous Whistling-Duck
  • Wood Duck
  • Gadwall
  • Mallard
  • Mottled Duck
  • Blue-winged Teal
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Northern Bobwhite
  • Greater Prairie-Chicken
  • Wild Turkey
  • Eared Grebe
  • Neotropic Cormorant
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Brown Pelican
  • American Bittern
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Snowy Egret
  • Tricolored Heron
  • Cattle EgretEagle Lake
  • Green Heron
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
  • White Ibis
  • White-faced Ibis
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture
  • White-tailed Kite
  • Mississippi Kite
  • Northern Harrier
  • White-tailed Hawk
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Broad-winged Hawk
  • Swainson’s Hawk
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Common Gallinule
  • American Coot
  • Black-necked Stilt
  • American Avocet
  • Black-bellied Plover
  • Semipalmated Plover
  • Killdeer
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Solitary Sandpiper
  • Willet
  • Lesser Yellowlegs
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Sanderling
  • Baird’s Sandpiper
  • Least Sandpiper
  • Pectoral Sandpiper
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper
  • Long-billed Dowitcher
  • Wion’s Phalarope
  • Laughing Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Gull-billed Tern
  • Caspian Tern
  • Forster’s Tern
  • Royal Tern
  • Sandwich Tern
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove
  • White-winged Dove
  • Mourning Dove
  • Inca Dove
  • Common Ground-Dove
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • Greater Roadrunner
  • Common Nighthawk
  • Chimney Swift
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Crested Caracara
  • Merlin
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Olive-sided Flycatcher
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Vermilion Flycatcher
  • Great Crested Flycatcher
  • Western Kingbird
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  • Loggerhead Shrike
  • White-eyed Vireo
  • Black-capped Vireo
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • American Crow
  • Common Raven
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  • Purple Martin
  • Bank Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Cliff Swallow
  • Cave Swallow
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Black-crested Titmouse
  • Canyon Wren
  • Sedge Wren
  • Marsh Wren
  • Carolina Wren
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • European Starling
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Black-and-white Warbler
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Northern Parula
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Blackpoll Warbler
  • Golden-cheeked Warbler
  • Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Yellow-breasted Chat
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Clay-colored Sparrow
  • Lark Sparrow
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Summer Tanager
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Painted Bunting
  • Dickcissel
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • Common Grackle
  • Great-tailed Grackle
  • Bronzed CowbirdEagle Lake
  • Brown-headed Cowbird
  • Orchard Oriole
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • House Finch
  • American Goldfinch
  • House Sparrow

Okay, I am just A LITTLE proud OKAY A LOT PROUD!

This morning, we only had a little while to bird Cape May, and it was one of those days where I could not get out of bed, but Cape May was a callin’ and we only had a few hours to “play.”

After we dipped on Black-Headed Gull, we decided to hit the State Park for some year birds.

Just as we were going to turn into the State Park, I said “make a quick right, and see if we can find the EUDO (Eurasian Collared Dove – of which only one remains.)”

So we did our usual route – making the right onto Harvard Ave, stopping at the feeder at 113 Harvard!  House Sparrows, a Song Sparrow, Cardinal, Mourning Dove, …… “That’s a freakin’ Eurasian Tree Sparrow!!!” I heard excitedly from the driver side!

My three and a half year birding repertoire quickly kicked into gear…. Eurasian=Europe and Asia… oh and isn’t that the thing people go to St. Louis for?   I could not believe what I saw before my eyes!

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I LOVE sparrows, and grew up appreciating the House Sparrows that nested in the narrow space between my fourth floor apartment and the building next door and under mom and dad’s air conditioner.

I am sooooo proud of Rob’s patience and abilities to pick out this beauty.  Within minutes of one phone call, the masses had arrived from all over Cape May.

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The quote of the day comes from one Cape May regular who said they were finishing breakfast at Bella Vida (our favorite eatery) and “threw the money down on the table and left.”  :)

Rob has been graciously telling people I get the assist for finding the bird, but it was all him :)

Of course, the record is subject to review by the Rare Bird Committee, but for now, we are enjoying finding this needle in the haystack!

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You may also be interested in this great article on CMBO’s blog:

http://cmboviewfromthecape.blogspot.com/2014/03/eurasian-tree-sparrow.html

Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | March 2, 2014

Birdy 30 contest

The brainchild of Jim Wright, the “Birdy 30″ challenge was fledged when Stiles Thomas declared he was bored one snowy winter day. Jim came up with the idea of a contest where they would go “head to head” for 30 minutes and count birds from their window. That day, Stiles won the coveted Hershey Chocolate Bar prize.   Wright continues:

“Then came the snowstorm of Jan. 21, which closed schools and businesses early. We decided to have another competition, to begin at 3 p.m., and asked acquaintances in our email birding group if they wanted to join in. Looking for a catchy name, à la the “Hour on the Tower,” I dubbed it the Birdy 30.

To our surprise, a dozen birders took the challenge on short notice.

And despite a steady snowfall, folks reported seeing some really cool birds from their windows.

The following day, another snow day for many, we had an encore contest, with folks choosing a half-hour window of their liking.

This time 21 people entered — including folks in North Carolina and Italy — and again we saw some nice birds in addition to the usual feeder suspects. The winning totals: Three people had 15 species.”

Wright added another round this weekend (2/28-3/2/14)

We chose to bird from a historically significant sight, John James Audubon’s First Home in America at Mill Grove in Audubon, PA.

The visitor’s center has a feeder setup – we saw the following:  (we had 12 species, not counting a rehabilitated Great Horned Owl that was being displayed) ;)  Canada Goose, Blue Jay, Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, White-throated Sparrow, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy  Woodpecker, House Finch, Cardinal, Goldfinch, Dark-eyed Junco, Yellow-rumped Warbler.

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To read more about the Birdy 30, click HERE.

Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | February 27, 2014

Florida Trip Report

Four and a half days in Florida was just enough to cure the New Jersey winter blues. Our itinerary was bird-centric, and we hired noted Florida bird guide, Wes Biggs of Florida Nature Tours to try to help us find our targets, including many of Flordia’s exotics and one special rarity!

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We started in Orlando and soon traveled to Osceola County and made our way to points south (Miami-Dade County, where we focused most of our efforts.) We also birded areas in Hendry County, Pembroke Pines, Brian Piccolo Park, Oscar Scherer Park, Sanibel Island (including J.N. “Ding” Darling NWR and surrounding area,) St. Petersburg and back to Orlando (including a wonderful place called the Orlando Wetlands Park on our own.)

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In total, we saw 137 species of birds (complete list below), several new species of butterflies, many American Alligators and one American Crocodile (pictured).

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While we did not see ALL the species we targeted, we got great looks at many of our lifers, and learned a lot about the natural habitat throughout Florida.

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Keep checking back for some very special “species profiles” of a few of the Florida “specialties” we saw.

Complete Bird list follows (in taxonomic order):

  1. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
  2. Muscovy Duck
  3. American Black Duck
  4. Mallard
  5. Mottled Duck
  6. Blue-winged Teal
  7. Northern Shoveler
  8. Green-winged Teal
  9. Ring-necked Duck
  10. Lesser Scaup
  11. Wild Turkey
  12. Pied-billed Grebe
  13. Wood Stork
  14. Double-crested Cormorant
  15. Anhinga
  16. American White Pelican
  17. Brown Pelican
  18. Great Blue Heron
  19. Great Egret
  20. Snowy Egret
  21. Little Blue Heron
  22. Tricolored Heron
  23. Reddish Egret
  24. Cattle Egret
  25. Green Heron
  26. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  27. White Ibis
  28. Glossy Ibis
  29. Roseate Spoonbill
  30. Black Vulture
  31. Turkey Vulture
  32. Osprey
  33. Snail Kite
  34. Northern Harrier
  35. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  36. Cooper’s Hawk
  37. Bald Eagle
  38. Red-shouldered Hawk
  39. Broad-winged Hawk
  40. Red-tailed Hawk
  41. Sora
  42. Purple Swamphen
  43. Purple Gallinule
  44. Common Gallinule
  45. American Coot
  46. Limpkin
  47. Sandhill Crane
  48. Black-necked Stilt
  49. American Oystercatcher
  50. Black-bellied Plover
  51. Wilson’s Plover
  52. Semipalmated Plover
  53. Piping Plover
  54. Killdeer
  55. Greater Yellowlegs
  56. Willet
  57. Lesser Yellowlegs
  58. Marbled Godwit
  59. Ruddy Turnstone
  60. Sanderling
  61. Dunlin
  62. Least Sandpiper
  63. Western Sandpiper
  64. Short-billed Dowitcher
  65. Long-billed Dowitcher
  66. Wilson’s Snipe
  67. Bonaparte’s Gull
  68. Laughing Gull
  69. Ring-billed Gull
  70. Caspian Tern
  71. Forster’s Tern
  72. Royal Tern
  73. Black Skimmer
  74. Rock Pigeon
  75. White-crowned Pigeon
  76. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  77. Mourning Dove
  78. Common Ground-Dove
  79. Burrowing Owl
  80. Belted Kingfisher
  81. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  82. Downy Woodpecker
  83. Red-cockaded Woodpecker
  84. Northern Flicker
  85. Pileated Woodpecker
  86. Crested Caracara
  87. American Kestrel
  88. Peregrine Falcon
  89. Nanday Parakeet
  90. Monk Parakeet
  91. White-winged Parakeet
  92. Eastern Phoebe
  93. Vermilion Flycatcher
  94. Great Crested Flycatcher
  95. La Sagra’s Flycatcher
  96. Cassin’s Kingbird
  97. Western Kingbird
  98. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  99. Loggerhead Shrike
  100. White-eyed Vireo
  101. Blue Jay
  102. Florida Scrub-Jay
  103. American Crow
  104. Fish Crow
  105. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  106. Purple Martin
  107. Tree Swallow
  108. Cave Swallow
  109. Tufted Titmouse
  110. Brown-headed Nuthatch
  111. House Wren
  112. Carolina Wren
  113. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  114. Eastern Bluebird
  115. American Robin
  116. Gray Catbird
  117. Brown Thrasher
  118. Northern Mockingbird
  119. Common Myna
  120. European Starling
  121. Black-and-white Warbler
  122. Common Yellowthroat
  123. Northern Parula
  124. Palm Warbler
  125. Pine Warbler
  126. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  127. Prairie Warbler
  128. Eastern Towhee
  129. Bachman’s Sparrow
  130. Savannah Sparrow
  131. Northern Cardinal
  132. Red-winged Blackbird
  133. Eastern Meadowlark
  134. Common Grackle
  135. Boat-tailed Grackle
  136. Brown-headed Cowbird
  137. House Sparrow

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