Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | January 30, 2012

Best Laid Plans….

Sometime ago, RF and I developed a bird info exchange group on Facebook called, The Bird Exchange – where birders of any skill level can come, chat about anything birding-related, or ask questions without fear of teasing that can sometimes occur on other boards.

We recently decided that we needed an event to open up to our “friends”, and so we  planed a friendly “competition” where birders bird one or two days and their species total is weighted by rarity. (For more details, click here )

Off we went, collaborating on our team name: GREBE BAY PACKERS won! (I still kinda liked Dallas Cowbirds, but that one got shot down!)

Next, we built our strategy….Our original plan was to Bird Central to South(ish) on Saturday, then return to Bergen County to hang out with some friends and Bird Bergen on Sunday. Well, as they say, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” After returning from our great evening out, the cough I’d been fighting got a little worse, and a little worse, and then.. well, not so good. RF and I decided we’d take our birding act on the road, Ferry Road, Old Bridge to be exact – with a trip to the E.R. for a chest X-Ray.   Why do I share this? because on the way, we managed to score our only Red-Bellied Woodpecker of the weekend (one point, but great looks while stopped at a red light.)

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, the play was pretty good

Our first day was MONMOUTH DAY, we birded from my house, along route 18 to Eatontown, Long Branch, Sea Bright & Sandy Hook. We had hoped for (Razorbill, Snow Bunting, possibly chase some crazy reports, ya, know, birding on testosterone as one of my close friends calls it.) We did manage to break 50 points for the day, which was our goal, and got the best-ever looks at a Merlin hanging out in a tree in Sea Bright.

The next day, after our little “stop” we decided to head down to Allaire, to try and find the Western Tanager – which we had no luck with, but we did manage to get our FOY Field Sparrow, and awesome looks at some playful Bluebirds, not to mention we got to bird a brand new spot for us. While at Allaire, we ran into some Monmouth Birders we know who reminded us that Manasquan Reservoir is right up the road. (I had only been there once, and Rob had never been, so we decided to go clean up on ducks, and hopefully catch a glimpse of the nesting Eagles.)
When we got there, we FINALLY managed to get our first of the weekend Grebe (Pied Billed) – imagine if the Grebe Bay Packers went grebe-less?  PHEW! a save!!! We also managed to get Black Duck, Common Merg, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Coot, Lesser Scaup, Gadwall, etc… Then, the highlight of the day came while scoping and scanning the ducks, as an adult Bald Eagle flew directly overhead back towards its nest. 🙂 Cool!

Heading home, we took the scenic route (and hit the farm roads) and followed a lead on a Greater White Fronted goose seen in Colts Neck. Aside from the billion (give or take) Canada Geese, we didn’t get anything there.

All-in-all a great two days, with lots of surprises. We managed 57 species for 92 points but ended up on a neat adventure and salvaged some points in the act!

Congrats to Team Bramble who won big with 149 points! Very impressive! (Is it wrong to admit I was secretly rooting for you – you truly are fun to bird with and a great birder at that!)

As for the Grebe Bay Packers – well, this little grebe is on bed rest, to recoup for some big things coming up in the next few weeks, and my fellow Grebe and I vow to rebound next year!!


  1. “Dallas Cowbirds” would have been an awesome name, too! I’m so impressed that you guys still managed to have some really awesome birds while you were sick as a dog. And you’re still with it enough to put together a recap. 🙂

    Be careful! I had pneumonia a few years ago, and it was no fun. Hard to bird with, too.

    And you are too sweet. I’d rather you’d been well and not rooting for me.

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