The birding has been hot recently on the North Shore of New Jersey (Atlantic Coast roughly from NYC south to Long Beach Island). A small army of Cape May birders headed north yesterday to check out the show, and were very pleasantly surprised by the birds, especially given the bit of wind that made things extra chilly and gave the ocean a bit more rolling surface area that we like to see when scanning for birds on the water. Anyway, a day with both species of crossbills, 4 species of grebe including Eared, "Common" Teal (Eurasian Green-winged Teal), Pacific Loon, and Rough-legged Hawk in New Jersey is one that I'll remember for a long time.
White-winged Crossbill - presumed SY male at Seven Presidents Park, Long Branch, NJ - this bird spent quite a bit of time singing yesterday!
Red Crossbill - SY male in Deal, NJ - this bird was feeding alongside an ASY (full adult) male; both birds spent time whisper singing while we watched from underneath.
Peregrine Falcon - this bird was supervising the rarities at Shark River Inlet, Belmar, NJ
Eared Grebe - this is one of two rare birds we saw at Shark River - Tom Reed and David La Puma pointed out (with lots of shouting and arm waving) a Pacific Loon off the end of the jetties that we got great looks at while it preened and flapped.
As a footnote - the Eared Grebe and Pacific Loon have been reported by many birders in recent weeks off the North Shore. I'm sure that the New Jersey Bird Records Committee (NJBRC) would be very pleased to receive photos AND written reports of both of these species, which are sufficiently rare in the state as to be deemed "reviewable". Careful documentation of rare birds is one of those responsibilities we carry as birders, and it is a very important one if we want to have a complete and accurate record of the avifauna in New Jersey for years to come. For more information on NJBRC, please go here: http://www.njbrc.net/