Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Higbee: field i.d. of fruits and nuts

About 25 eager people gathered for this morning's Higbee Beach walk - not to mention the 40 or so other birders wandering about hopefully apart from our group. We encountered the same group of gents with scopes that were spotted during our workshop over the weekend - they were from Sweden, seemed very keen, and their assessment matched mine: very slow day.

Not empty, just slow. Warblers flew over the first hour, but little touched down in the woods, and mid-way through the walk we sort of shifted gear to field identification of nuts and fruits - the botanical kind, I mean. Walnuts, hickories, persimmons, sassafras berries, grapes, rose hips - those things that birds and other wildlife depend on, and that are so abundant at Higbee.

A female Pintail that had appeared on Bunker Pond since yesterday was being pointed out by Anna Harris, one of CMBO's interpreters, when I wandered over to the hawk watch after the walk to deliver some materials.

In the t0tally-useless-to-you-but-still-interesting department, I've added three yard birds at my home along the bayshore, 10 miles north of Cape May, since yesterday: Eastern Screech Owl whistling away last night in response to my neighbor yelling at his kids, plus a female Black-throated Blue Warbler this morning, and a Purple Finch "pinking" overhead. Six months here (and almost never actually here at home), I'm inching toward the 100 mark, though numbers mean so much less than birds.

No cold fronts on the horizon, and tomorrow I'll be hawk-watching in north Jersey from NJAS's lookout in Montclair, where, I hope, at least I'll get a hug from Else Greenstone, which nearly everyone who is a return customer to Montclair gets, and which is perhaps the best form of "Vitamin E." Today's list from Higbee is below.

Location: Higbee Beach
Observation date: 9/18/07
Notes: CMBO's Tuesday Higbee Beach walk. Cloudy, winds generally northeast. Figure 100 unidentified warblers overhead, mostly 7-8 a.m.
Number of species: 35
Mallard 6
Osprey 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 10
Broad-winged Hawk 1
American Kestrel 2
Merlin 1
Laughing Gull 5
Herring Gull 2
Great Black-backed Gull 5
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 20
Eastern Kingbird 5
Red-eyed Vireo 5
American Crow 10
Tree Swallow 50
Carolina Chickadee 10
Tufted Titmouse 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch 10
Carolina Wren 5
Gray Catbird 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 20
Cedar Waxwing 20
Tennessee Warbler 1
American Redstart 10
Common Yellowthroat 5
Scarlet Tanager 1
Field Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 10
Bobolink 25
Red-winged Blackbird 10
Common Grackle 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 10
American Goldfinch 5
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

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