Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rare bird news, plus Beanery, Cape May Point and Island Beach today

Pete Bacinski called us today while we were at Island Beach to tell of an Ash-throated Flycatcher at Brigantine, found by Jack and Jessie Connor near the bridge on Great Creek Road at the entrance to the refuge. Pete's trip also found 24 Marbled Godwits in the East Pool and several Bald Eagles.

It turns out a number of rarities are around; first this from Laurie Larson, posted to NJBIRDS:

"An Ash-throated Flycatcher was present about 12:15 to 12:30 at Brigantine (Forsythe) NWR today. Found by Jack and Jessie Connor, it was seen by a NJAS field trip and heard calling as well. The bird was located on the entrance road between the bridge with ponds on both sides, and the main entrance sign/HQ parking lot.

Also, at the Cape May Point in the past hour Sandhill Cranes as well as a Barnacle Goose (in a flock of Canadas) have been seen circling over the hawk watch; neither crossed the bay, and may still be in the area."

Jessie Barry fills out Laurie's report with the following "Non-raptor Observations:BARNACLE GOOSE (1), Sandhill Crane (2), Red Crossbill (10), Cave Swallow(30+), Tundra Swan (9)." Among other things, Jessie clicked 190 Red-tailed Hawks today.

Paul Lehman, also on NJBIRDS, adds: "No surprise given the weather the past number of days (i.e., 2+ days of mild weather with S/SW winds, followed by a sharp cold front), but yesterday (Friday) before dark there were 24+ Cave Swallows along the Cape May city waterfront hotels, and this morning (Saturday), in a more thorough check, there were 44 Cave Swallows. These birds roost on these hotels in colder weather and then disperse locally and/or totally depart the area during the day. Smaller number of Caves have been seen recently at the Cape May hawkwatch and at the Avalon seawatch. Also yesterday and today, three separate small flocks of Red Crossbills were seen flying by, one at the Avalon seawatch and two around Cape May Point. There has been a recent surge of Red Crossbills (but no White-wingeds) in Massachusetts and elsewhere the past few days. Another one or two fly-by Evening Grosbeaks.

Otherwise, the number of western passerines and late-lingering landbirds (other than Baltimore Orioles) the past couple weeks has seemingly been mediocre to poor this year. Sparrow numbers also seem sub-par."

Karl and Judy Lukens send this report from the CMBO Beanery walk today: "A brisk and partly sunny morning walk at the "Beanery" produced some interesting birds. Raptors included Harrier (Gray Ghost), Kestrel, Red-shoulder, Red-tail, Sharpies and Bald Eagle. Robins were present in the hundreds, with 40 Pipits, 25 Bluebirds, 4 Downy and 4 Hairy Woodpeckers, a Brown Creeper, and a Cave Swallow. And we almost stepped on 2 Woodcock before they startled us as they flushed. A Baltimore Oriole was also a nice sighting. Alas no other rarities." A full list is below.

Chuck and Mary Jane Slugg sent a report from the afternoon Cape May Point State Park walk, which "yawn" detected 5 Cave Swallows and, very much not a yawn, ever, a Northern Goshawk which was also counted at the hawk watch.

Our second day in a row at Island Beach ("our" means me, Scott Barnes, Karla Risdon, Tom Gilmore, and a number of NJAS supporters on a special donor field trip) was thankfully much less windy, so we managed to scrape up some interesting landbirds. Scott Barnes detected a very elusive chat on the road to the Winter Anchorage, and a much more cooperative thrasher was also along that road. On Barnegat Bay, Bufflehead were abundant, and we observed 12 Horned Grebes there as well. My favorite, and perhaps everyone else's, was the Rusty Blackbird that flew into a holly at the parking lot for the Fisherman's Walkway, proceeding to feed on Virginia Creeper and other berries. Pretty much every woody plant at Island Beach produces some sort of bird-friendly berry - the thrasher was involved with Eastern Redcedar berries as we watched it. Interestingly, the blackbird seemed to have come in off the ocean, even though it was about 2:00 p.m., and was clearly very hungry. The day list for this trip is also below.

11/17/2007 ~ in Beanery ~ New Jersey Checklist ~ 57 seen

Common Loon 2
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Great Blue Heron 1
Canada Goose 20
Gadwall 4
Mallard 6
Black Vulture 3
Turkey Vulture 5
Bald Eagle 1
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 4
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
American Kestrel 1
American Woodcock 2
Ring-billed Gull 5
American Herring Gull 3
Rock Pigeon 15
Mourning Dove 40
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downy Woodpecker 4
Hairy Woodpecker 4
Northern Flicker 5
Tree Swallow 5
Cave Swallow 1
American Pipit 40
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Cedar Waxwing 10
Carolina Wren 2
Gray Catbird 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
Brown Thrasher 1
Eastern Bluebird 25
American Robin 500
Carolina Chickadee 5
Tufted Titmouse 1
Brown Creeper 1
Blue Jay 3
American Crow 15
European Starling 25
House Sparrow 5
Purple Finch 5
House Finch 3
American Goldfinch 20
Yellow-rumped Warbler 8
Chipping Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 5
Fox Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Eastern Meadowlark 3
Rusty Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 10
Brown-headed Cowbird 10
Baltimore Oriole 1

Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 11/17/07
Number of species: 41
Canada Goose 30
Mute Swan 8
Tundra Swan 3
Wood Duck 6
Gadwall 20
American Wigeon 50
American Black Duck 6
Mallard 30
Northern Pintail 20
Green-winged Teal 200
Black Scoter 20
Hooded Merganser 25
Ruddy Duck 25
Northern Gannet 15
Double-crested Cormorant 25
Great Blue Heron 10
Great Egret 12
Northern Harrier 8
Sharp-shinned Hawk 2
Northern Goshawk 1
American Coot 2
Herring Gull 3
Great Black-backed Gull 30
Black Skimmer 20
Rock Pigeon 30
Mourning Dove 3
Northern Flicker 1
American Crow 5
Tree Swallow 5
Cave Swallow 6
Carolina Wren 6
Golden-crowned Kinglet 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
American Robin 125
European Starling 10
Yellow-rumped Warbler 50
Song Sparrow 2
White-throated Sparrow 5
Snow Bunting 27
Red-winged Blackbird 15
Common Grackle 4

Location: Island Beach State Park
Observation date: 11/17/07
Number of species: 54
Brant 15
American Black Duck 50
Mallard 10
Green-winged Teal 10
White-winged Scoter 4
Black Scoter 20
Long-tailed Duck 30
Bufflehead 400
Hooded Merganser 4
Red-breasted Merganser 10
Red-throated Loon 5
Common Loon 2
Horned Grebe 12
Northern Gannet 100
Double-crested Cormorant 10
Great Blue Heron 3
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Black-bellied Plover 30
Ruddy Turnstone 5
Sanderling 20
Dunlin 50
Laughing Gull 25
Ring-billed Gull 50
Herring Gull 200
Great Black-backed Gull 100
Royal Tern 2
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 10
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 5
Carolina Chickadee 5
Tufted Titmouse 1
House Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 5
Hermit Thrush 2
American Robin 10
Northern Mockingbird 1
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler 15
Yellow-breasted Chat 1
Song Sparrow 5
White-throated Sparrow 10
Dark-eyed Junco 5
Snow Bunting 5
Northern Cardinal 2
Rusty Blackbird 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Purple Finch 2
House Finch 10
American Goldfinch 10

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