Thursday, January 3, 2008

Looking for scoter? Stone Harbor Point is the place.

This is a little bit of a belated post but I wanted to share the sightings with anyone who may be looking for a nice birding spectacle. The other reason I wanted to post the info was because I was just speaking with a research associate at the Center for Research and Education (the CMBO center in Goshen) and he was telling me about the large number of scoter he had flying past Barnegat Light on the same day. He was up there counting for the area Christmas Bird Count and had some large numbers of scoter and various other ducks flying south first thing in the morning. I think I may have found where some of those birds decided to land.

Sunday, 12/30, we decided to bird Stone Harbor Point. One, because it's a nice place to birdwatch and we have not actually walked out to the point in some time. Two, because that is Sunday late morning event for the winter. Upon walking the dirt tail out to the "entrance" of the point we started scanning the waters looking for birds. We immediately noticed large numbers of scoters in the waves. The wind was from the ENE-ish which made the ocean very choppy and hard to actually tally individuals. We estimated that there were a few hundred of each surf and black within close range to shore. That being said, out a little farther there were scoter by the multiple hundreds. In actuality I gave the major scoter flock a count of about 1500 dark-winged scoter species on my eBird data entry. There were definitely many more scoter on the water in addition to the birds I estimated. Given that there was a good bit of moving around I felt it best to go with my general estimate rather than spend too much time trying the actually count each bird. An exercise in futility! One nice surprise was a group of three Common eider just off the beach. That coupled with the good numbers of scoter and Long-tailed ducks, with the added bonus of a Peregrine falcon sitting on the beach and about 30 Snow buntings flying around turns into a nice few hours biriding. Funnily enough there we a lack of passerines out at the point. In fact the only one tallied was a lone Yellow-rumped warbler which flew from the dunes inland. not one Ipswich Savannah sparrow to be had.

After Stone Harbor Point we drove over Nummy Island and saw a few species with a last stop at a few places to look over Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest. Species diversity was not huge but there were good numbers, at least on Sunset Lake.

Moral to the story, get out and look for some ducks. It's that time of year!

Location: Stone Harbor Point
Observation date: 12/30/07
Number of species: 23

Brant 370
American Black Duck 16
American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid) 4
Mallard 12
Lesser Scaup 37
Common Eider 3
Surf Scoter 330
Black Scoter 320
dark-winged scoter sp. 1500
Long-tailed Duck 120
Bufflehead 2
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Red-throated Loon 4
Common Loon 6
Northern Gannet 3
Northern Harrier 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Dunlin 225
Bonaparte's Gull 1
Herring Gull 66
Great Black-backed Gull 6
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Snow Bunting 30

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

Location: Nummy Island
Observation date: 12/30/07
Number of species: 12

Gadwall 3
Bufflehead 2
Hooded Merganser 3
Red-breasted Merganser 8
Red-throated Loon 1
Common Loon 4
Great Blue Heron 2
Northern Harrier 1
Greater Yellowlegs 3
Dunlin 15
Herring Gull 10
Great Black-backed Gull 1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

Location: Sunset Lake
Observation date: 12/30/07
Number of species: 6

Brant 480
Lesser Scaup 63
Bufflehead 150
Red-breasted Merganser 81
Great Egret 2
Great Black-backed Gull 4

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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