Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wed. 1/16: Tree Swallows & Harlequins at Barnegat Light, Orange-crowned Warbler in Reed's Beach

I took a trip outside the Greater Cape May Area this afternoon to Barnegat Light State Park. Barnegat makes for great winter birding in general (see Don's post from 12/17/07 for a review of a recent CMBO trip here). It is easily accessed via Exit 63 of the Garden State Parkway, where it is then a 15-minute drive east across Route 72 to Long Beach Island, and another 20 minutes north up Long Beach Boulevard/Central Avenue to the state park- all told, about 1.5 hours from the Cape May area.
Two hours spent there around high tide this afternoon produced about 40 Harlequin Ducks doing their thing, 6 rather cold-looking Tree Swallows shooting north across the inlet, several close adult Northern Gannets, and 6 Great Cormorants perched atop the markers at the end of the dual-jetties enclosing Barnegat Inlet.

My evening jog along Reed's Beach Road was highlighted by a calling Orange-crowned Warbler, which was located across the street from the wooded pond where Green-winged Teal are often numerous in winter, as are Glossy Ibis in spring. The bird was on private property when I heard it, but there is quite a bit of suitable Orange-crown habitat along the road between this pond and the marsh edge, so if you visit this pond in the near future, keep an eye and an ear out for this guy (Orange-crowns have a rather strong, relatively low-pitched, accented chip note). Other notable birds from my jog included 2 lingering Great Egrets in this wooded pond (which I'll likely be referring to as the "ibis pond" in the future), and several calling Clapper Rails in the marsh north of Reed's Beach Road.

Lists from both locations included-

1) Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Observation date: 1/16/08
Number of species: 21
Brant 25

Lesser Scaup 1
Harlequin Duck 40
Surf Scoter 4
Long-tailed Duck 35
Red-breasted Merganser 120
Red-throated Loon 24
Common Loon 8
Northern Gannet 4
Great Cormorant 6
Black-bellied Plover 3
Ruddy Turnstone 12
Purple Sandpiper 40
Dunlin 55
Ring-billed Gull 1
Herring Gull 750
Great Black-backed Gull 20
Tree Swallow 6
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Song Sparrow 2
House Sparrow 12
2) Reed's Beach
Observation date: 1/16/08
Number of species: 30
Snow Goose 25

American Black Duck 2
Mallard 4
Hooded Merganser 2
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 2
Clapper Rail 4
Ring-billed Gull 2
Herring Gull 5
Mourning Dove 8
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Carolina Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
American Robin 5
European Starling 12
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3
Eastern Towhee 2
Fox Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 25
Northern Cardinal 4
House Finch 4
American Goldfinch 6
House Sparrow 8

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2 (

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