Friday, February 29, 2008

Proof of the Brig. Osprey, weekend birding suggestions, Western Grebe at Sandy Hook

I've made more trips to Brig this winter than I'm willing to admit, and still haven't seen the silly Osprey that has been wintering along the entrance road... a bit of a bummer, but this bird is on the brink of accomplishing something that has quite possibly never been documented before- it will have survived an entire winter in New Jersey.

To prove its presence, superb birder, well-known author and highly-regarded Stockton College professor Jack Connor sent me the following picture of the bird last week. JC is author of the classic Season at the Point, which magnificently details an entire fall season in Cape May. I believe it is no longer in print, but the last time I checked there were still a couple copies on the shelves at Northwood...a highly recommended read for anyone who loves Cape May.

[The Elusive Wintering Osprey of Forsythe. Photo by Jack Connor]

If you're in town and looking to get in some birding this weekend, here's a few general suggestions:

  1. Ocean Drive area - Waterfowl numbers should be increasing on the Coast Guard Ponds and Sunset Lake. A walk down the beach at the Two Mile Beach Unit of Cape May NWR can make for productive seawatching, and be sure to check around the jetties for Great Cormorant, eiders, Harlequin Ducks or even an alcid. A Little Blue Heron has been hanging around Two Mile Landing.
  2. Cape May Point- Try Lily Lake for the Barnacle Goose and migrant waterfowl. Seawatching has been fairly good from the various dune crossovers, and from Sunset Beach- keep an eye out for Black-headed Gull. The State Park could still produce Orange-crowned, Nashville, and Palm Warblers, and Yellow-breasted Chat.
  3. Delaware Bayshore- American Woodcock are displaying at Woodcock Trail and Kimble's Beach Road. Hundreds of diving ducks can often be seen from Reed's Beach, and the ibis pond along the road in has been active lately. Bald Eagle chicks JUST hatched at Beaver Swamp WMA this week (thanks Karen), and Jake's Landing is still your best shot for Short-eared Owls late in the day.

Lastly, a Western Grebe was found at Sandy Hook, at the north end of the jersey shore, this morning by Tom Boyle. At least one Bohemian Waxwing and the Townsend's Solitaire also continue at The Hook. Scott Barnes sent the following message to the NJBIRDS listserv:

"Tom Boyle discovered a Western Grebe around 11:30 this morning at Sandy Hook. The bird is present on the ocean between the toll plaza and B-lot. Park at the shrink-wrapped toll plaza and walk out to the beach. The bird was viewed in this area and seemed to be loosely associating with a male Greater Scaup. Bohemian Waxwing and Townsend's Solitaire were both reported from their usual spots north of the scout camp today as well."

Have a great weekend of birding, and let us know what you come up with!

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