Saturday, February 23, 2008

Summary of CMBO Trip to Brig/Forsythe NWR, Barnegat Lt.

Today marked CMBO's trip to Forsythe NWR and Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, led by Karen Johnson, Janet Crawford, Dave Lord and yours truly. The weather wasn't exactly superb- cool and damp with occasional mist and poor visibility throughout the day. However, as you'll read, the trip produced some superb birding.

The definitive highlight from Brig/Forsythe came in the form of 4 Short-eared Owls hunting in the middle of the day around the vegetated islands in the east pool. Two different birds posed for excellent looks, including a male seen from the east dike that sat no more than 20 yards from the group for a while. Other good finds included at least 6 Horned Grebes in Reed's Bay (thanks go out to Jack Connor for reminding me of the name of this bay), at least 176 Bufflehead (including 166 seen from the north dike in a single scan), an Eastern Phoebe toward the end of the driving loop, and a Peregrine perched at almost point-blank range along the north dike. This Peregrine was one of three seen here- we racked up an impressive total of 5 for the entire trip, after adding birds perched on water towers in the towns of Surf City and Barnegat Light on Long Beach Island.

After Brig and a mandatory Wawa stop, the group stopped at the municipal park in Harvey Cedars. The back bay here produced 9 Common Goldeneye and a dozen more Red-breasted Mergansers. The little league field here provided some interesting birding as well, in the form of 7 Killdeer manning the outfield, and a Horned Lark playing shortstop.

Upon arriving at Barnegat Light, we searched the back bay and came up with 30+ Long-tailed Ducks, 2 Common Loons, and some picture-perfect close-ups of Red-breasted Mergansers (I naturally forgot my camera today). Proceeding into the state park, we continued to find the three previously-mentioned species in the inlet around the lighthouse. It took a little searching, but we eventually came across and had fantastic looks at Harlequin Ducks and Purple Sandpipers. 6 Great Cormorants were sitting atop the inlet-marker.

Afterward, we made a trip to Cedar Run Dock Road in hope of more Short-eared Owls (yeah, we're greedy), but didn't come up with much. However, a perched Grey Ghost (aka male Northern Harrier) was a nice find. Most of our group departed at this point, minus a hardy two who joined us at Mott's Creek (just north of Brig) for some dusk owl-watching. Highlights here included 3-4 more Short-eared Owls, a fly-by Black-crowned Night-Heron, and a Lesser Yellowlegs.

Not too bad for a cold, damp, foggy, misty day... wouldn't you say?

Lists from Brig, Harvey Cedars and Barnegat Light included-

Location: E B Forsythe NWR--Autoloop
Observation date: 2/23/08
Number of species: 50
Snow Goose 1500

Brant 450
Canada Goose 35
Mute Swan 17
Gadwall 27
American Wigeon 46
American Black Duck 519
Mallard 63
Northern Shoveler 43
Northern Pintail 275
Green-winged Teal 139
Bufflehead 176
Hooded Merganser 23
Common Merganser 3
Red-breasted Merganser 13
Horned Grebe 6
Great Blue Heron 6
Northern Harrier 4
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Peregrine Falcon 3
Black-bellied Plover 1
Greater Yellowlegs 4
Dunlin 16
Ring-billed Gull 18
Herring Gull 37
Great Black-backed Gull 12
Mourning Dove 1
Short-eared Owl 4
Belted Kingfisher 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 1
Carolina Chickadee 5
Tufted Titmouse 2
Carolina Wren 4
Hermit Thrush 3
American Robin 35
European Starling 6
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 1
Savannah Sparrow 4
Song Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 9
Northern Cardinal 3
Red-winged Blackbird 38
Rusty Blackbird 1
Common Grackle 3
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 14

Location: Harvey Cedars Park
Observation date: 2/23/08
Number of species: 14
Brant 45

Mallard 2
Bufflehead 25
Common Goldeneye 9
Red-breasted Merganser 12
Killdeer 7
Ring-billed Gull 3
Herring Gull 35
Great Black-backed Gull 6
Rock Pigeon 6
Mourning Dove 2
Horned Lark 1
European Starling 1
Song Sparrow 1

Location: Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Observation date: 2/23/08
Number of species: 26
Brant 45

American Black Duck 12
Harlequin Duck 12
Surf Scoter 5
Long-tailed Duck 70
Red-breasted Merganser 45
Red-throated Loon 1
Common Loon 13
Horned Grebe 2
Northern Gannet 3
Great Cormorant 6
Peregrine Falcon 1
Black-bellied Plover 4
Ruddy Turnstone 1
Purple Sandpiper 12
Dunlin 20
Ring-billed Gull 3
Herring Gull 150
Great Black-backed Gull 45
Rock Pigeon 2
Mourning Dove 3
American Crow 2
Fish Crow 1
American Robin 12
European Starling 6
House Sparrow 6

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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