Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sun. 2/24: View from the Hook: Townsend's Solitaire and more

View from the North Beach Observation Deck at Sandy Hook- looking north across Raritan Bay toward New York City. [Photo by Steve Mason]

Steve Mason joined me on a trip up to Sandy Hook today. The Hook is roughly 2.5 hours from the Cape May area, but is rather easy to get to. It's a straight shot up the Garden State Parkway to Exit 105, followed by a short drive east to the coast on Route 36, and then up Ocean Boulevard/Rte 36 North straight into Sandy Hook. NJ Audubon's Sandy Hook Bird Observatory is located here and is manned by a wonderful group of staff and volunteers, headed up by Pete Bacinski and Scott Barnes. You can stop in and say hello, pick up a birding map, and check the sightings sheet at their center on the north end of the hook.

Our mission today had two objectives: to see the long-staying Townsend's Solitaire, as well as the Bohemian Waxwings that have been present for the past month. We went one-for-two, with success coming by way of the Solitaire making an appearance around 2:00pm at the end of Randolph Road (assist goes to my good friend and talented North Jersey birder, Rob Fanning). We poured over flock after flock of Cedar Waxwings all day, which provided excellent looks...but try as we might, we could find none that were of the Bohemian variety.

Other highlights at the Hook included a HUGE raft of at least 10,000 scaup (mainly Greater to my eye) across from the visitor center/Parking Lot D, numerous Long-tailed Ducks and Red-throated Loons offshore, 75 Tree Swallows, 45 Snow Buntings and a Horned Lark at North Beach, and a fair mix of other more-expected winter passerines throughout. We also came across 3 Black-capped Chickadees, a species that reaches the southern limit of its range at Sandy Hook, and a species that has no fully documented records in Cape May County!

Steve's pictures of the Solitaire and a full list from Sandy Hook are included. You can view all of Steve's Sandy Hook pictures by clicking on the title of this blog posting.

[Photos by Steve Mason]

Location: Sandy Hook
Observation date: 2/24/08
Number of species: 51
Brant 4
Canada Goose 12
American Black Duck 9
Mallard 6
Greater Scaup 10000
Surf Scoter 4
Long-tailed Duck 80
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Red-throated Loon 25
Common Loon 3
Horned Grebe 2
Northern Gannet 6
Great Cormorant 4
Great Blue Heron 1
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
American Kestrel 1
Sanderling 1
Bonaparte's Gull 2
Ring-billed Gull 45
Herring Gull 350
Great Black-backed Gull 75
Rock Pigeon 3
Mourning Dove 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 6
Horned Lark 1
Tree Swallow 75
Black-capped Chickadee 3
Carolina Wren 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Townsend's Solitaire 1
American Robin 275
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 500
Cedar Waxwing 175
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 15
Song Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 20
Dark-eyed Junco 9
Snow Bunting 45
Northern Cardinal 6
Red-winged Blackbird 9
Rusty Blackbird 1
Common Grackle 3
House Finch 5
American Goldfinch 1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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