Friday, May 30, 2008

Birding By Ear North Highlights - Grouse and Warblers

Today's CMBO School of Birding Workshop, Birding by Ear North, found us in High Point State Park, Sussex County, NJ. "Us" means me, co-leader Mark Garland, and two dozen birders who came to NJ's late May paradise for bird song immersion punctuated by brief lectures on how to identify bird sounds, and how to remember them. The idea was to provide field experience with 75-100 species, lots of repetition, and tips on recognition. After day one we have encountered 72 species, the majority of which were heard well and repeatedly by all participants. This workshop will undoubtedly become annual - we had a waiting list this year and everyone seems to be thrilled with the rich breeding bird life. It's an excellent complement to our south Jersey Birding by Ear workshop.

An undisputed highlight was a repeatedly drumming Ruffed Grouse (at 5:00 a.m., enjoyed by the 14 participants that braved our 4:00 a.m. optional meeting time), a sound that's become quite rare in NJ. We heard piles of quality northern breeders like Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, and Canada Warblers, and Northern Waterthrush, not to mention loads of veeries, three vireos (Red-eyed, Yellow-throated and Blue-headed) and both cuckoos. We had great looks at many birds, too, including Cerulean Warbler and Yellow-billed Cuckoo. In the afternoon, we found a Hairy Woodpecker pair feeding young and watched the food-bringing for quite a while, a delightful finish to the day (and something that would have been a pearl of great price for the World Series of Birding!) We made no effort to track down every possible species of bird up here, so our list is not exaustive, but sure is extensive:

Location: High Point State Park
Observation date: 5/30/08
Notes: CMBO Birding by Ear North Day 1. With Mark Garland. Highlights: grouse drumming, Hairy Woodpecker feeding young. Nearly all birds on list were heard by all participants.
Number of species: 72
Canada Goose X
Mallard X
Ruffed Grouse X
Wild Turkey X
Great Blue Heron X
Turkey Vulture X
Sharp-shinned Hawk X
Red-tailed Hawk X
Mourning Dove X
Yellow-billed Cuckoo X
Black-billed Cuckoo X
Chimney Swift X
Ruby-throated Hummingbird X
Red-bellied Woodpecker X
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker X
Hairy Woodpecker X
Northern Flicker X
Pileated Woodpecker X
Eastern Wood-Pewee X
Acadian Flycatcher X
Least Flycatcher X
Eastern Phoebe X
Great Crested Flycatcher X
Yellow-throated Vireo X
Blue-headed Vireo X
Red-eyed Vireo X
Blue Jay X
American Crow X
Common Raven X
Tree Swallow X
Black-capped Chickadee X
Tufted Titmouse X
White-breasted Nuthatch X
Brown Creeper X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher X
Eastern Bluebird X
Veery X
Wood Thrush X
American Robin X
Gray Catbird X
Cedar Waxwing X
Nashville Warbler X
Yellow Warbler X
Chestnut-sided Warbler X
Black-throated Blue Warbler X
Blackburnian Warbler X
Pine Warbler X
Prairie Warbler X
Blackpoll Warbler X
Cerulean Warbler X
Black-and-white Warbler X
American Redstart X
Ovenbird X
Northern Waterthrush X
Common Yellowthroat X
Wilson's Warbler X
Canada Warbler X
Scarlet Tanager X
Eastern Towhee X
Chipping Sparrow X
Field Sparrow X
Song Sparrow X
Swamp Sparrow X
Northern Cardinal X
Rose-breasted Grosbeak X
Indigo Bunting X
Red-winged Blackbird X
Brown-headed Cowbird X
Baltimore Oriole X
Purple Finch X
House Finch X
American Goldfinch X

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