Monday, April 6, 2009

Belleplain by Bicycle: Early Warblers, Butterflies

[THE early spring Belleplain bird: Louisiana Waterthrush, photo by MichaelO'Brien taken (where else) at Sunset Bridge. This bird was seen by ca. 20 birders, while we were there! Between CMBO field trips, general birder traffic, and the coming World Series of Birding, this could be the most often viewed Louisiana Waterthrush in the world.]

[Henry's Elfin, a good butterfly, on Sunset Road near the bridge. Photo by Michael O'Brien.]

Friends and I enjoyed a bike ride in Belleplain on Sunday. For ebird purposes, we tried to carefully count a number of species - Michael O'Brien clicked 45 Pine Warblers, for example, while I counted 12 Yellow-throated Warblers and 27 Red-bellied Woodpeckers on a slow ride that lasted from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Other notables included 13 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and 10 Eastern Phoebes (some of these were migrants, others breeders.) It was a bit windy, and that suppressed song somewhat, and we didn't find any "new" arrivers, such as Black-and-white Warbler (which I understand was seen several places in NJ today), but what a wonderful place and time to be there. Bicycle is the perfect mode of transport at Belleplain. You can pick up a map of the forest at the headquarters off Route 550 west of Woodbine.

Location: Belleplain State Forest
Observation date: 4/5/09
Number of species: 43
Canada Goose 3
Wild Turkey 3
Black Vulture 3
Turkey Vulture 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Laughing Gull 5
Herring Gull 15
Mourning Dove 6
Red-bellied Woodpecker 27
Downy Woodpecker 5
Hairy Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 4
Eastern Phoebe 10
Blue Jay 6
Fish Crow 10
Carolina Chickadee 45
Tufted Titmouse 100
Red-breasted Nuthatch 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 4
Brown Creeper 4
Golden-crowned Kinglet 30
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 13
Eastern Bluebird 2
Hermit Thrush 4
American Robin 100
Northern Mockingbird 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 3
Yellow-throated Warbler 12
Pine Warbler 45
Louisiana Waterthrush 1
Chipping Sparrow 30
Song Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 10
Northern Cardinal 6
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Eastern Meadowlark 1
Common Grackle 10
Brown-headed Cowbird 40
Pine Siskin 2
American Goldfinch 2

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