Monday, April 13, 2009

Belleplain Yellow-throateds, Pines, Palms, Cooper's hawks and Chorus Frogs

If you want to see Yellow-throated or Pine Warblers easily and well, just find either bird singing at Belleplain and try some gentle pishing. Doing just that yesterday while bicycling the forest I had five (!) Yellow-throated Warblers in view at once, at eye level, for a long time. Leaves are just starting to appear on some trees, so visibility is excellent.

For best results, try this off the beaten path where birder traffic is low, rather than at well known spots. Pine Warblers are anywhere there are a few pitch pine trees, while Yellow-throated Warblers prefer taller white pine plantings. Please DON'T pish at heavily birded sites, e.g. the triangle/Sunset Bridge area in Belleplain. Patience, not pishing, is all that is necessary at the bridge - we had great looks at two Yellow-throated Warblers feeding low along the stream there.

Four Palm Warblers, 20 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and displaying Cooper's Hawks were other highlights of a very windy bike ride in Belleplain. One of the Cooper's Hawks was over Lake Nummy, circling with slow, exagerated wingbeats and undertail coverts fanned, obviously a bird nesting nearby.

Be sure to pause a moment and enjoy the New Jersey Chorus Frogs trilling from the cattails near Belleplain Headquarters. Chorus Frogs sound like someone running a finger along a comb, while the Spring Peepers also vocalizing there give repeated short whistles.

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