Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Walk Reminders & A Treat Further Afield

****Just a couple of reminders about recent walk changes; today's Nummy's Island walk will take place at Stone Harbor Point again, but we expect the free bridge to be open for next week's walk. We suggest approaching Nummy's Island from the Stone Harbor end as per our usual information, that way you'll know for sure next week and won't get caught on the wrong side!
Note that Villas WMA is now open to the public again, but our leaders (and their regular walk particpants!) have elected to keep the Sunday walk at Higbee's Beach through May 8th.****

Latest news I have from the point is of a Cattle Egret found (by Chris Vogel) on the field east of Bayshore Road, just south of the junction with New England Road. This field is part of Higbee's Beach WMA and has just been cut by NJ Wildlife staff, so probably has plenty of insects to offer a passing egret. A Yellow-throated Warbler was at the state park this morning and Tom Parsons tells me he saw one at the Northwood Center on Tuesday. This is a scarce bird south of the canal but may be on the increase, so keep an eye out for them.

Karen Johnson certainly sent me what looks set to be picture of the week - a brood of four American Woodcock chicks, photographed by Brian Johnson in Cumberland County. Take care where you put your feet out there!

Karen Johnson tells me that Black-and-white Warblers continue to increase at the top end of the county and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are already nest-building. Having all these warblers now coming through reminds me just how important knowing the calls and songs of spring migrants really is. Have you ever stopped to think about how many birds you make a mental note of after hearing them, but you don't ever catch a glimpse? Or how many more birds you may detect if you did know the calls, but currently don't? We have a couple of birding programs coming up next month which fit the bill perfectly - you could try either our Birding By Ear workshop with the incomparable Michael O'Brien, or the awesome Spring Migration Peak Week workshop with the equally-talented Lousie Zemaitis (actually I think I've got to find a way to sneak in on both of those!).

Saving the technicolor, rainbow news until last, word on the grapevine filtered through of an adult male Painted Bunting visiting a feeder in Absecon, Atlantic County. I was sent this information:

A male Painted Bunting is currently visiting a feeder in Absecon for about a week now. The home owners, Don and Annie, have granted permission for birders to view the bird.

The address is 7 Juliana Drive, Absecon, NJ 08201
Birders are welcome to walk along the right side of the house and view the feeder that's in the back yard. The neighbors are really nice which is a plus. This bunting has quite the host! The bird comes regularly, at least once an hour. Be careful not walk on the darker area where new grass seed has been planted (along the left side of house as you face it).
***As ever with birds in residential areas, we request all potential visitors to follow the birdwatchers code at all times and respect the privacy and wishes of local people. In such situations, we are seen as representatives of the birdwatching community as a whole.***
Adult male Painted Bunting at Absecon [photo by Karl Lukens]

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