Sunday, 9 September 2012

New Jersey's New Birdies

White-eyed Vireo, pointed out by our lovely british guide, Mike Crewe, on the Higbee Beach morning bird walk. That bird thwarted me in Texas at the Santa Anna Wildlife Preserve, as Huck kept hearing it but I could not find it after much searching and encouragement. While at Higbee we met up with Ray, Edna's son, who is, himself, a very good and seasoned birder.

This time, once it was spotted, I was more than focused on getting that bird! And I did get a very good look at it for identification purposes, so 494 was in the books, or perhaps more accurately punched into my iBird App.

The rest of the day was good birding but no new birds either on our boat ride, at the Hawk Watch or the evening walk in the Meadows.

Today we are up at Brig, which is really called the Edwin ... National Wildlife Refuge. Rain and high winds have slowed things down and our first attempt at the Snow Goose resulted in no goose. Once the sun did come out we found, while searching for a Seaside Sparrow, two Saltmarsh Sparrows, one of which allowed us very good looks. Since then, lots of frenzied feeding gulls and many terms, skimmers and cormorants, but nothing new to report as we hunt for phalaropes and other waterfowl.

I have just applied my scapolamine patch to ward off seasickness on my overnight boat trip. The weather is kind of iffy and it may be called off which would be a major disappointment.

However, we did just get a Pectoral Sandpiper thanks to Ray's good spotting skills. I was able to have a good look at it through his scope, giving me at least two new birds for the day. And it's still early. Only 11:45am as I type.

Alas things have gone down hill since then. Bad weather is moving in and this uneventful trip has become a a good trip rather than a great trip. To use a word I never have used and had never planned on using:


There are still birds to be seen and though I will miss out on a few birds only available to be seen on this one boat ride, there are many others I still have a chance at on future pelagics.

How quickly things change. Like the weather today changing from sunny to gusty and rain to just plain hot and sunny before tonight's predicted storms, a return trip to Higbee Beach has perked up my day with the excitement of spotting a Connecticut Warbler with Sue and two other birders.

Thanks to Chris and Gerry from Bucks County, who had seen it this morning, it took less than 10 minutes to locate the secretive Connecticut Warbler bushes at Field 3 in Higbee. Both Sue and I got great looks and then waited another half hour to find it for a photo op. but it never showed again. Birding and luck go hand in hand, more often than not.

The evening was spent at the 2nd Avenue Jetty looking at a flock of Black Skimmers. They scattered to the winds shortly after our arrival and must
have known something we didn't, as the above mentioned storm soon arrived with a vengeance usually reserved for angry Norse Gods.

We could see it coming and maybe waited a minute too long before heading for the shelter of our car, as the wind was blowing beach sand into our hair, body and eyes. A bucket full of sand followed us into the car and due to the stickiness of our big spray marinated bodies the sand stuck to any exposed skin. I hate to think what happened to the poor wedding party who were at the beach when the storm blew through.

At least I understood why the boat trips were cancelled.

3 2 go 4 500

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