Monday, February 16, 2009

NJ Coast

Starting not as early as I should have done, I braved moderately brisk conditions to wander down the breakwater at Barnegat Inlet. While Harlequin Ducks were present, shorebirds were notable by their absence - no Turnstones or Purple Sandpipers and a grand total of one Black-bellied Plover, two Sanderlings and a Dunlin. In the inlet itself, a Red-necked Grebe continued there after several days, one male Black Scoter, an immature male Surf Scoter and the usual suspects with several Long-tailed Ducks, both loons, and a few Red-breasted Mergansers. Over the other side of the inlet a small group of Common Eider were seen at a distance, and there were Great Cormorant on the end of the far jetty. Luckily I bumped into my friend Brian at the end of the jetty, so we hung out for a while before retreating to the parking lot.

After Barnegat I went south to Brigantine NWR which held all the usual suspects: Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, American Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Tundra Swan, Brant and Snow Geese, Northern Harrier. A nice find was a small flock of American Pipits.

North again from Brigantine I followed Brian's advice and stopped at Wells Mills County Park to view the feeders at the Nature Center, where the Pine Siskins were very tame but not very photographable.

Then I did a north coast pond tour, starting in Point Pleasant which didn't have much on the ponds there. Lake Como, Silver Lake (no Eurasian Wigeon) and Sylvan Lake were a little better, and I finally wound up at Lake Takanassee where the Common (Eurasian) Teal wasn't particularly hard to find, but so far not considered a separate species in the USA. And then I went back down to Silver Lake (Belmar) for one last look for the Eurasian Wigeon. Overall there was a decent collection of ducks: Snow Goose, Hooded and Red-breasted Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Canvasback, Black Duck, American Wigeon, Gadwall etc as well as Black-crowned Night-Heron and Great Blue Heron.

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