Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 14th and 15th

Spring migration was in evidence courtesy of probably my least favorite bird - the Brown-headed Cowbird. On Saturday I had three fly over me at Barnegat Inlet, two males singing at Wells Mills County Park; on Sunday there were both males and females in the blackbird flock at Plainsboro Preserve.

At Barnegat on Saturday the best birds were two Red-necked Grebes and two Great Cormorants, with a mixed Surf and Black Scoter flock in the inlet and the usual suspects including large numbers of Long-tailed Ducks and my first Ruddy Turnstones of the year. I also did my best to trash my left knee while rock-hopping along the jetty with the camera gear. In the bay, viewed from local streets in Surf City, there were additionally American Oystercatcher (newly arrived in numbers throughout the region), three White-winged Scoter, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye and Horned Grebe.

At Wells Mills County Park the feeder birds were present including a still healthy number of Pine Siskins.

And then because a little sun was peeking through the clouds I went to Wreck Pond in Spring Lake (nothing of interest), Lake Como (Redhead, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup), and Silver Lake in Belmar (Eurasian Wigeon, American Wigeon, Am. Black Duck, Ruddy Duck and a lot of Brant).

On Sunday, nursing the damaged knee, I limited myself to three local spots: Plainsboro Preserve (American Tree Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Brown-headed Cowbird, but no Tree Swallows), Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve (quiet, Eastern Bluebird), Negri-Nepote Grasslands (Northern Pintail, Song Sparrow).

Update 3/21: making much the same trip the following weekend I finally saw a few Purple Sandpipers at Barnegat, the "paired" Red-necked Grebes were still there, but there were no other surprises. Nine White-winged Crossbills were at Brigantine NWR along with the first Osprey of the season for me and a Northern Bobwhite in the grassland area - apparently a rare bird at Brigantine with only a few calling males left. The bird I saw was probably a female.

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