Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brigantine, May 16th

After two park days and getting home from NYC at 4pm I somehow mustered the energy to do a late afternoon sprint to Brigantine NWR to look for the reported Bar-tailed Godwit. The route, mainly via NJ-539, took about 90 minutes so that's not too bad - most of the (beach) traffic was going the other way.

At Brig I failed to find the Bar-tailed Godwit since it had left the scene mid-morning (this wasn't evident from the email lists) and did not return. Nevertheless it was a fun time, albeit a brief one, and one that could have been enhanced if I'd remembered to pack the bug spray. Best birds were Whimbrel (several), 4 seen Clapper Rails, hoards of shorebirds mostly in full alternate plumage, and some Brant flocks. Some of the earlier Brant flocks before sundown looked almost as if they were migrating since they were at higher altitude. The later Brant flocks were lower and seemed content to remain locally. A fly-by northbound Common Loon was unexpected. A variety of first-of-year birds included Seaside Sparrow, Clapper Rail, Short-billed Dowitcher, Whimbrel, Purple Martin. Observation time was relatively short (I got there at 6:15pm, sunset was at 7:40pm) so some birds were missed and the "uplands" were totally ignored so there were no passerines other than the saltmarsh ones.

An extra bonus was a flock of ~15 Common Nighthawks hunting lower over the freshwater marsh near the exit of the drive - this might be the first time I've seen them at Brig, but not unrelated to the fact that I don't usually stay after sunset.

Brant (several hundred)
American Black Duck
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Clapper Rail
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
American Oystercatcher
Greater Yellowlegs
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Gull-billed Tern
Forster's Tern
Common Nighthawk
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Common Yellowthroat
Seaside Sparrow (multiple singing males)

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