Saturday, July 31, 2010

Six Mile Run, July 31st

To finish off a month after a couple of weeks idle due to surgery I visited Six Mile Run to see how the postbreeding situation was. I found that they'd mowed a portion of the main field to the north of the grassland path - this might be for habitat regeneration. Best bird was a juvenile Blue Grosbeak, flocking with Field Sparrows (juveniles here too) and a couple of very worn adult Song Sparrows. A few male Indigo Buntings were hanging around, and two were singing. I thought I heard a brief snippet of Grasshopper Sparrow song but didn't see any so I might have been mistaken. The habitat was still in flower, particularly with some thistle species, and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies were relatively numerous. Orchard Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Bluebird, House Wren and American Goldfinch were also around.

Contrast this with Griggstown which had no flowering plants within hundreds of yards of the parking lot, no butterflies, and virtually no birds. Franklin Township have really f*cked up the habitat maintenance at Griggstown and actually managed to degrade it substantially.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fall migration begins (July 3rd)

Two successive weekend visits to Brigantine NWR turned up mostly the same species both times with minor variations and one embellishment: two small flocks of shorebirds on July 3rd. Forster's Terns were numerous, as were greenheads. On 6/28 two Common Terns were seen at the south-eastern sluice where I often observe them, with one Common Tern particularly cooperative for photos and video. Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows were also there, as were two or three pairs of territorial Willets apparently fighting over one small grassy island.

On 7/3 the Common Terns were absent at low tide. Further around there were Short-billed Dowitchers, peep sp (probably Least), a Caspian Tern and a Bald Eagle that flushed the lot of them. The shorebird flocks were the first evidence that fall migration - at least for shorebirds - was starting, although I had started to see small icterid flocks accumulating for their early fall migration and Bobolinks were reported at Cape May on 7/8, presumably also southbound.

Birds are still breeding, however, with juvenile-sounding noises coming from Chipping Sparrow and Northern Cardinal nests in my yard, and a House Wren apparently nesting there (second brood ?).

Cumulative species list from 6/28 and 7/3 Brigantine visits:
American Black Duck
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Bald Eagle
Peregrine Falcon
American Oystercatcher
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Marsh Wren
Common Yellowthroat
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch