Sunday, January 23, 2011

North Shore Crossbills

Even though I eschewed a pelagic trip in 10-20 degree weather I did manage to motivate myself to get out in relatively sunny but frigid conditions to go find the crossbills reported in Seven President's Park in Long Branch. Easy enough task, since birders had already found them. There were three White-winged Crossbills and two Red Crossbills but they were grouped by species at opposite ends of the park. Both spent some time on the ground either eating snow or foraging amongst the fallen pine cones (just the White-winged) in addition to spending time in the pines that in the park. I haven't seen either in NJ that frequently, so this was a nice way to get myself frozen of a morning (it was breezy in the 20's).

While thawing from that experience I went down to the Manasquan River inlet on the Point Pleasant side - I'd been told that Shark River inlet was very quiet, and a very brief stop at the Roosevelt Ave sea overlook in Deal yielded only a few loons, Great Cormorant and Bufflehead. Point Pleasant was similarly quiet - Common and a few probable Red-throated Loons, a Horned Grebe, a mixed flock of Dunlin and Purple Sandpipers and a single male White-winged Scoter. Since Scoters are gregarious in NJ in winter I wondered if this was a sick/injured bird. Either way there was so little visible on the water within identifiable range that I got out of there before I started to even get really cold.

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