Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eurasian Wigeon, Feb 20th

After balking at harsh conditions at Barnegat Inlet at dawn, I went down to Brigantine/Forsythe NWR as a second option.

Waterfowl numbers are building here and the essentially ice-free freshwater impoundment was loaded with birds like Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, a surprisingly large flock of Canvasback, and a few Gadwall and American Wigeon mixed in with some Tundra Swans. While scanning the Wigeons one male turned it's head and reflected the sun with a dramatic chestnut - a male Eurasian Wigeon. I found it even with binoculars but a scope confirmed the identity. The Snow Goose flock at Brig seems to be growing, although it's always hard to estimate numbers as they may be broken up into multiple flocks. However the re-appearance of Snow Geese at Jamaica Bay suggests that they are on a northbound drift with the warming weather. (Unlike Brant, which essentially leave the NYC area en masse and fly non-stop to breeding territories, Snow Geese stage at multiple locations).

Back at Barnegat Inlet in only slightly less hostile weather I came up with an 'Ipswich' Savannah Sparrow on the rocks.

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