Saturday, April 9, 2011

Migrant yard birds Saturday 4/9

After a week away working at Brookhaven National Lab, I returned home to see that spring had progressed in my absence. On Saturday morning I was watching feeder birds and thought that the House Finches looked odd. On retrieving my binoculars the birds were still there and proved to be two male Purple Finches - a first for the feeders, and for my year list, although they've flown over the yard before. The finches stuck around throughout the morning. Another first-of-year was Chipping Sparrow, which had clearly had a major influx during the week from other NY/NJ reports. Dark-eyed Junco numbers seemed to be down, so possibly some have moved on.

Two FOY's before even leaving the house. Although I was still lethargic from the Brookhaven trip I did head out to a local birding spot. Plainsboro Preserve is an old gravel pit with surrounding woodland and farmland. The visitor center had held a good collection of US birding travel books but their selection was poor this time - they've clearly stopped stocking them. At the feeders were a predictable mix of molding American Goldfinch, Brown-headed Cowbird and Red-winged Blackbird. Tree Swallows have also moved in en masse this past week and several were staking out nest boxes. I also found Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush (FOY) and Eastern Phoebe but the preserve was relatively quiet, as is typical here. The lake can sometimes pick up Common Loon but all there was were a few Canada Geese and two Mallards.

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