Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Finderne Wetlands, NJ

My first time at Finderne Wetlands in Bridgewater NJ on a cool and sunny morning corresponded to a decent movement of sparrows, but the best birds of the day were two Merlins which were chasing each other and an American Kestrel over the fields.  This might have been one reason why I couldn't locate the Vesper Sparrows reported the previous day, but they're just as likely to have moved on.  The Merlins were a particularly pleasant surprise since I'd seen only one other this year (in AZ).  Belted Kingfisher, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Green-winged Teal and Gadwall were in the ponds and a lot more concerned about me than the Merlins.

Otherwise, the main occupants of the weedy fields were an abundance of Savannah Sparrows.  Song Sparrows came in a distant second, but I did find a handful of the more elusive species (Field and Swamp), while missing White-crowned Sparrow that I might have expected here.

With the wind rapidly rising, I didn't find much at the nearby Duke Farms except a Palm Warbler, as everything started to keep its head down.

Before Finderne I'd stopped at Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve and found my preferred area around the parking lot devoid of any sort of sparrows - it had been a hotspot for them in previous years and often in pretty good light in the early morning.  Recent mowing activity probably had much to do with that.  Suspicion was that there were sparrows and Palm Warblers to be had elsewhere at Griggstown, but it takes longer for the sun to reach those other areas and I went to Finderne instead.

Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin (2)
Belted Kingfisher
Carolina Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Palm Warbler
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch

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