Hi everyone! Exciting news: Dave and I finally purchased our first DSLR camera. We picked it up Friday night and naturally we were super excited to use it, so we went birding 3 times last weekend. We are still learning all about the cool features, but we had fun testing it.
Saturday night we went to Boundary Creek. It was a peaceful night and we saw many of the residents. I was happy to run into one of my favorite residents, the Northern Mockingbird. These little guys are in the mimic family (other in this family include Gray Catbirds and Brown Thrashers). Mockingbirds are masters at imitating other birds in the area and surrounding sounds. Their songs are a jumble of many different bird calls and sometimes the real species may respond. I usually see this guy on top of the trees near the parking lot singing, but today he was spending time in the grass.
We also saw a lovely White-throated Sparrow. There are 2 plumage variations: tan-striped and white. We get the white variation in my area. I love the male’s yellow patch above the eye. Honestly, I’m surprised I’m still seeing White-throated Sparrows right now. They are a winter bird in my area, but still see them on a daily basis. I wonder how much longer they will stick around. I’m just as happy seeing them now as I was when the arrived in the fall.
We spotted the Wood Duck pair out in the creek. As usual, they were really far away so even with our new lens we managed a mediocre picture. But at least we finally have one picture of them in the creek.
On Sunday Dave and I went birding at the shore. I wanted to go to Manasquan Inlet and we found a nice park called Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area in Manasquan. There were a few trails that lead you along the small beach/dunes and a meadow. The first thing we spotted were Brants: over 120 of them all floating around the inlet.
Some of the birds we saw included: Red-winged Blackbirds, Northern Cardinals, Ring-billed Gulls, a Common Loon, and numerous Song Sparrows. Across the inlet on another beach were 4 American Oystercatchers. We also watched a Red-tailed Hawk get mobbed by crows. At our car a large flock of Double-crested Cormorants flew by in a V-shape. There were at least 60 of them! (of course the camera was already away so I have no proof!) I have never experienced something quite like that. It was a pretty park that I would definitely visit again.
You have to cross a small bridge when entering this particular section of Manasquan and we got stuck waiting for it to let boats pass through going and coming from the park. However, we got a little treat while waiting the second time around. Two medium-small shore birds quickly flew into the water and waded around. I am still not 100% on our id, but I believe we saw a Greater Yellowlegs. Our other guess was Willet, and we spent a lot of time comparing pictures. So I’m sticking with Yellowlegs for the moment, but either way, at least we had something enjoyable to see while sitting in traffic.
The last stop of our shore adventure was Manasquan Reservoir. I visited there last weekend with Casey, so I was excited to bring Dave to check it out. We saw many American Coots, Double-crested Cormorants, Canada Geese, Ruddy Ducks, Tree Swallows, White-throated Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, a Great Blue Heron, and even one of the resident Bald Eagles to name a few.
New Jersey has been getting a lot of rain this week, so I haven’t been out much on the weekdays. However, I’ve been hearing that many migrants have been flooding in, including a lot of warblers. So I’m hoping to see some warblers on my trips this weekend. In the meantime, check back for more cool posts!