Today I observed my 200th life list species! The best part is that it was a species I definitely did not expect.
As of yesterday (6/30/18) I was at 198 species. Earlier this week, a co-worker at Rancocas Nature Center was telling me about a wading bird rookery (I’m not going to disclose the location). She started naming the different species nesting at this location.
She had me at Yellow-crowned Night-Heron.
Dave and I have never seen Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, but have always wanted to. So of course we needed to go to this rookery asap.
We made our way down to the rookery early this morning. It was really a cool place. From the platform, you can look down into the nests, but you are also eye level with many of the birds. There were 5 nesting species: Little Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, Black-crowned Night-Herons, and Glossy Ibis.
What an amazing experience. We had a chance to see these wading bird’s young in different stages of development. Some were recently fledged (like some of the Glossy Ibis), some were still in the nest, and we even saw some eggs. It was really fascinating watching chicks get fed and parents switching off of nest duty. The longer we stood, more Glossy Ibis arrived.
So Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was #199. We still had one more stop for the day: Forsythe NWR (it was 94 degrees today, so we were definitely birding from the car!). I read the night before on NJ Rare Bird Alert that there was a Roseate Spoonbill being reported, so I was hoping it would still be around.
Once we entered Forsythe’s wildlife drive we quickly approached Wading Bird Paradise. There were over 100 birds: Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Little Blue Heron juveniles and Glossy Ibis; as well as terns and Laughing Gulls.
Dave spotted it in the distance, slightly away from the commotion. The Roseate Spoonbill!
It was so beautiful to see. I was in awe watching it preen and bask in the sun. The Roseate Spoonbill is special because as I wrote in my recent Spoonbill feature, these birds live in Florida, along the Gulf Coast of the southern United States, in Mexico, and the Caribbean. As far as I know, this Spoonbill being currently observed at Forsythe is only the 5th or 6th sighing of a Roseate Spoonbill in New Jersey. I couldn’t believe that the Roseate Spoonbill was my 200th species!
I actually ended up getting 1 more life list bird today, bringing my current total to 201 species: a Saltmarsh Sparrow (sorry, no pic!). And I also got a picture of a really cute Eastern Box Turtle before we left 🙂 .
I’m so happy that I finally am in the 200s. Today will certainly be a birding day that I will not soon forget :-).