Friday, April 11, 2014
Still plugging away on the Big Year list and with that I have some reflections now that Im 1/4 of the way through the year. My goal when beginning this project was not to see as many birds as I could, but rather to deepen my experience of birding. There are many vagrants popping up all over New Jersey now but I dont think burning a tank of gas chasing each of them is really what I want this experience to be about. That being said, here are a few more additions as we head into Spring 2014. Starting off with the remaining cold waterbirds such as the Red-necked Grebe #116 and Common Mergansers #117. Many nesting shorebirds are starting to return such as this American Oystercatcher #118. I've also had a Pine Warbler #119, Palm Warbler #120, American Woodcock #121, Eurasian Tree Sparrow #122, Virgina Rail #123, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher #124 and Chipping Sparrow #125. And last but never least, the powerful Osprey #126!
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
This is the last nesting season before the Cathedral develops the St. Luke's doctor parking lot. Seeing how the birds reacted to the roof renovations in 2008, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the last year for hawks at the Cathedral. In preparation of that, I caught them copulating in a tree near the nest exactly one year from this scene. And the same scene from 2009 and again in 2007...talk about reliable. Exactly what it is that contributes to this pattern, I dont think I will ever know, but in honor of the essence we call Love, here are the St. John the Divine hawks in all their glory. Good luck to all the 2014 nesters!
Monday, March 17, 2014
The Everglades along I78 were the best places to bird by far. Plenty of gators, fish, water and reeds makes great habitat for tons of waterbirds including #94, White-faced Ibis, #95, Pie-billed Grebe, #96, Roseate Spoonbill #97, White Pelican and #98, Brown Pelican. Also seen were #99, Purple Gallinue #100, Wood Stork. #101, Great Egret #102, Ahinga #103, Boat-tailed Grackle #104, Limpkin #105, Cattle Egret Also adding #105 Little Blue Heron, #106 Tricolored Heron, #107 Magnificent Frigate, #108 Painted Bunting, #109 Lesser Black-backed Gull, #110 Willet, #111 Sandwich Tern and #112 Royal Terns. Also got collared dove and common ground dove #113 and #114. Last but not least is Blue Winged Teal #115, seen at the southern most point of Key West.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Continuing on the Big Year theme, I start with a correction from the last post...consensus is that #86 is a juvenile RSH. Guess I'll have to wait till fall to add that one. But there have been quite a few editions to my list, some in Jersey and a large chunk after a quick trip to Florida. All in all I have to say that Florida is a bird paradise although it is down from its former status as harboring millions upon millions of birds. Still everywhere I went were awesome birds getting down despite all-encompassing way in which we have impacted their environment. Best sighting was a Burrowing Owl (#87) pair nesting at Vista View Park...such beautiful and fascinating birds. Most surprise sighting was a swallow-tailed kite (#88) hunting tree swallows (#89). In numerous quantities were RSH and the tiny sub-species of falco sparverius (#90)! Much to my surprise I also found quite a few barn owls (#91). Then are the transplants gone native, including the Blue-crowned Parrot (#92), and the Muscovy Duck (#93).