Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Superb Owls

Im going for the Seattle Seahawks because they have a red-tailed hawk as their mascot and sometimes fly him at home games. Technically I would have thought an osprey was closer to their logo and the fact that they hunt at you know, sea but Ive never seen a tame osprey. So they went with redtailed hawk, so in honor of all the hawks, I went to check out some crazy raptor action in NY and the Meadowlands. Kicking it off in Central Park was this off-season Baltimore Oriole, #75. Followed by a winter safety, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, #76. I made a Hail Mary for the LEO just before half-time, but was over ruled by the referee. Heading out to Jersey, there were two peregrines (41) and two adult bald eagles at the rest stop along I95. The peregrines were flanking the road and the eagles were in a tall tree out in the wetlands. Im guessing these are the same birds that nest along route 46. They seemed to be at a detente, sort of letting each other know that the other was nesting nearby. Regardless, it was quite the half-time show. However, I didnt start the second half so great. The windy, poor conditions are not easy to navigate and WAZE seemed to think my car could float. Anyway, after some careful play-calling I was within field-goal range. To my amazement there were 2 Northern Harriers (74) and two Short-eared Owls #77, scrumming it up along the ridge! Short-ears are also a lifer for me. I watched their graceful routes as they moved from various perches. It was clear they had two different offensive styles. The harriers layup and then go in feet first. The SEO's like to wind around and then go into the endzone head-first! They are very beautiful in flight but the frigid temps made long looks impossible. Heading out, I checked the bleachers and found this guy lurking in the lower decks. Not my best Cooper's pic, but its a full adult with red eye so Im counting him as #78. Sadly I didnt get any love on the rough-legged hawks, but after following an agitated red-tailed hawk in a nearby field and I found this beauty high atop the stadium lights! My first Snowy of 2014 and #79. As an extra point Im counting black-capped chickadee at #80 cuz I already have carolina chickadee from Cape May. All the birds were great sports and the best thing about it...no commercials!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Brown Birds

Made it out to Forsythe NWR for some decent car birding in the brutal cold. Got some great looks at a wide variety of birds on the trails but most of the bays and ponds were frozen over. I was able to pick up some nice sparrows and ground birds for my Big Year List. #69, Fox Sparrow #70 Hermit Thrush #71, Brown Thrasher #72, Savannah Sparrow #73, Eastern Meadowlark #74, Hen Harrier Also got a great look at this cinnamon-colored juvy peregrine (#41).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Below Zero

The cold is keeping many of the birds quiet as the bays and lakes freeze. Still I was able to add a bunch more birds to my list. #64 Buffleheads #65 Wood Ducks #66 Common Goldeneye #67 Bluebird #68 Field Sparrow Also saw a snow bird but Im not going to count it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Steady Hustle

Sometimes the birds come to you and sometimes you gotta go to the birds. I made it out to Cape May this weekend for some hard to find birds and although it was fairly slow I added a number of great additions. #61 Cedar Waxwings Waterbirds were scarce b/c the water just unfroze but there were plenty of Swans, including these Mute, #13 and this beautiful Tundra Swan #62 and a lifer! I also added quite a few passarines but will wait till I get some better shots to post them. Finally while I didnt get an owl, I did get 9 Merlin #63, hunting along the road along Sunset Drive! Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, with your little baby Jesus hands, please send me some birdys! Amen.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Quick Correction and New Additions

I made a numbering error in the last post and should be at 56. Number 57 was a Glaucous Gull at Island Beach SP along with number 58, White-winged Surf Scoter. Also present were some Greater Scaup, #59. and #60 Snow Buntings. Ill be out foxing around this weekend for some more!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Beautiful Barnegat

Looking to fill out my waterbird list I took a day trip to Barnegat Lighthouse on a brisk but clear day. A few hardcore birders were out there and we were all treated to great and prolonged looks at all the action as rafts of ducks hunted along the jetty on the outgoing tide. 31) Harlequin Duck 32) Red-breasted Merganser 33) Common Loon 34) Long-tailed Duck 35) Red-throated Loon 36) Northern Gannet 37,38,39) Surf, Black Scoter and Common Eider 40) Northern Pintail 41) Peregrine Falcon Also seen: 42) Dark Eyed Junco 43) White-throated Sparrow 44)Ruddy Turnstone 45) Purple Sandpiper 46) Dunlin 47) Semi-palmated Sandpiper 48) Herring Gull 49) Snow Goose 50) Atlantic Brandt 51) Double Crested Cormorant 52) European Starling 52) House finch 53) HOSP 54) Grackle 55) Rusty Blackbird

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2014: Big Year

Thanks for all your support in 2013--hopefully 2014 will be something special! 1) Red-shouldered hawk 2) American Wigeon 3) Northern Mockingbird 4) American Robin 5) Turkey Vulture 6) Red-tailed Hawk 7) Black Vulture 8) Chickadee 9) Titmouse 10)Downy Woodpecker 11)Redbellied Woodpecker 12)Yellow rumped Warbler 13)Song Sparrow 14)Tree Swallow 15)Mute Swan 16)Mallard 17)Black Duck 18)Gadwall 19)Lesser Scaup 20)Hooded Merganser 21)American Coot 22)Great Blue Heron 23)Ring Billed Gull 24)Black backed Gull 25)Common Tern 26)Canada Goose 27)Cardinal 28)Carolina Wren 29)House Wren 30)Green winged Teal