Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Grasslands Survey Part 2

Yesterday morning I conducted the second run of my NJ Grasslands Breeding Bird Survey route. Per the survey methodology, the second run required that I repeat the first run but in reverse order. This meant that I had to start at the southern-most point of my route and work my way back north towards home (all before work!). I started at 5:00 AM and reached my first point by 5:45.

My first stop yielded a singing Grasshopper Sparrow, which I did not find last time, so that was great. I also heard a very distant Meadowlark here, another bird that was not there last time. My next several stops yielded little more than some Red-winged Blackbirds and some Willow Flycatchers (not part of the count). By my third stop I noticed a much lower number of Red-winged Blackbirds and Field Sparrows. On my first run, I had counted many of these "scrub-shrub" nesting species, but they had either been migrants, wandering birds, or were just not around today for some reason. On my fourth stop (which was my best stop on my first run), I once again found two Meadowlarks, a Grasshopper Sparrow, and my only Bobolink of my route. This is my favorite spot because it's on the property of a satellite office of the company I work for. I'm proud that my company manages their landscaping for grasslands. My last several stops yielded very little. I found another "scrub-shrub" species -- Prairie Warbler -- at two locations. My final spot was a huge disappointment. It had been completely tilled over. The Robins and Cowbirds seemed to enjoy it, but it's a shame that it was tilled. Hopefully, it will be put to some good use... I finished my route in time to get to work by 9:00. My next survey will be a habitat analysis in August. This will determine how the habitat has changed since my initial habitat survey in May. That will be all for my 2006 Grasslands survey. I'll report back more then.

In other notes, I found a dead baby Robin in the yard of our condo the other day. It's gone now. I think the landscapers took care of it. Also, our small porch garden is doing well although it hasn't attracted any butterflies yet. My best hope is lantana since my salvia didn't appreciate the large amount of shade I had to give them.

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