Well, let's just say our planned Big Sit on the porch of the Sandy Hook Bird Observatory didn't turn out the way we planned. We only saw 25 species but we did have a few nice sightings.
Beth and I arrived at Sandy Hook around 8:00 AM as planned. Unfortunately, the wind was unbelievable. A strong, cold, 30+ MPH wind was blowing from the west and the porch at Sandy Hook faces the bay - due west. Birds were barely flying and the ones that did were thrown all over. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet blew past me and all I could hear was a faint "di-git" call. Our original planned location in the front yard of the building was moved to indoors which conveniently fit more or less within the 17' diameter circle. The front and side windows would serve as my view and I left some room to step out on the porch to scan the sky periodically.
We spent 8:00 - 3:00 looking for birds while greeting and chatting with the visitors to the observatory. The first "nice" bird for the day was an adult White-crowned Sparrow followed quickly by a fly-over Osprey. Unfortunately, the bay was pretty much devoid of activity except for the standard gulls and some DC Cormorants. Brant have just arrived on Sandy Hook but were concentrated further south and did not show for us. Fly-by Egrets and GB Herons were noticeably absent too.
The real highlight of the day for me was what I found in a pine tree through one of the side windows. I saw a warbler-like bird flitting in the tree, but couldn't get a great look. Finally, the bird popped out less than 10' away on a bare branch. The field marks pointed only to one species - Cape May Warbler! Nice! Unfortunately, it flew off before Beth got to see it. This has been a jinx bird for me.
Other highlights included a Merlin, a White-breasted Nuthatch (suprisingly uncommon on Sandy Hook), and a Brown Creeper. Next year we'll be able to follow my original plan and station ourselves at the hawk watch platform.