Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Great Day at Sandy Hook

There's a Canvasback with those Scaup somewhere...

Yesterday I led a trip to Sandy Hook. We had an amazing day and my five participants got to see some very cool birds. The weather was as good as one can ask for on a winter day at the Hook - calm seas, a calm bay, and no wind - perfect conditions for a day of birding. I took a few pics with the new lens, but the results weren't too great. It was pretty overcast all day. Our highlights were many and included:

  • 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet, an uncommon find on a NJ winter day
  • 1 Orange-crowned Warbler seen by a trip member prior to the start of the trip on Plum Island
  • 1 Peregrine Falcon perched on a tree on a distant sandbar. It found some time to harass a group of gulls.
  • 2 Canvasback (drake and hen) hidden within a flock of about 300 Greater Scaup
  • 1 Redhead (drake) hidden within a different flock of 150 Greater Scaup
  • 1 Swamp Sparrow at Spermaceti Cove - an uncommon winter visitor
  • 4-5 Great Cormorant flying by at various times - excellent looks
  • 1 Field Sparrow - another uncommon winter bird
  • Townsend's Solitaire - awesome views of a vagrant bird that has been here for over 2 months
A terrible record shot of a Townsend's Solitaire
  • 1 Common Redpoll - spotted by one of the participants. This was a big surprise for the trip. It was a new state bird for me.
  • 4 Bohemian Waxwings - These have been hanging around the Hook for about a month. They're tough to find among the Cedar Waxwings and Starlings, but we got lucky twice and had scope views both times. Awesome!
  • 3 Horned Lark fly-overs
  • A big flock of Snow Buntings
  • An interesting sighting was a dorsal fin that rose from the water several times on the bay across from C lot. It was dark in color, hooked slightly, small and came up in an "arched-back" manner. We speculated that it may have been a Harbor Porpoise. If someone has a better clue, please let me know.

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