Monday, January 05, 2009

Full Long Branch CBC Details

I am blessed to have taken over a count that pretty much runs itself. Our 9 parties are led by some of the absolute best birders in New Jersey.

Our area started out well with some big #'s of land birds. My group was 3 folks - my buddy Mike and a woman from nearby Freehold who apparantly has had a Rufous Hummingbird in her yard since September! The highlight of the morning was an adult Red-shouldered Hawk that flew eye-level about 15 feet in front of us. It would be the only one for the count. Unfortunately, the water in our area was mostly frozen except for two small patches. Fortunately, those patches did hold birds: Northern Shovelers, Coots, Ruddy Ducks, Hooded Mergs, Gadwall, Black Ducks, Mallards, and of course, Canada Geese. We tried our darndest to find a Cackling Goose, but no luck. The afternoon saw a whole lot of walking with not a whole lot of birds. We only found a few new species and small #'s of everything else. The highlight of the afternoon was a single Brown Creeper that was the only one seen on the count.
Our pizza party round-up was terrific. After downing some delicious pizza, we did our checklist. Our total came to 124 species - two species higher than last year. Highlights were:
  • Over 56,000 birds - highest totals being Canada Geese, Brant, Starlings, and Herring Gulls
  • 3 Boat-tailed Grackles - a first for this count
  • A Greater White-fronted Goose AND two Cackling Geese
  • A high count of Northern Gannets - over 1650! The previous high was 800.
  • Other rare waterfowl: Common Eider, Eurasian Wigeon, and Red-necked Grebe
  • Glaucous, Iceland, and Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Long-eared Owl
  • 9 Bald Eagles - a record high for the count
  • An Orange-crowned Warbler - only the 11th sighting in 74 years of the count
  • 12 species of sparrow including Vesper, Savannah, White-crowned, Fox, American Tree, and Chipping
In my opinion, the one big miss was Common Goldeneye - a bird that's been seen on 66 of the previous 73 counts.

Special thanks to the Wreck Pond Watershed Association for their donation of the facility.
Full species list:

Grtr White-frnt Goose
Snow Goose
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
Eurasian Wigeon
Am Wigeon
Am Black Duck
North. Shoveler
North. Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Com. Eider
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Hooded Merganser
C. Merganser
Red-breast. Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Northern Gannet
Dbl-crest Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Blck-crown. Night-H.
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Am. Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Clapper Rail
Virginia Rail
Am. Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Purple Sandpiper
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Iceland Gull
Less. Blck-bckd Gull
Glaucous Gull
Grt. Blck-bckd Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
E. Screech Owl
Great Horned Owl
Long-eared Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Rd-bell Woodpecker
Yell-bell Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
N. Flicker
Blue Jay
Am. Crow
Fish Crow
Horned Lark
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-brst Nuthatch
White-brst Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
Winter Wren
Gld-crwn Kinglet
Ruby-crwn Kinglet
E. Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
Am. Robin
Gray Catbird
N. Mockingbird
Eur Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Orange-crwn Warbler
Yell-rumped Warbler
E. Towhee
Am. Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throat. Sparrow
White-crwn Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Snow Bunting
N. Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
E. Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brwn-headed Cowbird
Purple Finch
House Finch
Pine Siskin
Am. Goldfinch
House Sparrow


Will said...

Awesome! When the Catskill-Coxsackie count up here hits 80 species, we know we are having a great year, but 124! Wow.

Congrats on all those birds, especially the rarer waterfowl, of course the only thing about having a good year like this, is next year HAS to be better!

Patrick Belardo said...

The area is blessed with the best and most accessible winter waterfowl habitat in all of NJ. Combine that with bay, salt marsh, the ocean, forests, and grasslands, and you have a spectacular variety of habitats. Plus, NJ is a good place for a lot of these "half hardy" birds like Catbirds and Towhees.

It's going to be hard to top it next year!

Anonymous said...

What! No Raven? You should have let me know and I'd have sent down a couple.

Sounds like a smashing success Patrick.

Patrick Belardo said...

Please send one down! It'd be a count first. They're around in a few parts of northern NJ, but are pretty rare this far south. Historically, they bred along the coast of NJ.