Well, the Great Backyard Bird Count has more or less come to an end. Please continue entering your sightings if you haven't already. As the count reviewer in NJ, I get to see some interesting observations. Here are some highlights from this year here in NJ:
- 160 species recorded. We had 163 last year. Someone counted the Monk Parakeets in Edgewater which wasn't done the last 2 years.
- Tons of Pine Siskins all over the state (except in MY yard!)
- 81 White-winged Crossbills - definitely a record in the years recorded online. The previous high count was 4!
- A well-known birder found an Atlantic Puffin from Barnegat Light State Park - pretty cool!
- Other rarities included Cackling Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Barrow's Goldeneye, Eared Grebe, American Bittern, Black-headed Gull, Glaucous Gull, Rufous Hummingbird, and Bohemian Waxwing
- Last year NJ was #1 in individual birds thanks to some BIG counts of Snow Geese in south Jersey. This year, we are #8. Those same counts of Snow Geese were not reported this year.
- Six species of owls including Snowy
- As opposed to past years, several of the "Red-headed Woodpecker" sightings turned out to actually be Red-headed Woodpeckers!
- Someone reported a Northern Goshawk, which is always a nice find in winter. I emailed the person to confirm it. Sure enough, she sent me pics of a gorgeous adult bird from her yard.
- Several sightings of Baltimore Orioles - one person told me how they love to feed it grape jelly all year long. Wintering Baltimore Orioles at feeders are an annual occurrence. You never know when one might be a Bullock's and the viewer just doesn't know better.
- Personally, I had seen a Belted Kingfisher in the retention pond near my house the last 2 years. No luck this year.
Fun times! Thanks to everyone who participated. What observations did you make about your state?