Author dmurray03

Kentucky Warbler! Garret Mountain – May 5th, 2015

Kentucky WarblerKentucky Warbler

Pretty good today! 19 Species including a First at Garret for me, Kentucky Warbler. (Forgive the awful documentation shot of this skulker. They rarely show well for pictures but these are especially bad. :)) Wilson Avenue was finally packed with birds including a FOS Tennessee Warbler, along with Cape May Warbler, Blackpoll Warblers and Indigo Bunting. Blackburnian, Hooded and Nashville were around again and finally good numbers of Chestnut-sided and Magnolia Warblers. Also a big flight of Common Yellowthroat in as they had been hard to find until today. I also had Yellow-throated, Blue-headed, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos and Baltimore Orioles were in in good numbers as well.  Others had Worm-eating, Yellow, Bay-breasted as well that I missed. Nice day of birding!

A couple of other shots from today:

Black-throated Blue WarblerBlack-throated Blue Warbler

Scarlet TanagerScarlet Tanager

Magnolia WarblerMagnolia Warbler

Cape May WarblerCape May Warbler

Black-and-white WarblerBlack-and-white Warbler

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Here we Come!!! Spring Migration is underway at Garret Mountain – May 3rd-4th, 2015

Hooded Warbler
Hooded Warbler

The last two days at Garret Mountain have been pretty good. It still hasn’t been a “birds dripping off trees” type day yet, but the diversity is improving and there have been a number of the highly sought Warblers around. I had a Cerulean Warbler on the 3rd (18 total Warbler species that day) which is a tough bird at Garret, along with favorites Cape May and Blackburnian Warblers. Yellow-throated Vireo was a nice sight along with the very photogenic Black-throated Green and Blue Warblers. I am just going to list some of the shots I have gotten over the last couple days. The next 2 weeks are my favorite weeks of the year! Good to see many familiar birder faces as well! Good Birding!

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler

Yellow-throated Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

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Spring and a Day of New Birds at Garret Mountain – April 29th, 2015

Blackburnian Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler

Spring Birding has definitely sprung in New Jersey as we wind through the final days of April. The Mourning Cloak, Eastern Comma and Cabbage White flutter past as the Trout Lily and Skunk Cabbage rise from below. All of the customary birds have appeared. The Eastern Phoebes along with Pine and Palm Warblers have been in for some time joined by Black-and-white and Yellow-rumped Warblers soon after. Their arrival is tailed closely by active Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and wonderfully dressed Blue-headed Vireo. First Golden-crowned Kinglets are common and then later completely replaced by their Ruby-crowned brothers. The ever present April stars, Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and Winter Wren, again called the park’s stream and exposed roots home for a while. They were joined this year by a number of lively Purple Finch, Rusty Blackbirds, a Prairie Warbler and later Northern Waterthrush. I am sure I have missed a few (many of the park regulars have tallied species I missed including Orchard Oriole, Nashville Warbler and Rose-breasted Grosbeak to name a few) but these are the memories of April 2015 that call to me so far. Garret Mountain remains an oasis for traveling birds and a splendid place for an early Spring walk.

Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler

Today was a little different. North Western winds and unfavorable conditions in our area have kept larger numbers of migrants at bay. The huge helping of birds, no doubt on their way, sit waiting for things to turn in their favor. As I checked the radar last night I was happy to see the northern flyway lit up with migrating birds in the South Eastern part of the country. We had a blip of color in the center of New Jersey, but I expected this wouldn’t be much other than maybe more breeding regulars or shorebirds. As I arrived in the park I didn’t feel too far off about that as overall things still felt quiet.

“Lively Discussion”
I was happy to find that strong and maybe more aggressive birds keen to get on territory had apparently fought through the winds and put down in the elevated green peninsula that is Garret Mountain. I quickly noticed a trend that many male birds were around today. Bright and flashily adorned individuals were feeding and replenishing fat stores used up. There were even clashes as gleaning birds worked through the shared eating spots. Male Pine, Black-and-white and Yellow warblers all worked voraciously to fill their bird bellies. Northern Waterthrush showed (and the continuing Louisiana) along with at least 3 Ovenbirds testing out their best summer song. Not to be outdone completely, a beautiful female Black-and-white Warbler along with a few female Pine Warblers worked through the tops of the White Pine trees at the end of Wilson Ave.

Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler

The best was yet to come for me as I wound my way back up Garret’s paths towards my car. Just above the tiered lot (below the picnic grove) I heard the high pitched song of a bird I haven’t heard in months. There, working along with another stunning Blue-headed Vireo, was a brilliantly colorful male Blackburnian Warbler. Bright, wide wing-bars and a Fire-Orange head that could set tinder afire, moved quickly through the tree tops stopping only briefly to swallow particularly large mouthfuls. I enjoyed him for a while before being called to (in my mind that’s how it works doncha know! :)) by my final new arrival of the day, another male, a Black-throated Green Warbler! These birds were the tip of the Spring Warbler sword finally thrust into our park. On a day like today it was easy to be reminded of the wonder of bird migration and the strength of the birds who I got to visit with today.

Conditions seem to settle a bit tonight so maybe tomorrow will bring even more wonder to the incredibly important Garden State stop-over that is Garret Mountain.

Below are some pictures from today. I usually identify not as a photographer, but rather a Birder-with-a-camera, as I really know far less than I should about photography, lighting and such. Thankfully a blog allows me to share the images of birds that I see (the reason I even bought a camera) but I often feel the need to apologize in advance for not-so-great shots. I am really more concerned with documenting the birds I see but sometimes I get lucky with decent shots and they usually improve as the season goes along. :) Good Birding!

Pine and Black-and-white Warbler - Discussion
Pine Warbler & Black-and-white Warbler “discussion”

Black-and-white Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler

Ovenbird
Ovenbird

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Birding in New Jersey goes to Brazil! Day 1 – Itatiaia National Park


I was recently in Southeastern Brazil for two weeks of work and had the connecting weekend to myself. Of course this meant I had to find an effective and enjoyable way to do some Brazilian birding! First things first, I needed to get through the first week, and as the days ticked off I found myself enjoying the unique people and culture of Brazil more and more. After enough time passes in a new place, you start to feel comfortable and settle in and find your way into a routine. I felt welcomed each time I ventured slightly out into the enormity of the city that is São Paulo. However, after a week of workplace communication in a foreign country and language, paired with jaunts to local city eateries by night, I was looking forward to a weekend of being out in the forest listening to much more familiar sounds. While the calls and songs of birds a continent away would be new, the symphony of nature would no doubt be playing a well acquainted tune.

“While the calls and songs of birds a continent away would be new, the symphony of nature would no doubt be playing a well acquainted tune.”

As with most birding trips, good planning is a necessity and the unique nature of a trip out of the United States has its own challenges. Many birders utilize an array of well organized guiding outfitters and services to link up with other like-minded folk to find target birds. These trips can be expensive, but also incredibly rewarding, as careful planning goes into making the endeavor a successful one. These trips usually are made up of groups from 6-12 people and need to be scheduled months if not years in advance. Birding Tour Companies often publish a yearly program guide that hopeful attendees can pick and choose from. The tours are most often 2 or more weeks to account for travel time and allow for multiple opportunities at many targets and better overall coverage. Shorter trips happen, but the scope is less extensive and the total species on offer are far leaner.

This meant that my solo trip with a small amount of time and a large amount of target birds, with minimal advanced notice, would be hard to schedule. Especially in a foreign country! This is why I was very happy to find Carlos and was thrilled when he was able to not only accommodate my request for a individual guide for a weekend, but also offered up varying suggestions and possibilities to see some of Brazil’s wonderful birds! (If you are in Southeastern Brazil and want to see birds I highly recommend him! Professional, considerate, safe and an excellent birder. It was exactly as I hoped, and I hope others get to enjoy his passion and expertise. Check out his site and Flickr for tons of good content and contact details.)

We would be heading up to some of the few remaining pieces of preserved Atlantic Forest habitat to search out birds at elevation in this unique ecosystem.

Hitting the Road! Heading out to do my first South American, Brazil Birding!

I was picked up Friday evening at my hotel by Carlos and his wife Viviane who had traveled down from their home in Campinas. We hurled ourselves into the normally dodgy traffic out of town heading north west. We crawled along with the workers headed home, the happy hour crowd, and those seeking respite in the suburbs and farmsteads that run along the cities edge. A 45 minute trip on a Thursday can become a 2 and a half hour test of your sanity on a Friday, and this one was especially difficult. Late in the evening we finally made it to our hotel after winding up the climbing road into the Atlantic forests of Itatiaia National Park.  Sleep would come easy with a long day behind us and an exciting one to come.

Waking up surrounded by nature is always exhilarating and opening the curtains Saturday morning to views of the rising hills and vast forest surfaced a rush of adrenaline and excitement. We started the morning birding on the hotel property on its various trails and paths. We quickly saw the resident White-eyed Parakeets and local White-throated Hummingbirds there to greet us with calling Picazuro Pigeons on the phone wires in the distance while Blue-and-white Swallows swirled above. We added Rufous-collared Sparrow (or as the locals call them Tico Tico), Saffron Finch, and a flyover Chopi Blackbird before heading down the hill from the hotel to a small marsh area surrounded by excellent habitat that provided my first moment of awe of the day.  We came across three Warbler species in this area (White-browed and Golden-crowned Warblers and a Masked Yellowthroat) along with the jaw-dropping beauty of the Brassy-breasted Tanager. Color was not sparred on the Brassy-breasted and we added Diademed, Cinnamon, Fawn-breasted, and Ruby-crowned Tanagers for good measure. We got a great look at a Variable Antshrike and then popped onto a wonderfully vibrant and insanely active Rufous-crowned Greenlet! (A fav of mine for the trip for attitude alone!) On the walk back up we added Highland Elaenia, and a quick flyby Yellow-headed Caracara along with others. Whew. Its all wonderfully overwhelming. These are the days you dream about as a birder when you head to an all new place and we were just getting started.

Below are some of these amazing birds we saw in the morning:

Brassy-breasted Tanager

White-eyed Parakeet

 

Cinnamon Tanager

 

White-throated Hummingbird

The Road up to Pico das Agulhas Negras! (Black Needles Peak)


We headed out up towards the rising peak of Pico das Agulhas Negras to start our birding excursion on the upper part of the road. This oldest national park in Brazil has two sections that are often covered for birding & we would start our morning at the bottom of the upper section. It wasn’t long before we were greeted by the morning chorus and Carlos and his well trained ears were picking up & pointing out birds.  We saw Pallid and Spix’s Spintails, the delightful Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher & Mottle-Cheeked Flycatcher.

We then came across a White-spotted Woodpecker which briefly had all of my attention until multiple Red-breasted Toucans came flying just above us and stopped for pictures and closer examination.  I was jumping for joy inside. A Toucan, and a looker at that!

Red-breasted ToucanRed-breasted Toucan

We continued on this way coming across some peppy Black-capped Piprites and watched them dangle and flash about. Just wonderful birds! Then it was on to encounter a bird I had been very much looking forward to. The Plovercrest! In your mind, the birds you covet and have yet to see in nature can carry an almost mythical quality. This bird was one of those for me. The Plovercrest is a small iridescent green hummingbird with a vibrant purple flashy throat and this most fantastic long feathered crest.  The surprisingly loud singing males tend a Lek made up of a group of Plovercrests and we were right in the middle of them! The lighting wasn’t the best (for pictures), but I got amazing looks at a beautiful male holding court and marveled at this little ball of feathers and ferocity. Small tail, small stature, large style large spirit! YES. I was genuinely happy to add the Plovercrest experience to my best birding memory database.

Black-capped Piprites

Plovercrest

Still further up the hill, we paused and ate lunch overlooking a bridge above the expansive trees below. We reveled in the moment a bit, and listened to stories about the regions birds and an especially funny anecdote about an interaction between Carlos and a hill of ants.  While sitting, we also were lucky enough to marvel at the eery and beautiful vocalization of the Black-and-gold Cotinga heard just off in the distance.

“…I once again was reminded of the priceless value of a local experienced guide.”

As you advance in your birding experience, you become subconsciously more aware of bird whistles, chips, calls, songs and even types of movement in the space around you. Like a blip popping on to a monitored radar screen, the noise immediately draws your attention to a target area for further scrutiny. The song I heard there was unlike any I had heard (not any big feat mind you, with my limited travel outside the US) and one I wouldn’t have guessed was coming from a bird. The tonal whistle rises steadily and loudly for 3-5 seconds and sounds more like an overheating radiator pipe than an on territory calling bird. It’s overwhelming in its uniqueness as if natural selection rewarded the bird with a noise sure to be heard and impossible to confuse. The song adds to the want and desire of most birders who visit the area hoping for a peak at the Black-and-gold Cotinga.  In fact, we heard a few Black-and-gold Cotinga calling! One on either side of the road seemingly sounding off to announce the edge of their territory, we searched each high point  for a solid black bird with the golden splash, to no avail.

This is all a common experience for the Black-and-gold Cotinga, so we would not be deterred. Then, seemingly magically, Carlos pointed to a far off tall towering tree about 10 branches from the top to a small, unmoving target. There it is he said. I was both overjoyed and thoroughly impressed at the seemingly miraculous spotting from hundreds of yards away of a non-moving bird. “How in the world did you see that?” I said. That’s the Cotinga tree he said with a sly smile. This is a usual spot Carlos had seen the bird at before and I once again was reminded of the priceless value of a local experienced guide. So here he is in all his splendor, missing head and all. My Black-and-gold Cotinga thanks to Carlos and his Cotinga tree! (Yes, it is the black spot on the right side of the blurry, cropped picture. Proving even a “bad” picture can have a meaningful sentimental value)

Black-and-gold Cotinga

We pushed on and added more amazing birds like a striking female Blue-billed Black-Tyrant who sprung from her nest, nicely hidden in the rocky face of the wall lining the road to survey the current visitors and their intentions. “Just us friendly birders here to explore and take in your beauty” I thought! She had one small egg in her nest, and we moved on to allow mommy to come back and continue her campaign. After a bit of a walk we came up on a significant stand of Araucaria trees. (Beautifully unique evergreen coniferous trees that appear as though their top is adorned with a Palm Tree type growth of long branched evergreen that makes them stand out from all their surrounding tree peers) These fantastic and increasingly rare endemic trees held another highly anticipated bird for me the Araucaria Tit-Spinetail! Sure enough, within minutes of our arrival we were examining this little beauty and it’s long tail and bold crest. I couldn’t help but get excited and offered an exuberant fist bump to Carlos for his find. What a bird!

As we neared the end of the road (we didn’t got all the way up to the top of the rock formations but were essentially at the top at an altitude near 9000 Feet) we got a look at another gem. This long tailed, spotted beauty is called a Large-tailed Antshrike and Carlos mentioned our good luck at getting such great looks and photos. I certainly felt lucky. We tallied a few other birds and then got back in the truck headed back down. Luck hadn’t stopped shining on us though as Viv spotted an enormous Dusky-legged Guan on the roadside as we winded our way down! Reminding me of the Chachalacs I have seen in South Texas the Guan deftly climbed a nearby tree and took to watching us as we exited.

We got back to the hotel, did some more trail birding picking up the fantastic Blue Manakin and even got to share it with a family with children sharing our binoculars and directions to the bird back in the trees to their great enjoyment. Who knows, future birders may had just seen their “Spark Bird.” Those moments are super valuable. Light was dwindling so we headed back to the hotel restaurant for what was an outstanding meal! The hotel has a honest, real chef on site who produced a plate suiting the Brazilian cuisine with a tender steak and warm potatoes which seem to be a part of almost all meals in Brazil. And I wasn’t complaining! Everything we ate was phenomenal the entire time we were there. A perfect ending to a perfect day. A quick group review and tally had the day’s haul at 75 Life Birds! It simply doesn’t get much better than that! I felt like a kid on Christmas opening another presents every 5 minutes for the entire day. Truly a day to be thankful for in this wonderful country of Brazil.

Araucaria Tit-SpinetailAraucaria Tit-Spinetail

Large-tailed AntshrikeLarge-tailed Antshrike

Dusky-legged GuanDusky-legged Guan

Blue ManakinBlue Manakin

Lots more pictures from my trip on my Flickr Photostream. I will be putting up the Day two blog shortly which was an equally awesome day in Brazil! Check back soon. :)

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Whiskered Tern! – Cape May – September 12th, 2014

Whiskered Tern
Whiskered Tern

Today, I happily saw a notice online for a reported Whiskered Tern in New Jersey (found by Louise Zemaitis and Alec Humann) at Bunker Pond, right next to the Cape May Hawkwatch and decided to head down. These are the kinds of notifications that set a birder’s heart racing! This would be a third North American record and all three were seen at some point in New Jersey. The previous records were from the 1990s so, as you can imagine, this bird had local birders giddy! The Hawkwatch platform was full of birders and non-birders all eager to hear what all the fuss was about. This Tern, most similar to our Black Tern, is a European/African bird that is quite different from our “normal” New Jersey Terns. The flight was noticeably light and fluid and its twists and turns suited it well as it plucked bugs from the air above the pond like a Swallow.  The Tern elegantly worked around the pond and then to the beach and back, resting once in a while on a maintenance dock. It was all very pleasant, and I was left in a birder’s state of perpetual joy as the rest of the day played out. For 2014 I have yet to see a Sandwich Tern but I have a Whiskered Tern!

Below are a few shots:

Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Tern

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Mourning Warbler – Garret Mountain August 18th, 2014

Mourning Warbler
Mourning Warbler

Always a great bird and one of my favorite less common species in New Jersey we had a wonderful Mourning Warbler today in the wet area down from the tiered lot. This guy even sat a preened for 5 seconds and let me get a couple photos (a feat in itself with skulky and quick Mourning Warblers)! Great Bird!

Mourning Warbler
Mourning Warbler

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Kirtland’s Warbler! Grayling, Michigan – May 17th, 2014

Kirtlands Warbler
Kirtland’s Warbler

I have always wanted to see a Kirtland’s Warbler and had hoped for them in migration at Magee Marsh in years past without success. This year I took into my own hands and decided to head up to Grayling, Michigan for a tour into local Jack Pine habitat to see birds on territory preparing to nest. The Kirtland’s Warbler tour started off at Hartwick Pines State Park, just north of downtown Grayling, and you are lead onto nearby habitat suitable for these picky nesters! :) 5-20 foot tall and 6-22 year old Jack Pine trees are needed and a tree recycling boost is needed to fill the void naturally occurring fires provided the Kirtland’s with. Promising land management efforts and initiatives to stop cowbird parasitism seem to be yielding promising results!

Kirtland's Warbler
Kirtland’s Warbler

We headed out with a group of about 12 and the day’s early warming sun had us hoping for good results. The tours had run the previous two days with a single male on the first day and a female on the second. We got to the protected area and within 10 minutes heard multiple singing birds! Our skilled guide walked us through the territory and we quickly had a male 1 foot off the ground 5 feet away from the group! He was concerned with his task of hunting and singing and sped by us as we continued on down the path. We came across at least 5 Kirtland’s Warblers (seen and heard) and saw multiple males up on tress singing their hearts out! What a bird. A bigger bird than I expected, these guys were amazing. The stunning views and ability to actually watch this bird bob its tail and work through the bottoms of the Jack Pines was thrilling. This bird’s population and existence is threatened and the opportunity to not only learn about and hear them, but to also get amazing views, was an experience I will never forget!

Here are a few more pictures I got:

Kirtlands Warbler

Kirtlands Warbler

Kirtlands Warbler

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Magee Marsh – Oak Harbor, Ohio – May 15th-17th, 2014

Blackburnian Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler

Every year, if I am able, I take a long weekend in mid-to-late May to go to Magee Marsh in Oak Harbor, Ohio.  Magee is a truly special place with up-close access to the beautiful migrants of May as they make their way to their nesting grounds in the Boreal forest of the northern United States and Canada. Situated on the southern shore of Lake Erie, many migrants will settle into the low trees of Magee for a break, rather than braving the lake crossing into Michigan or Canada. (Similar to Fall migrant Warblers in Cape May) This makes for spectacular views for those wondering the winding boardwalks of Magee Marsh.  Magee gives the opportunity to see Connecticut or even Kirtland’s Warbler as it migrates through and the sheer amount of birds present make it almost always productive (many first timers laugh at what locals would call a slow day as the slow days at Magee are usually highly impressive!) and the experience is one I highly recommend.

Bay-breasted Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler

I only had 3 days and I was going to take one day to drive 3.5 hours north to Grayling Michigan to seek out the Kirtland’s Warbler so I wanted to make the best of the time I had.  Thursday was overcast  but there was still (remember that thing about Magee slow days?) a good number of birds around and I marveled at the proximity to Cape May and a female Golden-winged Warbler. Philadelphia Vireo, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and 22 species of Warbler was the “slow” day at Magee. Magee is an amazing place to study the movement and size and shape comparisons. The birding experience to be added in a trip is as significant as the wonderful birds you will see!

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler

Thursday was the opposite of slow. As the sun rose and the bugs got going the birds rose in chorus to meet them and us. After taking a pass on the boardwalk looking for Connecticut, I made my way to the area outside the boardwalk along the parking lot where Blackburnian, Bay-breasted, Cape May, and Canada Warblers, along with Tanagers and Orioles made appearances for the hundreds of onlookers swooning at their presence. The birds were gleaning insects and preening just feet above our heads in turns and it made for an amazing show. What a day! I heard someone say that they had been to Magee a few years and they had heard about days like this at Magee but never experienced it. They had now. FUN!

Below are a bunch of the amazing views I got.

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler

Cape May Warbler
Cape May Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler

Baltimore Oriole
Baltimore Oriole

Scarlet Tanager
Scarlet Tanager

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Garret Mountain – Olive-sided Flycatcher, Blackburnian Warblers and Migrants – Least Bittern

Blackburnian Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler

We had another wonderful day of migrants at Garret Mountain. We saw many of the same Warbler species seen over the last 4 days with Hooded, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue and, Black-throated Green Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, Magnolia Warbler, and 3 Blackburnian Warblers (First Of Spring for me). Also had a FOS Indigo Bunting on the hill on Wilson and a great Olive-sided Flycatcher on the west side of Barbour’s pond just down from Wilson Ave on a snag of one of the many White Pine trees (I think they are White Pine?) lost in recent years.

Olive-sided Flycatcher
Olive-sided Flycatcher

Below are some pictures from today and the last couple days @ Garret:

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler

Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird

Northern Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

I also saw the reported Least Bittern (reportedly found by some eager young birders on Sat! Good for them!!) on Sunday. Documentation shot below. (= not a good photo :))

Least Bittern
Least Bittern

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Spring Birding in New Jersey – Garret Mountain – May 2nd, 2014

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler

When the winter months wear on and the cold days lead to cold days I hope for days like today! The Spring birding bonanza finally got underway today and got some pep it its step with what must have been a significant flight last night. 16 Warbler species and 3 Vireos with Baltimore Oriole and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.  Hundreds of new birds in the park today with Wilson Ave. again being a hot spot.

As soon as I got down to the bottom of Wilson I had a beautiful (and not an easy bird at Garret!) Worm-eating Warbler working through the peeled bark and ground cover. One of 2 Worm-eating I would see today!  The end of Wilson held my first Great-crested Flycatcher of the Spring and an energetic male Black-throated Green Warbler.  We then happily watched a fantastically displaying Chestnut-sided Warbler and a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Others included a single Northern Parula and a pair of drab Pine Warblers along with the first of many Blue-headed Vireo of the day. Just as we were walking out of Wilson, we had a bright flash of yellow shoot out across the path for my first Blue-winged Warbler of the year! Lots of activity for mid day for sure!

Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler

The path towards the boat house had many many Palm Warblers and the most numerous warbler of the day Yellow-rumped Warblers all over.  We also had another popping bright Chestnut-sided Warbler and Swamp Sparrow.  A singing Baltimore Oriole and my first few resident Warbling Vireos (these may not stay but some do breed at Garret in decent numbers). Barbour’s Pond had washed pretty heavy with recent heavy rain and the island that held a Canada Goose nest seemed abandoned. :(  Every year they try and often this is the end result. At least the resident Killdeer hasn’t yet made the same fateful decision. Still waiting to see a pair of Killdeer together.  In better news, a Eastern Phoebe pair was back at it and looked to be fastidious builders. Multiple Spotted Sandpipers were in too for the first time (for me) this year! Flashy dressers the Spotted are!

Worm-eating Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler

Back on the stream we had the only Magnolia Warbler of the day, that I saw, working along with a male American Redstart.  A male Common Yellowthroat, more Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and another Swamp Sparrow, were seen with a possible Winter Wren that I only got unsatisfactory looks at.

I next headed up the hill to the rocky picnic area and had 2 Black-throated Blue Warblers (both males) and tons of Ovenbirds! Hermit Thrush are still around in good numbers and we had a single Swainson’s Thrush along with many Veery. We also had a single FOS Least Flycatcher.

A final walk down Wilson with fellow birder Greg (check out his Flickr photostream for great photos too!) proved advantageous as we got our FOS Northern Waterthrush and an awesome Yellow-throated Vireo to end the day!

These are the days I wait for.  Good Birding!

Here are a few more pictures from today. You can go to my Flickr page to see all of the photos I uploaded.

Magnolia Warbler
Magnolia Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler

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