Archive for 2007 August
A long day of birding started with us stopping by the Charles H. Rodgers/Institute Woods in Princeton. Blue-winged Warbler, American Redstarts, and Black-and-White Warblers danced in a flock containing them, titmice (is the plural of titmouse even titmice?) and chickadees above our heads (I had forgotten how much warblers wear on your neck muscles). Male and female Common Yellow-throated Warblers seen from the overlook as well. Then we set out to the Johnson Sod farm (of course looking for our nemesis the Cattle Egret where 300 of them had been seen earlier) but didn’t see much outside of Black-bellied Plover and Killdeer. We ended the day at the Brig as we timed it so we would arrive at the 630-730 window when the Spoonbill comes out of his “hidden” mid-day haunt and flies over the Gull Pond and its tower. While we were “waiting” we got our first Caspian Tern with his huge beak and black-capped head. It was then the Spoonbill’s turn to make his appearance but if not for some keen spotting eyes on the tower we wouldn’t have noticed as it flew out east of its “normal” path. A few (there were 15-20 people there on such a pleasant evening) didn’t get looks but we were pleased to see him touch down in a pond on the west side of the entrance to the Drive. Jeanette spotted him wading with others and pointed heads and scopes in the appropriate direction. All were happy and stunned by the “pinkness” of the bird. Always a good day of birding in NJ when you can end it will a Roseate Spoonbill.
A Friday and Saturday of successful birding was coming to a close but we had one trip around the ‘Brig’ left in the tank so, in we went. Shortly after entering the drive (after a quick stop at the Gull Pond tower) on the left in a big pool we saw a small bird swimming in small circles along its eastern edge 15-20 feet from the road. This was the bird we were looking for a previously reported Red-necked Phalarope. It is a pretty bird indeed and it posed for some nice pictures seen below. So that was a nice start to the drive and we continued around still not finding our Cattle Egret or a previously reported Avocet. As we drove down the last straight away before the woods we saw a large white bird flying low over the road and then veering straight up and banking left. It was a big bird and was easily identifiable as an American White Pelican. He swooped over the island that the double-crested cormorants gather at in bunches and chased the entire lot. They took off and he swung around for one more look before flying out east towards the entrance to the nature drive. A red van/truck ahead of us spotted it too, and noted it in the log book as we did. What a great bird!
It was amusing to see the Cormorants scatter at the appearance of the Pelican as shown in the pictures below.
As we finished our afternoon drive Jeanette and I decided to take the “scenic” route and drive past the Griggstown Farmer’s Market. The market sells quail and pheasant eggs and has an abundance of both birds caged on the property. Hawks love the area to look for any meal that may “escape” from its cage. We passed the Bunker Hill Golf course prior to the market and I saw a raptor perched on a post half way down it’s entry road. We drove down to look and photograph. This guy was confident and unflinching. We got as close as possible to him and he looked unaffected. Always nice when you can really see the detail of these beautiful birds.