Brigantine & Mott's Creek - Saturday, December 10th 2011

The Brig portion of the Brigantine/Mott's Creek trip included a good variety of wintering ducks, Peregrine Falcons, Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, and Horned Grebes. At Mott's Creek, the short-eared owls showed up at dusk, just in time for good viewing before dark. Several Northern Harriers hunted over the marsh and a large flock of Boat-tailed Grackles wheeled noisily around the docks.
Edwin B. Forsythe NWR--Wildlife Drive
Snow Goose  2000
Brant  200
Canada Goose  100
Tundra Swan  40
Gadwall  12
American Wigeon  3
American Black Duck  600
Mallard  50
Northern Shoveler  150
Northern Pintail  400
Green-winged Teal  250
Lesser Scaup  35
Bufflehead  60
Hooded Merganser  14
Red-breasted Merganser  4
Ruddy Duck  4
Red-throated Loon  4
Common Loon  1
Pied-billed Grebe  3
Horned Grebe  6
Double-crested Cormorant  4
Great Blue Heron  7
Great Egret  3
Turkey Vulture  2
Bald Eagle  2
Northern Harrier  10
Sharp-shinned Hawk  2
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Peregrine Falcon  3
American Coot  350
Greater Yellowlegs  2
Dunlin  6
Herring Gull (American)  40
Great Black-backed Gull  25
Rock Pigeon  15
Mourning Dove  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  2
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  8
Carolina Chickadee  4
Tufted Titmouse  8
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Carolina Wren  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Hermit Thrush  1
American Robin  65
European Starling  2
Cedar Waxwing  75
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  35
Eastern Towhee  1
Song Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  3
Red-winged Blackbird  21
American Goldfinch 
 58 species

Edwin B. Forsythe NWR--Motts Creek

Canada Goose  12
American Black Duck  25
Hooded Merganser  2
Bald Eagle  1
Northern Harrier  5
Greater Yellowlegs  9
Long-billed Dowitcher  19
Herring Gull (American)  5
Great Black-backed Gull  3
Short-eared Owl  2
American Robin  3
European Starling  4
Boat-tailed Grackle  250
House Sparrow  5

14 species

Cape May Point - Saturday, December 17th 2011

A few raptors here and there, including several Northern Harriers and two Peregrine Falcons, one perched on the Bunker. An adult Bald Eagle was perched on the Meadows Osprey platform. As usual, lots of winter ducks. The Eurasian Wigeon and a dozen Ring-necked Ducks were on Lake Lily  after the walk.
45 species

Canada Goose 10
Mute Swan 15
Gadwall 35
American Wigeon 20
Mallard 15
Northern Shoveler 20
Northern Pintail 15
Green-winged Teal 150
Lesser Scaup 80
Bufflehead 1
Hooded Merganser 9
Ruddy Duck 8
Red-throated Loon 6
Pied-billed Grebe 3
Northern Gannet 5
Double-crested Cormorant 3
Great Egret 1
Turkey Vulture 8
Bald Eagle 1
Northern Harrier 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Peregrine Falcon 2
American Coot 175
Herring Gull 8
Great Black-backed Gull 2
Rock Pigeon 5
Mourning Dove 4
Northern Flicker 2
American Crow 2
Carolina Wren 2 heard
Eastern Bluebird 10
American Robin 100
Northern Mockingbird 2
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 30
Cedar Waxwing 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler 10
Song Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 4
Red-winged Blackbird 6
Common Grackle 30
Brown-headed Cowbird 30
House Finch 8
House Sparrow 2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Cape May Point - Saturday, December 10th 2011

Cloudy, cold and windy to start. A walk on the red trail produced a nice variety of ducks which were scattered twice by two adult Bald Eagles. The adult drake Eurasian Wigeon and the female Redhead were in the mix. 38 species

Canada Goose 10
Mute Swan 10
Gadwall 25
Eurasian Wigeon 1
Mallard 15
Blue-winged Teal 1
Northern Shoveler 6
Northern Pintail 1
Redhead 1
Ring-necked Duck 1 30
Lesser Scaup 10
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Ruddy Duck 8
Red-throated Loon 6
Pied-billed Grebe 2
Northern Gannet 15
Double-crested Cormorant 3
Great Blue Heron 2
Turkey Vulture 2
Bald Eagle 2 adult
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
American Coot 200
Ring-billed Gull 2
Herring Gull 5
Great Black-backed Gull 25
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 4
American Crow 3
Carolina Wren 1
Eastern Bluebird 2
American Robin 25
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 10
Cedar Waxwing 15 after the walk
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Red-winged Blackbird 30
House Sparrow 1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Harlequin Romance - Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Our annual trip up to Barnegat Light in search of Harlequin Ducks was well attended by both participants and leaders and we had a fabulous day. The weather was perhaps the best it had ever been for this trip and, while this probably contributed to the larger than usual number of people fishing on the jetty and keeping the birds away from their food source, we nevertheless had a fabulous day.
Ducks were present in lower numbers than usual but again, the good weather was perhaps a factor in this and a more prolonged peirod of cold weather is probably needed to push numbers up. Despite this, there was plenty to enjoy with some 300 Common Eider on the open sea south of the jetty, small numbers of all three scoter species and even a female Bufflehead thrown in for good measure. Careful scanning through the flock eventually provided us with good views of a very smart female King Eider and, among it all, around 25 Harlequin Ducks were busy diving and feeding. Mission accomplished!

Also on the beach, a flock of about 60 Snow Buntings was seen and three Horned Larks flew over. Bonaparte's Gulls were plentiful in the inlet and Dunlin, Purple Sandpipers and Sanderling were on the jetty. After lunch we checked out Barnegat Bay and found plenty of Common and Red-throated Loons, Red-breasted Mergansers and a huge raft of Buffleheads. We finished at Manahawkin, where we found two adult Bald Eagles, five Northern Harriers, a Belted Kingfisher and at least six Great Blue Herons - the latter another sign that the weather hasn't really turned cold yet.

Barnegat Lighthouse bathed in glorious winter sunshine! [Photo by Mike Crewe]

Bonaparte's Gulls are real gems when seen close up. Three hundred or more were feeding in and around Barnegat Inlet. [Photo by Mike Crewe]

A female and two male Harlequin Ducks dive through the surf, along with a third-winter male Common Eider. [Photo by Mike Crewe]

Adult female King Eider (left) and adult female Common Eider. Note the King (Queen?!!) Eider's different bill size and shape, especially the 'smile' of the curving gape line on a pale face. [Photo by Mike Crewe]

This picture is cropped heavily so it's not so sharp, but notice the black, strongly angled chevron marks on the flank feathers. In this area, Common Eider females have more shallowly-curved arcs. [Photo by Mike Crewe]