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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Occupy Chaffinch

As I pulled up to the Common Chaffinch stakeout in Union Township, NJ this morning, the cul-de-sac was filled with cars.  I knew it was going to be exciting!

Up the hill, where the birders were gathered waiting on a porch for the bird to come in to a feeder, I thought I could hear the following chant::

What do we want?  Chaffinch!
When do we want it?  NOW!
What do we want?  Chaffinch!
When do we want it?  NOW!

Holy cow, I thought what the heck is going on?  Usually, stake outs are quiet places were nervous birders are afraid to even whisper, in fear of scaring away their quarry.

I quickly dashed up the hill to the house, but all was quiet.  Nobody admitted to having heard the chant.  Maybe it was just the wind?

The Common Chaffinch had just flown a few moments earlier, so I waited with 20 other birders for 25 minutes, hoping it would show up again.  The feeding station was empty.  I started hearing some White-throated Sparrows off to one side, so I walked to the edge of the covered porch and started scanning.  I saw a bird fly past quickly with white on the outter tail feathers, but I didn't think it was a junco.  Within a minute the Chaffinch came down from where I was searching and landed in a tree, then dropped down to the ground under the feeders where we all got good looks.  I didn't stay long, maybe a minute tops, before flying off.  Then a couple minutes later it was back for a few seconds.

In the hustle and bustle of the 20 birder scramble, I managed to capture 16 seconds of frustratingly blurry video through my binoculars.

It flew just as a few other birders arrived, including my friend Patrick.  So I stuck around until it showed up again an hour later, enjoying the hushed and somber crowd.  I apologize to anyone we may have annoyed with our hushed but animated talking while waiting.  I'm not one for somber when there are good birds around :-)

What do we want?  Rarities!
When do we want them?  Now!

In fact, it was such a fun morning that afterwards I headed over to Merrill Creek to get another look at the Snowy Owl that has been hanging out there since early November.  It was sitting on the same rock where I last left it nearly two months ago.  A Tundra Swan, Bald Eagles, and Common Goldeneye rounded out the morning.


Unknown said...

Funny perspective on the scene. I like the chant.

Dawn Fine said...

What do we want? Chaffinch!
When do we want it? NOW!
What do we want? Chaffinch!
When do we want it? NOW!

So now I am waiting!


eileeninmd said...

Congrats on your sighting! I like the chant!

... said...

blimey, you birdwatchers are a wacky bunch!

Chatterbirds said...

That's quite a morning of birding in New Jersey. I like the chanting idea!

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