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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Neotropical Cormorant

Neotropic Cormorant, Clinton, NJ, 11 June 2014

After not seeing any reports of the Neotropic Cormorant I found in Clinton back in April, I stopped by the Red Mill pond downtown and quickly found the bird sitting on branches in the middle of the pond.  This will be the 1st New Jersey record pending acceptance by the NJBRC.  When I first found the bird, I guessed it would stay the summer (where else would it go?), so we'll see how long it hangs out.  It's got a nice river to fish in, and unless it gets lonely and wants to go off and look for a mate, I don't know why it won't just hang out here along the river.

eBird checklist

Monday, June 09, 2014

Grasshopper Sparrows

Grasshopper Sparrows are special hidden marvels that only birders get to enjoy.  They aren't a bird that the public would usually notice.  They are small, mostly plain brown, live in tall grass, and have a song that sounds like an insect (check out a video of one singing).  So they are easy to overlook.

Here in my part of New Jersey, Grasshopper Sparrows are uncommon breeders, nesting in a few scattered larger fields across the county.

Last week I got some photos of a couple of birds at the Horseshoe Bend Preserve.  I digiscoped a male singing from a pole in a field, and got shots from my car with my Nikon CoolPix P500 of another bird was seen along the fence line carrying insects for its young--presumably in a nest nearby.   Since most songbirds only carry food when they have young in the nest, this is considered confirmed evidence of nesting.

Just another hidden gem that only birders get to enjoy in the wild!

Nikon CoolPix P500 shot of the singing male, not as good as the digiscoped shots below

Singing male Grasshopper Sparrow, Hunterdon Co, NJ, 6 June 2014
Singing male Grasshopper Sparrow, Hunterdon Co, NJ, 6 June 2014
Singing male Grasshopper Sparrow, Hunterdon Co, NJ, 6 June 2014
Food carrying nesting Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow, food carrying, 6 June 2014

Grasshopper Sparrow, Nikon CoolPix P500, 6 June 2014

eBird post

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Peek-a-Boo Chat

I spent an hour this morning trying to get a photo of a very vocal Yellow-breasted Chat singing in the dense shrubbery in a field near Flemington, NJ.  I got some OK sound recordings of the bird singing--it sang nonstop the whole time I was there.  But what a tough guy to get a photo of!  I did get some short but close looks at the chat, and even watched it sing in flight for over 50 yards.  I'm sure some of my friends with big lenses who are quick on the draw could have gotten some spectacular shots.

Unfortunately, most of mine look like this:

Can you see the bird in the oak tree?  Me neither!

The only shot I really got that shows anything is this sad shot here:

How about now?  Yes, there's a bird there.

And here it is cropped to show the bird.

Yellow-breasted Chat, 3 June 2014, Hunterdon County, NJ

Oh well, it was a nice morning out--at one point we accidentally flushed a Wild Turkey off her nest.  Here's the nest, with nine eggs.

Nine future Wild Turkeys

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