This was a cool, sometimes rainy, sometimes windy weekend in New Jersey. But there are still a few winter rarities being reported around the state and I wanted to give it my best shot to get a many as I could.
Saturday morning I was up at 4AM and out the door just after 5AM to start my 75 mile drive to Brigantine Island. I was headed for a small wildlife refuge that promised Marbled Godwit. I had never been there before and the only thing I knew for certain was that the area is closed to vehicles. Arriving at daylight in a steady light rain, I pulled on my rain gear, grabbed my binoculars and scope, and started my walk to the beach. My destination was just over a small sand dune, which provided my with great view and enough cover so as not to flush the feeding shore birds into flight. It took a bit of searching throught the salt marsh grasses before I noticed a Marbled Godwit peaking out at me. Success!
After exploring and birding for about an hour, I also had American Oystercatcher, “western” Willet, and a Black-Crowned Night-Heron (another first for 2013). Arriving back at the car, the rain had subsided enough that I grabbed my camera and headed back to the refuge’s entrance. I had spotted a Belted Kingfisher and wanted to try for a photo. My effort is posted at the top of this page.
My next stop was Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area to search for a reported Golden Eagle. I had plenty of great birds, even in the wind and rain, but no Golden Eagle. I finally decided to abandon my search and headed toward home. A quick stop to look for a reported Yellow-headed Blackbird yielded hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds and European Starling, but nothing else.
So a rainy Saturday morning yielded two more species for my count. Not bad for February birding! I have several target birds for Sunday, too and am looking forward to a dryer day, if not much warmer. But those results will wait for another post!
Until then, Good Birding!