Big Year Birding – Busy June, Slow June

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I can hardly believe Monday will be July 1st.

June has been an incredibly busy month, for me. I have been completing my citizen science grassland surveys at Lakehurst NAS.  As you can see in my photograph, this year’s rainy weather has produced lush grasslands at Lakehurst and birding there has been thrilling.

My participation in the citizen science program has permitted me access to birding locations which would normally be off-limits, like this survey plot bordering a runway.

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Grassland areas around military runways provide some of the best (and most protected) habitats for bird species like this Grasshopper Sparrow , who I found singing his little heart out – proclaiming to me and all the world that this patch of shrubby scrubby New Jersey Pine Barrens belonged to him!

During a typical survey morning at Lakehurst I am likely to find Horned Lark, Eastern Meadowlark, American Kestrel, and Upland Sandpiper (the crown jewels of New Jersey grassland surveys!).  Occasionally, I have even stumbled upon Northern Bobwhite and, rarely, a Savannah Sparrow.

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June has also been an incredibly slow month for me.  During the rush of Spring migrants in May, I would sometimes add 10 or 15 new species to My Bird List in a single day.  During the entire month of June, I have added two new species.

Yes, two really great species.  But still – two.

What June lacks in birding opportunities, it more than makes up for in other areas.  June is a great month for flowers, like these Turkey Beard (Xerophyllum asphodeloides growing wild throughout many areas of the Pine Barrens.

My New Jersey Big Year count now stands at 293 species and is likely to stay near that number unless a great or rare bird happens along during July.   For birds in New Jersey, summer is a time to stay put and raise young.  Fall migration is weeks away.  It is time to relax a bit and enjoy the beauty of Nature’s summer season.

I truly hope you’re enjoying your Summer season as much as I am mine!  Until next time, Good Birding!

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