I mentioned that I had gone on a bird walk in the Pine Barrens yesterday. While I've spent a fair amount of time wandering around there on my own or with a friend who knows the place well, this was the first time I went with a group of birders led by a naturalist from NJ Audubon. The weather was perfect and there were only 8 of us in the group - a plus as far as I'm concerned. I hate birding in big groups of chatty women and hardly ever bird that way anymore. I'm glad I went along though, as I learned a few new spots to visit again on my own.
I don't ordinarily share trip lists here, but we had a few special sightings that make this list worth reading. Going to the Pine Barrens isn't really about seeing huge numbers of birds; the habitat doesn't lend itself to great variety, but I think that makes each new species worth the effort of walking through all that sugar sand!
Brown Creeper (singing!)
Not bad for a late winter day in the Pinelands! The singing Brown Creeper was a treat, as were the Bluebirds, and the Bald Eagle. I was most thrilled to find the Tundra Swans that I've been looking for since late November - there was a nice group of about 40 birds feeding in one of the cranberry bogs at the Franklin Parker Preserve. We also found a pair of Wood Ducks way back in the preserve in one of the dikes, but they flushed before I was able to really take in their beautiful colors. I don't see Wood Ducks often at all, even though they're a very common nester here in NJ. Anyway, it was a good day.