Monday, March 12, 2007

Pine Barrens birds

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!

Pied-billed Grebe
Tundra Swan*
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper (singing!)
Carolina Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow

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.


KGMom said...

Wow! --that's a lot of birds, to this suburban dweller. I hear birds tweeting and chirping, but they are hard to spot.
I think if I were birding, I would enjoy being a bit more solitary. Some things don't require much comment--just blissful silence, or the sounds that nature brings.

Cathy said...

This is so exciting. I've got to get out to the Lake Eire marshes. Spring isn't real unless I've heard the first twitterings of these returnees.
I'm thinking I've never heard a Brown Creeper. Time to Google his song :0)

Lynne said...

I had to listen to a brown creeper song too. I don't think Ive ever heard it before! Sounds like a really nice birding day.

Jimmy said...

Cool! I have not seen any spring birds here yet, but it won't be long.

Body Soul Spirit said...

I really need to find something around here like your Audubon group. What an impressive list of birds for one day!

Mary said...

"Anyway, it was a good day"... My goodnes, Laura. It was a SPECTACULAR DAY!

So what will you do with a group of very chatty women in Cape May next fall, huh?

Happy for you. You deserve a spectacular day in NJ.

bunnygirl said...

That's a lot of birds! Isn't it still winter up there, sort of? I'm impressed. Having never been birding, it always amazes me how many different birds are out there that one doesn't see while just walking along in the ordinary way. A lot of them must be pretty shy!

mon@rch said...

That is the best part of the big bird groups in the chatting! LOL! Wonderful list of birds you had! Can't wait for our sapsuckers to return!

LauraHinNJ said...

Monarch: Ha! Chatting is appropriate in between birds only! Do sapsuckers nest by you? I'm pretty sure they just migrate through here.

Bunnygirl: It is still winter and the Pine Barrens don't have many birds. I think this is a pretty good list, but consider that in mid may on world series day we see about 130 species just at Sandy Hook. Teams that bird statewide on that day can see more than 220 species in one day. Makes this list of twenty-something seem paltry!

Mary: The difference will be that I'll be interested in the chatter! You've never birded with a group, but there's a whole *thing* about the types of women and men who bird. Might be a fun topic for a post someday.

Ruth: You should try and find a group - it's fun to meet people that way and a good introduction to birds and the places they like to hang out.

Jimmy: Yes - spring and warblers and shorebirds and ...

Lynne: I hadn't heard it for years - not such a fancy song, but nice to hear from this hard to spot bird.

Cathy: Spring seems to come earlier to the marsh... maybe?

KGMom: I like to be with other people the first time I go to a place, especially one as lonesome as the Pine Barrens.

Susan Gets Native said...

I was wondering the same thing as Mary. I think all of us will need to get our chatting out before we go out and bird. Like the night before...over drinks. And good food. And a few more drinks.

I got one decent peek at Tundras up at Magee Marsh two years ago, and I was so thrilled.
Sounds like a good birdy day for you.
I fully expected to get a whole load of lifers at Cape May.
No pressure or anything.

LauraHinNJ said...

Susan: I'll help with lifers so long as I know what it is you need to see!

z said...

When I read how many birds you see. And how many birds there are still. I am glad that when the book: 'Silent Spring' came out, people sat up and listened.
Makes one really realize what a close call that was.

Liza Lee Miller said...

Great trip! Really cool to see Tundra Swans! Wow!

robin andrea said...

You remind me that I should really get out with our local birding chapters. I hear songs that I can not identify, and I know I'm missing birds that I could be seeing. That's quite an inspiring list.

Jayne said...

Holy cow! A good day indeed! What a great list of birds you were able to see Laura.

Larry said...

I was shocked the first time I saw a Wood Duck in a tree.I could not believe the colors of the male Wood Duck.-just awesome.I was also very surprised when I hear a Brown Creeper singing.I thought for sure I was looking for some kind of warbler when I heard it.-I used an excerpt from your blog for a game.-hope that's o.k.

LauraHinNJ said...

z: Yes, you're right. I don't know that the word is really out to enough people.

Liza: I'm glad I finally found them!

Robin Andrea: My ears are much better than my eyes. There's also lots of good CD's with birdsong that helped me a lot. It's nice to get out with a group and learn some new places to see birds.

Jayne: It was so nice to be out on such a pretty day.

Larry: I've never come across a Wood Duck in a tree and usually I just see them flying overhead. The Creeper singing was cool - they don't do that often in South Jersey. Oh and I liked you game, but Lynne beat me to all the answers, as usual!

LauraHinNJ said...
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LauraHinNJ said...
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LauraHinNJ said...

Sorry! Repeating myself there.