NJ is small and especially full of rude people, but we've got great birds, particularly in winter along the coast. You have to be the hardy type and enjoy the frigid wind in your face, but it's worth the frostbite for the variety of waterfowl, gulls, raptors, and other goodies.
It's still too early in the season for there to be great numbers of waterfowl, but I enjoy keeping up with whoever's arrived in the neighborhood. On my days in the field, I plan my lunch hour around visiting a few of the coastal ponds that dot the north shore of the state. For whatever reason, the local ponds don't attract the variety of the more southern ponds, but last week there was this nice group of hooded mergansers, a canvasback or two, some coot, and I think I may have imagined a ring-necked duck. Of course, the good ducks never get close enough for a decent photo, but there's plenty of canada geese and mute swans to practice photography with.
There's a lake along the ocean at the base of one of the senior citizen buildings that I visit that always has lots of gulls. I'm not often of a mind to sort through the ring-bills, herrings, and great black-backs but when the lake is frozen there may be bonaparte's or a lesser. Mostly I have to be really bored to give gulls that much attention, but some birders are into that sort of mind-numbing exercise. I prefer the pretty ducks.
The ocean and bay have their own treasures; loons, grebes, oldsquaw, ruddies, bufflehead, harlequins. The marshes have harriers and short-ears, and rough-leggeds - the list goes on and on. But I'm getting cold just thinking of it.
So.. what birds get you outside in the winter? Or is it just the ones that wait beside the empty feeder?
a return Visit
3 months ago