Monday, April 30, 2012
A Long Way (but not a long time) to Tens of Thousands
Habitat + high tide made for decent shorebirding at Heislerville Sunday afternoon, but the numbers were nothing like what's to come:
5 Semipalmated Plover
87 Greater Yellowlegs
111 Lesser Yellowlegs
2 Semipalmated Sandpiper
2 Least Sandpiper
139 Short-billed Dowitcher
The main impoundment at Heislerville is still 90% full of water, but the second (east) impoundment is mostly drawn down, and boy does it look like a place a Ruff ought to show up, but none was there. Despite plenty of habitat for shorebirds, numbers were low - because it's not mid-May yet.
What there were a lot of at the second impoundment at Heislerville were egrets, ibis and herons, including a Little Blue Heron. Between the rookery and the second impoundment we counted over 200 Snowy Egrets. I should have taken a picture, but I got distracted by the fish attracting them.
An Orchard Oriole sang in the bushes along the dike at Heislerville, my first of season, and the drake Red-breasted Merganser in the rookery pool would be a prize for World Series of Birding teams in a couple weeks - if it lingers.
Breeders continue to trickle into Belleplain State Forest, including Acadian Flycatcher at the campground entrance and Scarlet Tanager along Buckhill Road, but most migrants are still south of us. We did find a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, which does not breed in southern NJ. Other parties found Summer Tanagers, but we did not - mainly because we didn't really go to the right habitat for them, the drier oak-pine areas.
Posted by Don Freiday at 6:50 AM