Saturday, August 29, 2020

Fri-d: birds with White Where it ain't Supposed to Be


 ["Partially Leucistic" Semipalmated Plover, Wetlands Institute, Stone Harbor, Cape May County, NJ August 13, 2020.]

This all seems like semantics, but technically it's not. As I understand the terminology, the above bird is not albino because it has pigment on some parts of its plumage and normal bare parts. It's not completely leucistic because it's white some places but normal some places. SO, it is a partially leucistic Semipalmated Plover. Others have reported it.

It gave me a startle naked-eye; when I see a lot of white on a shorebird I'm thinking phalarope or something really crazy. I guess it does look kind of crazy. . .


Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thoughtful Thursday: The Thumb of God



"I love the moon when it is just a sliver like this. It looks like Gods Thumb nail:)) one of the kids in the movie "Angels in the Outfield" said that and my son Robert (6 yrs old at the time) never forgot. Every time the moon was a sliver he would say "look mom, its Gods thumb nail." That is our special little thing we have. I know when ever either one of us see the moon like this, where ever we are, we remember that time."

-Eric Olsen

Sunday, August 23, 2020

A Birding Tale

[Photo copyright Joe Hernandez.]

"Shearwater! Shearwater! Shearwater! Shearwater!"

I show people birds for part of my living, and some people even think I'm good at it, but that was the best I could do in my sudden frantic state. I had no camera.

Silas Hernandez had a quiet frantic in his voice. "I don't have it."

"There! There! There! There!" Oh, I'm good at giving directions to birds, all right. Finally, "It's in front of your brother!" I suspect Silas had been looking far out into the bay, since it was a shearwater after all. Nope. The damn thing flew right at us, over the spit north of the landing, point blank.

I met Silas and his brother Joe just that morning, at Norbury's Landing, two young guys looking for birds before heading off for a wedding. We chatted, and Silas mentioned he had a milestone, I think he said he was at 398 species for North America and hoped to notch 400 this trip. I asked what he had in mind, and he said there wasn't too much in the way of possibilities. I believe it, but this was two days post-Tropical Storm Isaiah . . .

So we parted, me walking up the beach, getting up to the sandbar, raising my bins, and landing on an Arctic Tern resting belly-down on the sand. Huh, I wonder if Silas has this one? I turned and saw the guys getting in their car, so I jogged backed down the beach, yelled and waved them over.

399. Then it got interesting. I'm studying the tern and this bird flashes through my bins.

This is how people who bird a lot identify birds: we look at them and say, "Holy s--t, that's an Audubon's Shearwater." Then we identify them using field marks, which is what I did, screaming the whole time. Luckily Joe was ready with his camera.

Audubon's Shearwater from shore is stupid rare. Audubon's shearwater 40 feet away over a sandbar is double dog stupid rare.

[Audubon's Shearwater, photo's above and below copyright J. Hernandez.]

Monday, June 15, 2020

Officer, We Just Saw a Wolverine

Right, so the title of this post comes from an actual story,  but if you want to skip the rest just know this: if you saw it, and if you know you saw it, go ahead and report it and damn the torpedoes. I recently posted a working breeding bird  list for New Jersey and people have been hitting me up like, where the hell was Bachman sparrow? Where the hell are the Swainson’s warblers? Where the hell is the Merlin?

In the late 90’s or thereabouts I took my first trip to Colorado with my dear friends Dave Womer and Rex Miller. In theory we are three New Jersey boys, but in practice we are all three well travelled professional wildlife biologists and at least fairly good birders.

So we’re on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mount Nationsl Park and Rex says, and I quote,   Adopting our first amendment rights,?“Holy shit that’s a fucking wolverine!“ And it was, unknown in Colorado at the time. It was during the transition from film to digital and I literally didn’t have any kind of camera at all on me and my friend Dave Womer had his but it was in the car and we’re watching this wolverine stalk across a cirque…

So that afternoon we stop in at the visitor center at Endovalley and report what we had seen and basically got totally laughed off.  I don’t blame the people, I mean we were from New Jersey right , so maybe we know how to fight (that will be another story for another time) but not how to identify a wolverine. But I did get annoyed when I said look , let’s  go to where we saw it and photograph the tracks and they totally blew us off. Big mistake.

Because two years later a wolverine with a radio collar , from Wyoming , wandered into northern Colorado. It was happening, we saw a Wolverine and nobody believed us and to tell you the truth I’m still kind of pissed about that.

Yeah, so, I just floated the FACT that Merlin, Swainson’s Warbler, and Bachman’s Sparrow were either breeding in New Jersey or trying to. There you go.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

A Working List of NJ Breeding Birds

New Jersey, New Jersey, US
Jun 1, 2020 12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Protocol: Historical
Checklist Comments: Working list of New Jersey breeding bird species.
218 species (+10 other taxa)

Canada Goose 1
Mute Swan 1
Wood Duck 1
Blue-winged Teal 1
Northern Shoveler 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Gadwall 1
Northern Shoveler x Gadwall (hybrid) 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
American Wigeon 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Mallard 1
American Black Duck 1
Green-winged Teal 1
Hooded Merganser 1
Common Merganser 1
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Ruddy Duck 1
Northern Bobwhite 1
Ring-necked Pheasant 1
Ruffed Grouse 1
Wild Turkey 1
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 1
White-winged Dove 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Mourning Dove 1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Black-billed Cuckoo 1
Common Nighthawk 1
Chuck-will's-widow 1
Eastern Whip-poor-will 1
Chimney Swift 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
King Rail 1
Clapper Rail 1
Virginia Rail 1
Sora 1
Common Gallinule 1
American Coot 1
Yellow Rail 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Black Rail 1
Sandhill Crane 1
Common Crane 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Sandhill x Common Crane (hybrid) 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Black-necked Stilt 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
American Avocet 1
American Oystercatcher 1
Wilson's Plover 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Piping Plover 1
Killdeer 1
Upland Sandpiper 1
American Woodcock 1
Wilson's Snipe 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Willet 1
Laughing Gull 1
Herring Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Least Tern 1
Gull-billed Tern 1
Common Tern 1
Forster's Tern 1
Royal Tern 1
Sandwich Tern 1
Black Skimmer 1
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Brown Pelican 1
American Bittern 1
Least Bittern 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 1
Snowy Egret 1
Little Blue Heron 1
Tricolored Heron 1
Cattle Egret 1
Green Heron 1
White Ibis 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Glossy Ibis 1
White-faced Ibis 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Black Vulture 1
Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 1
Mississippi Kite 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Cooper's Hawk 1
Northern Goshawk 1
Bald Eagle 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Barn Owl 1
Eastern Screech-Owl 1
Great Horned Owl 1
Barred Owl 1
Long-eared Owl 1
Short-eared Owl 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Northern Saw-whet Owl 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Red-headed Woodpecker 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
American Kestrel 1
Merlin 1 Second hand report of breeding.
Peregrine Falcon 1
Monk Parakeet 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Acadian Flycatcher 1
Alder Flycatcher 1
Willow Flycatcher 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 1
White-eyed Vireo 1
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Loggerhead Shrike 1 Extirpated?
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 1
Fish Crow 1
Common Raven 1
Carolina Chickadee 1
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Carolina x Black-capped Chickadee (hybrid) 1
Tufted Titmouse 1
Horned Lark 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1
Purple Martin 1
Tree Swallow 1
Bank Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 1
Barn Swallow (American) 1
Cliff Swallow 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Brown Creeper 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
House Wren 1
Winter Wren 1
Sedge Wren 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Marsh Wren 1
Carolina Wren 1
European Starling 1
Gray Catbird 1
Brown Thrasher 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
Eastern Bluebird 1
Veery 1
Hermit Thrush 1
Wood Thrush 1
American Robin 1
Cedar Waxwing 1
House Sparrow 1
House Finch 1
Purple Finch 1
Red Crossbill 1 Exceedingly rare breeder. Flight years.
White-winged Crossbill 1 Exceedingly rare breeder. Flight years.
Pine Siskin 1 Exceedingly rare breeder. Flight years.
American Goldfinch 1
Grasshopper Sparrow 1
Chipping Sparrow 1
Field Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 1
White-throated Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco x White-throated Sparrow (hybrid) 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Vesper Sparrow 1
Seaside Sparrow 1
Saltmarsh Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 1
Henslow's Sparrow 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Song Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 1
Eastern Towhee 1
Yellow-breasted Chat 1
Bobolink 1
Eastern Meadowlark 1
Orchard Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 1
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Common Grackle 1
Boat-tailed Grackle 1
Ovenbird 1
Worm-eating Warbler 1
Louisiana Waterthrush 1
Northern Waterthrush 1
Golden-winged Warbler 1
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Golden-winged x Blue-winged Warbler (hybrid) 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Brewster's Warbler (hybrid) 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Lawrence's Warbler (hybrid) 1 Exceedingly rare breeder.
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Prothonotary Warbler 1
Swainson's Warbler 1 Exceedingly rare breeder. Locations should be kept confidential to keep people from taping them.
Nashville Warbler 1
Mourning Warbler 1
Kentucky Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Hooded Warbler 1
American Redstart 1
Cerulean Warbler 1
Northern Parula 1
Cerulean Warbler 1
Magnolia Warbler 1
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 1and 
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 Exceedingly rare breeder. Highlands.
Yellow-throated Warbler 1
Prairie Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Canada Warbler 1
Summer Tanager 1
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Blue Grosbeak 1
Indigo Bunting 1
Painted Bunting 1 Apparently bred ocean county, no proof at hand.
Dickcissel 1

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (