Saturday, December 21, 2013

A North Jersey Christmas Bird Count

[You know you're not in Cape May when you see one of these! Male Pileated Woodpecker digiscoped by my son Don at Delaware Lake WMA in Warren County, NJ today.  Pileateds can be sexed by the color of the "moustache," red in males. Although fairly common north and south of Southern NJ, Pileateds occur in Cape May only rarely. Click to enlarge photos.]

It was a wonderful, weirdly warm day for a Christmas Bird Count, in this case the Walnut Valley count, up in and around the Delaware Water Gap on the NJ/PA border. We've got a plum of a territory, both sides of the Delaware River south of the Gap, and today it produced the goods, including a pair of Common Ravens, Bald Eagles, Winter Wrens, Fox Sparrows, towhees, creepers, kinglets, the expected sextet of woodpeckers (Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, flicker, sapsucker and the king, Pileated), and two birds especially good for the location: a lost hen Long-tailed Duck on the river when it should be on the ocean, and five Tundra Swans that flew overhead. The Tundra Swans were a coveted "count first," while the Long-tailed Duck was only the second ever for the count.
[Female Long-tailed Duck in the Delaware River near Portland, PA today - very rare for the location and one of those great CBC surprises one sometimes gets. Digiscoped by my son Don.]


  1. Hallo Don, I saw your picture of the Long-tailed Duck and it is remarkeble that i see the same species in Holland last week. See my blog. In Holland it is also a rare bird.