Sunday, May 4, 2014

Along the Roads of Belleplain

 [Ovenbird along Pine Swamp Road in Belleplain State Forest, NJ today.]

My favorite birding companion has a knee injury that confines us to roadside birding for the time being, but the roadside birding was mighty good in Belleplain State Forest today.  Ovenbirds, arriving in droves in recent days, postured and even battled for territory right in front of us, often strutting up and down the roadway edges, singing from perches low and high, and otherwise clearly advertising their presence to rivals.  Visions of Ovenbird as a peaceful bird were shattered as we watched several engage in bill to feather combat, struggling with each other on the ground and then launching into short pursuits into nearby cover.  It was quite the show. Once more I am reminded of the fact that the fun in birding really starts after you've identified the bird and then spend time watching it.

A Hooded Warbler also did a rare thing and cooperated by landing on the road in front of us, also flying back and forth across several times and landing on exposed perches.  I swear with my right hand on the Sibley guide that we don't use recordings in heavily birded Belleplain, and were just lucky to be in the right spot at the right time.

Other sightings included a Broad-winged Hawk overhead near the famous Belleplain "triangle" near Sunset Bridge, a singing Louisiana Waterthrush and Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Wood-pewee in, etc.  A good morning.
[You gotta like it when Hooded Warblers cooperate, like this one near the triangle in Belleplain.]

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