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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Frank Windfelder

September 30, 2006
TUCKERTON MARSHES, NJ

Summary of trips 1997-2006 (excluding 2002) (*.pdf file)

Unlike last year’s gloomy forecast for the trip, the good weather had my hopes high. Even better, an illustrious dignitary named Adrian Binns was to join us. The only downside was that three of the participants were named Bob Shaffer, Win Shafer, and Henry Schaefer. Couldn’t they at least have gotten together on the spelling?

At the starting point at the end of Great Bay Boulevard, we walked out into the marsh so as to have the sun at our backs, formed a line, and moved in on the birds. Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows seemed to be everywhere, and soon we spotted our first Nelson’s. We were to see five more, and some Seaside Sparrows too. The Nelson’s Sparrows were lifers for several people.

I was still laughing at Adrian’s Seaside Sparrow (real name Red-winged Blackbird), when I shouted, “Bonaparte’s Gull”. To my chagrin, it was just a basic-plumaged Laughing Gull in disguise. Must I ever play the fool?

There was a Merlin, a couple of Peregrines, a few Royal Terns and Brown Pelicans, and a Tricolored Heron that I almost stepped on. Doris McGovern confirmed that the heron was an immature, based upon the brown on the wing coverts. On our way out, we had great looks at about a dozen Western Willets, a juvenile Short-billed Dowitcher, and an immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. However, there were very few migrant passerines at Tuckerton, so we moved on to Forsythe.

The birding was really slow on the south dike, except for a single Bobolink and a Pied-billed Grebe. We did much better on the north dike, where we found a beautiful juvenile American Golden-Plover. It was a rich golden in color. I tried my best to make it into something even rarer, but a lingering Don Jones and Augie Sexhauer re-found it and a second one, and concluded they were just the American variety.

As we neared the end of the north dike, two really close juvenile Long-billed Dowitchers put on quite a show. It was a perfect ending to a great day. Other participants were Jim Deasey, Bob Horton, Debbie Beer, Tom and Margot Southerland, Alice Sevareid, Buster Roff, Susan and Warner Jarrigan, Tom Reeves, Joe Del Santro, and Dennis and Anna Bert.


Frank Windfelder
Philadelphia, PA

 


Image above by Bob Horton

Image above by Margot Southerland


Images above by Adrian Binns