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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Frank Windfelder
October 4, 2008
TUCKERTON MARSHES, NJ and THE FORSYTHE NWR AT BRIGANTINE
Summary of trips 1998-2008 (*.pdf file)
Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow (probably nelsoni race)
Photo by Jane Huang
What can I say? It was a great day, with perfect weather, perfect tides (low), and great company. Twenty-two participants formed a line in the Tuckerton marsh, until Martin Dellwo became the number one star by finding the target bird. His Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow put on quite a show for everyone. This individual of the race nelsoni was a lifer for some. We also found another Nelson’s, but of the race subvirgatus.
Tuckerton also produced some other great birds, including 2 each of Brown Pelican and Caspian Tern, and 2 Clapper Rails. Both Marsh Wren and White-eyed Vireo were new for the trip. Some species were in amazing numbers, such as at least 2000 Tree Swallows and over 200 Boat-tailed Grackles.
We then made the journey down Route 9 to the Brigantine Division of Forsythe NWR. The best birds there were 5 American Avocets, 6 Stilt Sandpipers, 2 White-rumped and 3 Western Sandpipers, and a single Long-billed Dowitcher. Chris Walters got us on an Eastern Bluebird, another new bird for the trip. Debbie Beer and company spotted two juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Herons.
Sparrow numbers and variety were very low. It seems that in recent years, the migration of these species has gotten later, which is probably why we have been missing them.