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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.

Frank Windfelder
Philadelphia, PA