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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Tony Croasdale

February 8, 2009 (Sunday)
Manahawkin, New Jersey

Seven participants joined me for birding near Manahawkin NJ on a pleasant Sunday. We started birding at Barnegat Light State Park where we had both loons, long tailed ducks, surf and black scoter, harlequin ducks, black-bellied plover, dunlin and ruddy turnstones. A gorgeous “Ipswich” Savanna sparrow perched on the jetty for us giving great looks.

We never made it all the way out to the end of the jetty as a harbor seal was hauled out on the rocks at our feet and looked a little worse foe wear. The seal was obviously wounded with a gash visible on its head and blood on a rear flipper. We called the Marine Mammal Stranding Center and sent them some photos via Marty's I Phone. Unfortunately the seal was not in a safe place for capture, but the center told us it might just be fine on its own anyway.

We made our way over to Cedar Run Rock Road guided by Ocean County Resident Pete Mooney stopping to view some common goldeneye on the bay side of the island. We had some fly over American Pipits, many harriers and a big flock of greater scaup at the end of the road.

We spent the last few hours exploring Stafford Ave, also know as the bridge to nowhere. We had a distant rough-legged hawk and bald eagle over the marsh. We explored the trails through the woods and managed to find a box turtle! In the small ponds east of the trail we found a flock of over 70 hooded mergansers. We tried to find short-eared owls at the end of the day but the winds were two strong and nothing was moving. All in all it was a nice day of birding in some really cool habitat.