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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Tony Croasdale

January 24, 2010 (Sunday)
Husted Landing, New Jersey

We started the day off with a pre-trip to the Villas Wildlife Management Area in Cape May County. This is an old golf course for Schmidts Brewery that has been purchased by the sate of New Jersey. This spot sort of looks like a pine-oak savanna with a few ponds. I really like seeing the islands of pitch pines with thickets of holly surrounded by grasses. We had a really cooperative female merlin perched in a pitch pine that gave us fantastic looks. Other birds of note was an American tree sparrow and a hermit thrush. We stopped at Beaver Swamp on the way to meet the group and had the female bald eagle on the nest.

At noon we met up with 13 members and non-members of the DVOC and Wawa and headed to Turkey Point near Dividing Creek in Cumberland County. We stopped on the Maple Ave causeway to see what ducks were around. We had many black, bufflehead and common mergansers as well as mute swans. We had an immature bald eagle and saw the eagle nest but didn't see any attending birds. We would see 6 bald eagles for the day. Here we found the bird the day, a snow bunting, which was a most pleasant surprise. There wasn't much to bee seen at the Turkey Point observation deck and bridge besides harriers.

We headed to the final destination of Husted Landing for our target birds, the sandhill cranes. Seven cranes were there foraging in the salt hay. There cranes were there the whole time we where there and the rest of the flock never came in. We were hoping to see the common crane that is part of this flock. We were also treated to a beautiful 'gray ghost' male harrier. After greeting our fill of the cranes we stopped in to visit Dr Pete and his family who owns the land around Husted Landing. He was nice enough to show us his waterfowl collection, which included ringed teal, Mandarin ducks, and common pochards. He also has a stunning 'Nellie Stevens' holly in his yard. It was a nice trip indeed.