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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Sandra Keller

February 15, 2010
"North Shore", NJ

Our trip to the North Shore was cut a few hours short because of an impending snow storm, but we still managed to hit some of the better known and productive spots up here. This has been one of the snowiest winters on record and, yes, we had to deal with 2 ft. snowbanks in spots to get to some ocean overlooks.

But we managed! We had 47 species in our 4 hours of birding the area.
We birded areas to the north of Shark River and then left for home.

Shark River
Inlet itself was quiet was we enjoyed BRANT feeding. A strange site here was an AMERICAN WIGEON pair in the inlet itself. Not their usual habitat to say the least!

The Conover Pavillion overlook was also a bit quiet. Loads of COMMON LOONS were on the ocean - some in quite close. The north shore region does seem to have a good number of this loon. The public streets overlooking the jetties in Deal were quite productive with SURF and BLACK SCOTERS, COMMON EIDER, RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, LONG-TAILED DUCKS, GREAT CORMORANTS, etc. We missed Purple Sandpiper which is strange. Some are usually around a couple of the jetties.
Our only shorebird was SANDERLING.

Lake Takanassee was the only pond with open water. Quite likely the sheer numbers of birds were helping to keep it open also. Again, nothing out of the ordinary, but nice looks at many different species like GREEN-WINGED TEAL, RING-NECKED DUCK, HOODED MERGANSERS, RUDDY DUCKS, GADWALL, etc. We tried every possible place that the "Common" Teal could be with no success. The gulls were just the usual three wintering gulls. No sign of any Bonapartes or white-winged gulls. My lack of scouting didn't help! Two previous snow storms wiped out any chance I had of scouting beforehand.
We picked up a lot of passerines here like YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, JUNCOS, BLUE JAYS, etc.

The Shark River itself was free of ice. We picked up more species here like BUFFLEHEAD and an adult BALD EAGLE that flew over. That bird was probably one of the pair that nests nearby. The sheer numbers of birds here was spectacular! The BRANT must have been in the thousands. As we were leaving for the day, at least 2 Harbour Seals put on a show for us right by the dock area. Hard to tell exactly how many as they would pop up and down! Cute.

I would like to thank all the participants for helping spot the birds and helping each other get onto everything. I will be running this trip annually in February.

Sandra Keller