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DVOC Field Trip Report
Pictures by Chris Walters

March 12, 2011
Barnegat Light, New Jersey

This is the Trip Report for our March 12 half-day trip to Barnegat Light and Brigantine (Forsythe) NWR, with highlights of Redheads, Tundra Swan, Harlequin Ducks, Ipswich (Savannah) Sparrow, Common Eiders, Surf and Black Scoters, Purple Sandpipers, Oystercatchers, Great Cormorants, 3000 Snow Geese, and Peregrine Falcon.

Duck migration was well underway as over a dozen Upper Main Line YMCA birders, plus four DVOCers, met at Barnegat at 9 am and braved robust Southwest winds to explore Barnegat Light and Brigantine NWR. Northern Pintails and Shovelers outnumbered the Green-winged Teal, Ruddy Ducks, and Hooded Mergansers at Brigantine Refuge, while Buffleheads outnumbered the Common Goldeneyes and Red-breasted mergansers back on the bayside of Barnegat. The Redheads (several) and Tundra Swan (one) and Snow Geese and Peregrine were all spotted at Brigantine.

Out on the long Barnegat Light jetty earlier, we all had 40+ beautiful Harlequin Ducks, plus Purple Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, Dunlin, and a lone Sanderling hugging the jetty. Joining them there was an Ipswich Sparrow, usually found only among the winter sand dunes.

Other sightings from the jetty were 100+ Common Eider, a few male Black and Surf Scoters ("Skunkheads"), many Common and one Red-throated Loon, plus plenty of Long-tailed Ducks ("Oldsquaw"), with several Great Cormorants and Oystercatchers. Everyone managed to navigate the jetty's tricks without incident, even as the tide crested high, and our scopes brought views closer where needed. None at all were needed for the Harlequins, however, which posed in delight at close range as the photographers among us snapped away.

The day proved sunny and mild despite the winds, making this year's trip quite tolerable. All enjoyed themselves and after five hours in the field incl'g lunch, the group headed for home about 2 pm.