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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Tony Croasdale

January 23, 2011 (Sunday)
Husted Landing, New Jersey

Seven members and non members of the DVOC braved the cold and wind this morning to bird the Villas WMA before the main trip to see the cranes. The Villas was packed full of gorgeous Eastern Bluebirds today. The only really unusual bird was a common loon on the large pond in front of the old clubhouse, it was joined by many Ring-necked Ducks, Mallard, American Wigeon and lesser numbers of Bufflehead,coot and a lone hen Green-winged Teal. While we didn't see the Red-headed Woodpeckers or anything particularity interesting the Villas was very birdy and seeing bluebirds everywhere you looked made it hard to be to bummed about the cold.

We retreated to the warm of our vehicles and headed to Wawa to pick up two more participants and headed to turkey Point to eat lunch. It was extremely cold and very windy and we didn't see much besides a few harriers so we decided to head straight to Husted Landing. We were greeted by an adult perched Bald Eagle right in the marina. We had good looks at a male harrier or the 'gray ghost' and hooded mergansers but the cranes were no where to be found. We decided to head to Sea Breeze to see if anything was on the bay. The bay was a basically a slurpee and nothing was on it but we did see a pair of bald eagles on the nest, a Kestrel and a Merlin.

Back at Husted Landing a resident invited us to view the three Sandhill Cranes in his yard! We gladly accepted and watched the trio for a little bit before they flew off. Three Eastern Meadowlarks landed in the field and the gray ghost returned. We tried to relocate the crane sand see if the rest with the mysterious Common Crane was with them, but alas the cold and wind prevailed and we decided to call it a day. We were treated to a trio of Savannah Sparrows on our way out.

A cold but lovely day to spend in the field with even lovelier people. Much thanks to Steven Mattan for his information on amateur astronomy. Now even darkness cannot stop me from from buying more optics!