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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Frank Windfelder

October 16, 2011
TUCKERTON MARSHES, NJ and THE FORSYTHE NWR AT BRIGANTINE

Summary of trips 2002-2011 (*.pdf file)


I had moved the meeting time up to 7:00 AM, due to tide conditions. When I got stuck at the first light on Seven Bridges Road, a couple of sparrows were feeding on the edge of the roadside. One of them was a Clay-colored Sparrow. Was this a harbinger of things to come? No!!!

The group assembled at the end of the road, and we started off into the marsh. Two problems: There weren’t as many sparrows as usual, and it was breezy, so the ones present refused to perch up. We did see about 15 Saltmarsh Sparrows, and at least 2 Nelson’s, one a nelsoni and the other a subvirgatus. We got the usual bay species, Forster’s and Royal Terns, and lots of gulls. A juvenile Semipalmated Plover was on the shoreline.

We then reassembled and headed back out, birding along the way. We saw a couple each of Western Willets and Long-billed Dowitchers, and many hundreds of Black-bellied Plovers, along with several other species of shorebirds. Todd Fellenbaum spotted a Merlin in flight.

I had an unexpected conflict with family matters, and had to head home. Nick Kontonicolas stayed longer, and found singles of Little Blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and Osprey, along with an immature Bald Eagle.

Herc Hoffman and Joe Donahue were able to get over to Absecon Inlet, where they had 52 Marbled Godwits, 100+ Black Skimmers, 20 American Oystercatchers, 75 Western Willets and a Caspian Tern.

They continued to Brigantine, where they had 40 Snowy Egrets, 75 Snow Geese, 1000+ Double-crested Cormorants, 2000+ Dunlin, and a Pied-billed Grebe. An American Avocet and Wilson’s Phalarope were reported in the AM, but they dipped on those.

Bob Shaffer also got to Brig, where he added Yellow-headed Blackbird and American Bittern.

This whole area is amazing at this time of year, as you can see by all these great birds. Other participants were Marty Dellwo, Susan and Warner Jarnegan, Phil Dzugan, Deidre and Dawn Asbjorn, Bob Brezak, and Cliff and Nancy Hence.

Frank Windfelder
Philadelphia, PA