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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Tony Croasdale

January 22, 2012 (Sunday)
Cumberland and Cape May Counties, New Jersey

Three members and 2 non-members met at the WaWa. We headed to Miami Beach in the Villas to follow up on reports of good gulls on the Bayshore. We struck out on the gulls and decided to head to Avalon to look for sea ducks. At Avalon we observed black and surf scoters and long-tailed ducks. It was quite windy so we only briefly ventured out on the jetty but were rewarded with a flock of eight common eiders that flew in. From there we headed to Heislerville Wildlife Management Area to find more ducks. We had good looks at bufflehead, a hen long-tailed duck, hooded and red-breasted mergansers as well as an assortment of puddle ducks including gadwall and pintail. Here we spotted the first two of the many bald eagles we saw during the day. We then headed to Husted Landing to try and locate the sandhill crane flock. We were unsucessful with the cranes for the first time on this trip despite coming back to the usual location and scouting the area. Apparently the farmer didn't plant corn in the field the cranes had been visiting this year. We did get to see at least half-a-dozen more eagles including a pair attending to a nest on the road to Sea Breeze. At Husted landing we had a very cooperative merlin and many eastern bluebirds. Despite missing the cranes everyone had a lovely time in the salt marshes of the Bayshore.