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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Sandra Keller

September 13, 2012
Stone Harbor Point, NJ

Our annual Stone Harbor - Nummy's Island trip was a bit different this year. I decided to concentrate on terns this year - which means a completely different tide and locations. Unfortunately, we did not find a Sandwich Tern - that was the main goal! - but we had a great trip studying terns nonetheless! We started at low tide at Hereford Inlet. Many ROYAL TERNS - with which Sandwich associates - were roosting on the exposed sand bars. COMMON and FORSTER'S TERNS were also there in excellent numbers for a good comparison between these two sometimes difficult to differentiate species. Four BROWN PELICANS, RED KNOTS, SANDERLINGS, and a few other species were around.

I decided to take us to Cape May Point as SANDWICH TERNS were reported from the previous day. Alas, by the time we arrived and started birding down there, most of the close beaches were loaded with vacationers which forces the terns to more remote spots to roost. We never found any close concentrations of ROYAL TERNS to scan well for a SANDWICH.

Bunker Pond was an unexpected surprise - again, many COMMON and FORSTER'S TERNS - this time really close for excellent views, 1 LEAST, 1 BLACK, and a lone juvenile GULL-BILLED TERN rounded out the scene. 4 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were on the beach at the State Park - in among GREATERS. This species has become more common in the state now than even 5 or 6 years ago. "Western" WILLET, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, LEAST and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, KILLDEER, and SEMIPALMATED PLOVER were along the edges of the Bunker Pond.

A late run to that sandbar at the north end of Nummy's Island was disappointing as the incoming tide had covered the exposed sand by then leaving no shorebirds in sight!
Two MARBLED GODWITS were there at 10:45AM before the start of the official trip. An adult YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON flew into the roost there at the island for our "best" bird here.

I will be running the trip again next year, probably a week later, and will stay in the Stone Harbor region. Any questions on this year's trip, suggestions for improvement, requests for the bird list, etc. - please email me

Thank you to all the participants!

Sandra Keller