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Field Trip Report
by Frank Windfelder (leader)

October 11, 2003


It seemed like the birding gods were against us. We met at 7:30 AM at the end of Great Bay Blvd,only to be confronted by very strong winds and an impossibly high full-moon tide.

But we had a great day. Even as we gathered, 750 to 1000 Double-crested Cormorants were observed winging their way south in huge skeins. We were even able to locate 3 Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrows of the race subvirgatus, despite the tidal situation. Of course we had Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed and Seaside Sparrows as well.

However, the highlight at Tuckerton was a Clay-colored Sparrow that gave us crippling views. Where else could it go to get away from us, surrounded by many square miles of salt marsh?

We also had Tri-colored Herons there, along with Peregrine and Merlin.

We moved onto Brigantine, where we were able to scope a perched immature Peregrine at close range. Those talons were impressive ! We also had numbers of shorebirds and ducks there, including Stilt and Western Sandpipers.

Finally, we moved on to Absecon Inlet where we witnessed an incredible display of 40 Marbled Godwits, 100 Western Willets, 50 American Oystercatchers, and 200 Black Skimmers. What a great way to end what turned out to be a splendid birding day.

One of the participants, Denise Bittle, had 4 life birds. Other participants were Nancy Cooke, Tom McParland, Butch Lischman, Jean Gutsmuth, Kate Sommerville, Tom and Margo Sotherland, Henry Schaefer, Sandra Keller, Herc Hoffman, Andy Urquhart, Chris Walters & Doris McGovern.

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