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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Martin Selzer

Sunday January 22, 2006

In addition to wonderful views of harlequin ducks all along the jetty, three themes were apparent on our field trip to Barnegat Light on Sunday 22-Jan-06.

First, it was a gorgeous winter’s day. We all commented how nice it actually was as we walked out jetty. It would not be a stretch to say it was warm and sunny. Anyone familiar with this walk will appreciate that a trip to Barnegat Light to see harlequins and the word warm do not often appear in the same sentence.

Second was the tremendous number of long-tailed ducks in the harbor waters and around the jetty. They were everywhere! We even had a group of 25+ birds near the jetty calling back and forth, very much as often can be heard with American wigeon.

Third was the large flock of common eider wintering at the jetty this year. At least 100 birds are there this year, including many adult drakes. We found them in the waves near the channel markers and north jetty. Try as we might we could not pick out the female king eider that had been reported.
While most of us walked out on top of the jetty, Al Driscoll and Don Jones walked the sand in hopes of scaring up any snow buntings that were around. The fact that it was easier walking had nothing to do with this magnanimous jester. They were successful as a modest sized flock of buntings were scared out of the sand onto the jetty immediately in front of the group. We all got quick looks before they took off for the north side of the inlet.

Our walk back to the lighthouse was notable for 4 horned larks found by Bert Filemyr and Deborah Danila. Our next stop was at Manahawkin where from the “bridge to nowhere” we spotted a distant perched dark raptor. In short order it took to flight and flew into the marsh in front of us. After a few minutes, it took flight again and this rough-legged hawk provided a wonderful study of its under wing and tail patterns. Our last stop was at the ponds at the Colony Lakes community. These can be good for diving ducks (according to Al and Don) but weren’t that way on this visit. That as we know is how birding can be sometimes.

Regardless, it was a great day. A complete list of birds seen on the trip accompanies this report.

Thanks to everyone who joined the trip and to Bert for his help co-leading.


Species Seen
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Mute Swan
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
American Black Duck
Common Eider
Harlequin Duck
Long-tailed Duck
Black Scoter
Surf Scoter
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
American Kestrel
American Coot
Ruddy Turnstone
Purple Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
American Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Horned Lark
American Robin
European Starling
House Sparrow
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Snow Bunting
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Meadowlark
Boat-tailed Grackle