Sunday, January 17, 2010

Home briefly

It is day 17 and I am home ever so briefly. I arrived back here yesterday afternoon after birding in New Jersey and Delaware on Friday. I began Friday early at one of my favorite birding spots--Brigantine NWR. It is located in mid Jersey just north of Atlantic City--I always find it a bit weird to bird at such a beautiful place with the skyline of Atlantic City looming on the horizon. It was a chilly but clear morning and after 90 minutes of driving the 9 mile tour route, I had seen over 30 species for the new week, and 2 of them were new for the year--mute swan and northern flicker.

I stopped briefly at the Shea Cafe which is right at the intersection of route #9 and the entrance road to Brigantine. This cafe is a wonderful example of a local place that makes excellent breakfasts and lunches. The owner has been there every time I have stopped in over the years, and is all about service and good food.

It took me 2 hours to drive over to Delaware to visit Bombay Hook again in hopes of tracking down the long earred owl, but once again I was unable to locate it. From there I headed down to Lewes, DE in an effort to find a black headed gull that had been seen recently at the Wolfe Neck wastewater treatment plant. After my google maps failed me, I finally found the place but the gulls were far out in a field feeding where they were spraying effluent from the plant. The facility limits access, so I was unable to get close enough to check out the feeding gulls. On the way down though I did see several bald eagles standing on the ice at Prime Hook beach, plus picked up 2 more species for the year--lesser black backed gull and greater yellow legs.

I ended my day in Washington, DC where I visited a very long time friend who lives there. We went into Silver Spring to have dinner at a place called Ray's the Classic. This is part of a restaurant group that received some press coverage last year when President Obama ate one of their acclaimed hamburgers at their Virginia location. I opted for Maryland crab royale instead because crab is a Maryland thing.

So after returning home the bird count for the year is now 191, and the count for week #3 is at 38. For the non-birders out there, you might be thinking that he is almost at 200 species seen already in just 2 weeks, so he will make it to 600+ birds easily and soon. But that is not the case. As I have said in an earlier post, there are many birds that are seemingly everywhere--crows, vultures, starlings, red tailed hawks, house sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, etc. So a big number after 2 weeks simply means I have been actively birding and covering quite a bit of territory (Tx, Fl, De, NJ, Ma). While the weekly numbers will probably average somewhere between 50-100 species seen, the number of new species for the year is going to slow down dramatically going forward. And as for new life birds, having 3 already does not mean that I am on a pace for 75 new life birds. In fact, I expect to only see 20-25 new life birds throughout 2010.

Minnesota is the next birding stop to look for some key winter birds like the great gray owl--one of my favorites. Stay tuned!


  1. chris: Why don't you focus on me and my 16 years of tracking Northern Goshawks in cities and suburbs. There is no individual nor organization, such as the w.O.S. (Washington Ornithological Society) or the Skagit and Island County Audubon Societies, that has more of an understanding of Goshawk migration, habitat, and distribution. The best- Nelson Briefer -Goshawk Specialist- Tucson, Texas, and Anacortes, WA. Please heed - subtitle- How to find, observe, and identify Goshawks.

  2. What kind of geese are those in the photo up top?
    Saw a flock of flickers at the creek here at home on Sunday! Good luck on that owl.