Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

Last Saturday, for the 6th consecutive year, I drove down to Barnegat Inlet with friends from the Upper Main Line YMCA earth service group for a day of incredible birding. The Barnegat jetty is famous for giving amazingly close views of beautiful shorebirds and sea ducks and on this unseasonably warm and sunny day in mid-March it did not come up short.
The action started in the parking lot, with a noisy flock of starlings and Boat-tailed Grackles flying from tree to tree and scaring up the occasional cardinal or Carolina Wren. A flyover flock of about a dozen Cedar Waxwings also made a brief appearance. Scanning a small patch of the inlet that could be seen from the parking lot, we found Long-tailed Ducks, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, and Greater Scaup, a good indication that there were lots more ducks to be found.
We headed towards the jetty and got amazing looks of Long-tailed Ducks and Common Loons less than 20 feet from us! As we watched the flock of Long-tailed Ducks diving and squabbling in the surf, a female Northern Harrier took off across the inlet and flew directly toward us before heading back to patrol the dunes. We also saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk circling the lighthouse for the majority of the time we spent at the jetty.
Leaving the relative safety of the concrete portion of the jetty and venturing out to the rocks, we were rewarded with even closer looks at Long-tailed Ducks, as well as Surf and Black Scoters, and the star of the show, Harlequin Ducks. Every year we are blown away by how close we can approach these brilliantly patterned birds and this year was no exception; either sitting on the rocks and preening or feeding in the surf, the harlequins showed little fear and provided incredible views.
Farther out on the jetty, we were shocked by just how many birds were out on the water. We made rough estimates of 300 Long-tailed Ducks, 250 Black Scoters, and 40 Surf Scoters. As we approached the very end of the jetty, we began seeing more ocean-going species, including Northern Gannets soaring far out at sea, Great Cormorants perched on channel markers, and a Common Eider or two mixed in with the Long-tailed Ducks.
The highlight of the day however was a relatively plain looking brown duck all on its own in the waves at the mouth of the inlet. The waves made it difficult to get a good look, but the field marks started slowly coming together. Eider-shaped, light brown in color, rounded head, stubby bill; eventually we came to the conclusion that we were looking at a female King Eider! While not necessarily unexpected at this location, it is still a rarity in the state of New Jersey and a very exciting find!
Once we had satisfied ourselves with long looks at the eider, we turned our attention towards the shorebirds that were practically at our feet. Ruddy Turnstones, Dunlin, and Purple Sandpipers allowed us to approach them until we were just a few feet away, and we watched as they huddled in the rocks and shifted position slightly with every splashing wave.
With the tide coming in and the rocks getting more slippery, we decided it was time to head back, skirting the flocks of shorebirds and walking back on the jetty until we could safely hop down to the beach. We walked back to the parking lot and discussed the birding spectacle we had just witnessed on possibly the best Barnegat trip in the 6 years since the tradition started.

Publicado el marzo 14, 2016 03:49 TARDE por nsharp nsharp

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Cuervo Pescador (Corvus ossifragus)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Estornino Pinto Eurasiático (Sturnus vulgaris)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Gavión Atlántico (Larus marinus)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Gaviota Plateada (Larus argentatus)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Cardenal Rojo (Cardinalis cardinalis)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Zanate Marismeño (Quiscalus major)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Gorrión Doméstico (Passer domesticus)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Pato Havelda (Clangula hyemalis)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Cuervo Norteamericano (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Saltapared de Carolina (Thryothorus ludovicianus)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Mirlo Primavera (Turdus migratorius)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Chinito (Bombycilla cedrorum)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Pato Monja (Bucephala albeola)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Chipe Rabadilla Amarilla (Setophaga coronata)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Porrón Bastardo (Aythya marila)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Colimbo Menor (Gavia stellata)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Gavilán Rastrero (Circus hudsonius)

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Marzo 2016

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Colimbo Común (Gavia immer)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Serreta Mediana (Mergus serrator)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Ganso de Collar (Branta bernicla)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Ostrero Americano (Haematopus palliatus)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Negreta Pico Amarillo (Melanitta americana)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Gavilán Pecho Canela (Accipiter striatus)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Negreta Nuca Blanca (Melanitta perspicillata)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Cormorán Grande (Phalacrocorax carbo)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Pato Arlequín (Histrionicus histrionicus)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Correlimos Común (Calidris alpina)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Alcatraz Atlántico (Morus bassanus)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Huilota Común (Zenaida macroura)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Carpintero de Pechera Común (Colaptes auratus)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Eider Común (Somateria mollissima)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Vuelvepiedras Común (Arenaria interpres)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Playero Oscuro (Calidris maritima)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Gorrión Cantor (Melospiza melodia)

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Marzo 12, 2016

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Eider Real (Somateria spectabilis)

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Marzo 12, 2016

Comentarios

Nice work, and congrats on the King Eider! Surprised you didn't have your camera on you for those in-your-face Long-tailed ducks!
Thanks, and keep up the great work on iNaturalist!
Sean

Publicado por sebeckett hace más de 8 años

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