First....the image above was beautifully shot by Howie Williams so I want to give credit due to those whom I borrow images from for this site. Thanks Howie...
Now....these past couple of weeks have simply been non-birding weeks for me....too much work and as of late, Thanksgiving and NYC and grandsons and daughters and son-in-laws etc.... But fun to say, although not birding.
Yesterday as I drove back from NYC,...egads...a country boy like me driving in NYC .... (Do you remember that commercial a few years back where they were advertising their competitors to have had their Picante sauce made in New York City? I have to laugh now every time I am in NYC as that commercial just rings a bell to me,...me, a country lad in NYC). Well I made my mind up to do some birding and Saturday was beautiful outside...in the 60's. So, on Sunday, I was going out birding.
I woke up to rain,...and weather in the 40's. Wherever I was going was not going to be far. So I looked on my e-bird email and there must have been 15 sightings of this Scissor-tailed birdie around the Experimental Pond. That was a strong temptation to venture just down the road a bit.
I arrived at Forsythe with the intention of doing some birding and making it back to watch the Seahawk game on TV, as any true Northwesterner would do. I did the usual drive with little to show for it since it was high tide and I must admit, I had a purpose here. Scissor-tails. Now, this ain't west Texas and they are not abound on a grand scale. Scissor-tails are about as abundant down there on wires as Savannahs are here in the reeds along the drive. What was this Scissor-tailed doing here anyhow? How does a bird get 'that lost'? I know they have been here in Jersey-land prior, such as in last year I believe, and the year before. Is this the same one that shows up each year? Come on man, get a life bird, figure it out.
Now, along the drive, I did stop--attempting to ID some Cackling Goose from Canada, but nada...they looked to be the same. Although one goose had my eye as the black in the neck went deep down, almost covered by water.
After heading out on the last stretch and into the woods, past Jen's trail and inward to the turn-off to Experimental Pond, I found where all of the cars and people were. Right here..... down the road there must have been a dozen folks, strewn up and down...some with bins glued to their eyeballs, some not, some with hands in pocket and others milling around like they were at a bar, minus any beers...nere that I could tell.
Being cold outside....I slid my car to the side of the road and just watched. If they weren't finding any with 24 eyeballs, ....what more would my two eyeballs make and besides, it was cold...... And I had no gloves. I need to get some of those gloves, you know, the kind with just the tips of my fingers exposed. Anyhow....I waited, they walked. I waited and watched them walk. Waited and Watched... Somewhat reluctantly after 15 minutes of playing that game, I pulled myself from the car, put on my warm jacket and met up with the 12.
I poked around like I was there as long as they were, or pretended to be. Some of those folks were there for upwards of 2-3 hours, all the time peering out looking for that elusive scissor-tail which was reported on e-bird 15x just yesterday, and those were the ones that merely 'reported' it!...Today...nothing. None the less, I felt like I was part of the group even though I stole no more than a moment or two, just to pretend I was 'one of them," I was 'one of the clique'... .
Now, while I have not seen a scissor-tailed here in Jersey land, I have seen em, so I was not all that excited about missing my Seahawk game, ...which meant I moved on. So on Monday when I receive my e-bird report, I will just have to see if they were successful and if so, I can always return. But hey Howie saw it so that is somewhat good enough for me at the moment.
At the Meadows, at the Meadows
Was a lone....little ibis
He was a White-face, a White-face...
He was a White-faced Ibis indeed.
He was foraging, he was foraging, he was foraging
He was foraging and a-foraging
At the Meadow, yes he was.
Now my ibis, my little ibis...
You are so cute indeed....
You look so close to a Glossy, yes a Glossy...you look like.
But everyone tells me, yes they tell me...
That you are a White-faced....you were and still arrrrree
A white-faced, to me-e to me-e to me.
Some folks in Cape May-ay...in Cape May-ay
Indeed, they tell me that you are a White-faced
But others saaayyeeeeee
Just maybe, may-A-A-A-be.
But I am not so anal,...so anal...so anal...
I am not...
I am willing to accept you...
For what you are...
Indeed a White-faced.
NOW........Sung in the tune of Clementine (go back and sing it...I know you want to)...and the video was shot of this White-faced Ibis on the first leg of the walk (right side to the beach), and found just near the bridge about 3/4 down the path. Everyone says...'White -faced', although there are 1-2 in the Cape May Traditional Establishment that question it. Perhaps we don't need to be so questioning of everything. If it looks like a White-faced...then perhaps, just perhaps,...we can just say it is a White-faced without having to always have a huge debate or send a team out to establish DNA conclusive results. Let's take life easy man...far out dude....cool, a white-ibis.
I had the fortune of being on the last AAS bird walk of the season so when Sunday came, and I forgot to set my 'new time'....I was disappointed that I didn't meet all at Avalon, but...enjoyed my day prior... (read blog directly before this one).
Now...a dull afternoon at Avalon Sea Bird watch but I just wanted to give accolades to the 'counter'.... He is from Michigan and I have nothing against that fine state, in fact...a lovely Kirkland Warbler species is from there. But what I enjoyed about today, was how 'he' (I never got his name), befriended a nice lad and helped him bird.
This lad was from Carolina and his dad was with him. Now, his dad wasn't a birder...but obviously allowed his son the time to bird and enjoy this interest. I applauded the dad and spoke to him on the way to my car. It is nice to see good parents who care about their kids and kids who are taking interest in birding.
But this young man of 11-12 years had a set of bins, but no scope. And, it is a bit difficult to sea watch without some bionic eyes. So the 'counter' ...was nice enough to set up a 'scope' for this young man. The 'counter' was nice enough to point out the flying Scoters or Gannet's. The 'counter' talked to him and asked him why he was interested in birding and what drew him to it. I was impressed. It is nice to see birding ambassadors such as this man was.... he was truly here not 'just to count' but to educate and to welcome in all new-comers as this young man was. Bravo......
My hat is off to the Avalon Counter....as he might be named in birding lore.
Well...as evident....I am still a bit on the horizontal side in terms of my videos.... so, just twist your neck and you will get the jest.
But....how exciting and sad at the same time...the last AAS walk of the fall 2015 migratory season. Kevin did a great job of leading us. Yet, what a great walk....the weather was fine although just a tad on the nippy side initially and we had a goodly sum of folks who came along. Probably a dozen...maybe 13?
Some walks are just 'ho ho'....others are 'ho! ho!"....this was the latter. Now I was down at Avalon (in the pm as I forget about he clock change) and was talking to a couple down there on Sunday who heard about our great adventure the previous outing at Forsythe. We encountered this beautiful Golden Eagle soaring high. What a find..... One doesn't come across Goldens like we do Baldies so to find one and be able to observe in detail was a treat but it was the day after Halloween so somewhat expected I suppose. This guy started off on the horizon and slowly soared towards us as we were walking around Experimental Pond. With each evolution of a soar, it came closer until it was right above us as we used our best warbler necks to start straight up. But the pattern of the wing below matched perfectly and as it soared and slanted with the arc, the 'golden' part of what makes it a Golden Eagle became clear as it glistened in the sun. Simple a fantastic and 'far out site'.
And to boot....a mature and an immature bald eagle followed up, so it was easy to almost make side-by-side comparisons.
Now, prior to this, Kevin led us down the 'off limits' area on the far side of Experimental Pond and were treated to Bittern, 'snubbing' us as the beak pointed up in their behavioral stance. A solid 5 minutes of 'us' just viewing 'it'....before it meandered across a bit of water to the other side. As we proceeded our way down the walk, we spooked it to fly away, along with a Northern Harrier who we had no idea was also hiding in the reeds. So it goes to show you, no matter what you think you might have found...others 'lurk'...
Speaking of lurking....a Sora 'spoke' to us, just once....but enough for us to gather it was within our midst. On the walk to Gull Tower, the Sora ID'd him/herself. No visual, just a nice loud sound.
Other highlights included multiple raptors with Peregrines, Red Shouldered's eating away at breakfast far off in the distance but allowed us to view a silhouette, a Red Tailed, a late Osprey....a Coopers which we played with as we followed along the back leg of our journey.
Hmmmm....a nice looking Wilson's Snipe in flight.....and 10 species of duck, including the first Hood Merganser of the year; which only points to 'winter' setting in. No one was exactly thrilled by that, including the Mallards which shed themselves of their neighbor who flew in and landed next to them. No use being apart of winter...no, no use.
All in all....a great walk....accompanied by birds and humans and among all things, something I have never seen nor heard of...a "SUNDOG". Now, as I was told, a Sundog is a double rainbow. The sun is in the middle and the rainbow almost arcs around and touches a cloud on each side. The picture below, is of the left rainbow but the iPhone didn't really capture the colors. Anyhow, did you know what a Sundog was? I have been active and outside my entire life and this is a new 'learning experience' for me....'far out, simply far out of this world.