Sunday, March 21, 2010

Little migration

Besides being just about the cutest little things with feathers, Piping Plovers are also Sandy Hook's 'flagship bird', and one of the rarer North American birds, with an estimated population of only several thousand pairs. I found four of them busy foraging, bathing and preening on the North Beach today.

The bird in the background appeared to be still mostly in winter plumage; the other three birds were in full breeding plumage.

Also on the North Beach today this Savannah Sparrow.

Small groups of Wilson's Snipe were seen flying over the platform each of the last few days.

Also a daily sight now are Northern Gannets, albeit still in very low numbers. The resident Ospreys still have not returned... or have they? Today, a male came flying in from the south, circled and hovered for at least five minutes over one of the nesting platforms, never landing, and then went fishing in the bay, not to be seen again for the rest of the day. Was that a nest owner returning to his nest, or was it a newby checking out real estate?

Little migration was apparent over Sandy Hook today, although a good number of Northern Flickers were seen in the first hour of the count. They were all seen flying northwest, toward the very last wooded patch on the Hook near the Coast Guard station. Later, around mid-morning, quite a few were seen returning from that spot. Probably not a good day for crossing the water then.

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