Monday, May 21, 2007

Weekend Roundup

riday was my first trip ever to Braddock (North Hudson) Park in North Bergen and it lived up to the hype I'd heard from other Hudson County birders. What it lacks in shorebird opportunities, it more than makes up for in arboreal habitat, with extensive trails through a mature deciduous forest with a continuum of understory ranging from tangled thicket to damp, muddy openings. There's also a large pond with a wooded central island and several acres of old-growth-over-grass parkland.

Temperatures were a bit on the cool side, and I experienced numbness in my fingers on a few extended viewings, but it was well worth it. Lots of warbler variety: Life-list Wilson's (yeah, I'm a n00b), Chestnut-sided, Blackpoll, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Yellowthroat, Black-and-white, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Ovenbird, Redstart and Magnolia. Warbling and Red-eyed Vireo were also about, as were Hermit Thrush and Veery. Over the pond, Barn and Northern Rough-winged Swallows were swooping in big numbers -- 30+ of each -- and pausing occasionally to perch on the coping for nice, clear looks.

Saturday, I hopped the train to Liberty State Park to track down some shorebirds that had been mentioned on the Jersey Birds list as having shown up in the marsh and mudflats: Dunlin, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Black-bellied Plover and Short-billed Dowitcher. I was able to spot a half-dozen each of Dunlin and Dows, and 10-12 Semipalmated Sandpipers, but the only plover around were Semipalmated. Singletons of Glossy Ibis and Yellow-crowned Night Heron livened things up a bit. The big treat was on the way in though, as several Grasshopper Sparrows were buzzing on the fenceline.

Sunday I managed only a quick trip to LSP, with little to report from the scrape and mudflats except a Northern Waterthrush, finally. First of year after four weeks of trying.

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