Monday, April 12, 2010

Migration advances

Last weekend I was fortunate to join an all day bird watching excursion in New Jersey with the Bedford Audubon Society.  The focus of our day's adventure was a lap around the Wildlife Drive at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.  This 47,000 acre refuge is protected and actively managed for migratory birds like waterfowl, wading birds, terns, plovers, and birds of prey like Osprey and Peregrine Falcon.

We were treated to incredibly beautiful weather and over fifty species of birds along the 7+ mile Wildlife Drive.  A number of the ducks we observed will soon be on their way north to their breeding grounds, and a variety of birds were beginning to show up from points south.  It was very interesting to see the end of one phase of migration and the beginning of another.  From my particular vantage point, I was happy and excited to see signs of passerine migration as indicated by sightings of Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Purple Martin.

After lunch, we began our journey back toward Westchester.  Along the way we made a birding detour at Sandy Hook National Recreation Area.  We observed a good variety of birds along the roadways, in the waters around the park, and from the observation platform at the very tip of the park. 

From the observation platform, we had a great view of Coney Island and the Mahattan skyline.  This same vantage point is where thousands of migrating birds pass overhead toward the city and points north during their spring migration.  The Palm Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Towhee, and other birds we observed will likely continue their journey north from that spit of sand jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Here are some photos from Sunday's birding excursion:
Brant flying at E.B. Forsythe NWR

Green-winged Teal at E.B. Forsythe NWR

Northern Shovelers at E.B. Forsythe NWR

Snowy Egret at E.B. Forsythe NWR

Little Blue Heron at E.B. Forsythe NWR

Osprey at Sandy Hook NRA

Red-tailed Hawk at Sandy Hook NRA

Killdeer at Sandy Hook NRA

-Adam Zorn, Naturalist

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