Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ocean City Birding

We drove down to Ocean City, NJ to join in a surprise party to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday.  I did some birding in the free time between planned events.

The first place I birded was the perimeter of the parking lot of our hotel in Somers Point, NJ.  The hotel was right at the edge of the marsh.  Pre-Hurricane Sandy it might have even had a dock that went out into the marsh, but that lay in pieces, along with a boat of some sort, along the very edge of the marsh.  I doubt anyone is going to repair it at this point.  It'd be nice if they cleaned up the debris.

Glossy Ibis (a life bird)

Great Egret

Willet (a life bird)

Red-Winged Blackbird

I also took a couple walks on the beach, hoping for sandpipers.  Nothing but gulls.  Still, I don't see these Laughing Gulls that often around here, and I think they're pretty.  They are noisy, though.  I guess most gulls are!

I should mention that the beaches are still being restored after Hurricane Sandy.  Sand is being dredged from out in the channel through huge pipes laid across the beaches.  They have created sand "ramps" across these pipes so you can get to the other side to walk by the water, but the pipes do divide the beach and they are painted with warnings "High Pressure - Stay Back".  I wonder if all this construction work is keeping the smaller birds away?  My brother-in-law mentioned that he notices the whenever they do dredging it affects all the living creatures in the ocean for quite some time.   He's noticed even the seaweed is gone for a long time.  And the dolphins that had been keeping the surfers company prior to the dredging are now gone.

Laughing Gull

Friday afternoon, when others were heading up to Atlantic City for a little gambling, Georgie and I stopped at the Stainton Wildlife Refuge, a freshwater marsh right across from the airport with a 2-story viewing platform right at the roadway.

Little Blue Heron

Northern Shoveler


Willet in flight

Boat-Tailed Grackle (a life bird)

It seemed like there were Great Egrets to be seen from every road where the marsh was in sight.  Finally, there was a place to pull over, and I was able to get a photograph.  What a neat bird!

 Great Egret

Nesting Ospreys

Saturday afternoon, George and I took a quick ride to visit the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge.  One of the first things we noticed was there were a lot of little blue butterflies on both sides of the road.  Some were Spring Azures and others were Eastern-Tailed Blues.

Eastern-Tailed Blue

We drove the road through the refuge out to where it dead-ended at the beach and then walked on the beach.  

poss. Diamond Terrapin turtle, crossing the road

Now you can see how small he really was....

Snowy Egret

Horseshoe Crab

Caspian Tern

Then we drove back to the visitor center and walked the Songbird Trail.  The only songbirds we actually saw were Northern Cardinals, but we did see more Spring Azures and Eastern-Tailed Blues as well as my first Pearl Crescent butterflies of the year (no photos of those, tho).

Turkey Vulture

Spring Azure

Eastern-Tailed Blue

We headed for home as the sun was just coming up this morning.

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