Thursday, April 30, 2015

It Could Be Worse...

Tuesday April 28 was not a particularly birdy day, nor a good day for me for that matter, but the weather was nice, and its always pleasing to find out you possess some really good friends.

So the day started off well with a long overdue project of hanging a door completed with the help of Phil Jabiru. And then “Hey, lets go find some birds!” A novel idea if ever there was one.

Off to Hempstead lake and we run into a loose rabble who had the not so encouraging news that little new or exciting was around. Undeterred, we set off on our own, and saw pretty much as described: Yellow-rumps, Palm Warblers, Gnatcatchers, and Swallows.

By the pond we crossed paths with Ed Thrasher and he reported Black-and-White Warbler and Ovenbird, as well as Bank and Cliff Swallow. We found the B&W, none of the other goodies, and with quietude abounding, we headed back to the car.

Black and White Warbler

Black and White Warbler
At the lot I saw Capt’n Bob’s car, and I gave him a ring. After a bit of discussion we collectively decided to head to Jones beach instead of spending more time here. My car started right up, but the battery light went on and that is never a good sign. We decided it was best to head home ASAP. Good choice as the car died on the way. I let Capt’n Bob know of our predicament, and he turned around to come help. A jump had me get most of the way back, and another got me all the way home. The light was the sign that the alternator died, and without it one can only drive so far on the juice from the battery. It sure is nice to have some true friends.

Thursday April 30 was a good day to tackle the alternator. Grouse had called offering to distract me with a twitch for a Bar-tailed Godwit in south Jersey, but I declined, and got to work on the car. Despite reports that it is difficult to remove, it was actually not all that bad, and took a lot less time than indicated. That out of the way, I tackled some yard work. Mostly done, Phil Jabiru checked in and convinced me that Southards Pond was a better place for me to be.

It wasn’t. With the skies clouding up and the wind picking up, the beautifully sunny day earlier was not nearly so now. Yellow WARBLER AND Gnatcatchers was about all she wrote. We decided to try Gardiner’s Park, because there had been Tricolored Heron ( yes, I am a sucker for punishment ) and Virginia Rail reported there.

We walked the main path and Phil got a Catbird for the year, his second bird of the day having had Indigo Bunting earlier. At appropriate habitat we saw many herons but no Tricolored Heron. Henceforth it shall be referred to as the Trying Heron, as it is trying my patience. It was also very very windy. But then...

Virginia Rail
Phil caught something out of the corner of his eye and it was a Rail sneaking across the path. It was calling and another bird was answering. Two Virginia Rails! Some of the best looks I have gotten at this bird ever. Okay, so I don’t feel as bad for dipping yet again on the Trying Heron. YB3 for Phil and YB for me.

Still early, we pondered the possibilities of additional places to bird. Captree Island came to mind, perhaps the heron was there? I scanned with my glasses, an saw the expected birds: Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Glossy Ibis, Greater Yellow legs and Black Bellied Plovers and then....

Glossy Ibis
With much anticipation and excitement I ran back to Phil’s car to get the scope and get on a bird off in the distance. Could it be? Relocated in the scope it was! A Little Blue Heron that is. In fact after scanning all about there were at least five. But the Trying heron still has the best of me.

We continued on to Bobby Mo State Park, and no sooner had we turned west onto the roadway by the water tower, than I yelled STOP. There on the shoulder was a Blue Grosbeak. It was much bluer than the one the other day, and another YB for Phil.

Blue Grosbeak
With the wind being merciless, we cruised around more, hoping to find more lawn birds. We didn’t. But I was able to find a few Gannets out on the ocean for Phil, for yet another YB for him. Okay, so I only got one today, but what a look!

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