When I arrived I saw the scene above out in the salt marsh. A pair of Ospreys had set up a nest on one of the platforms – I am not sure if they were incubating yet or not, but it seemed like at least one was on the nest every time I saw it. In the background, heavy construction equipment was clearing the way for another housing development (to add to the ones that already border the marsh).* It struck me that this was a typical Jersey birding scene: you can see the natural world here, but you rarely lose reminders of the state's urban character.
Other birds in the salt marsh included about a dozen Great Egrets (the most I have seen together for a while) and about the same number of Double-crested Cormorants. The latter were actively flying around as if they could not settle on a spot to fish.
At the edge of the pine woods, a pair of Carolina Chickadees were setting up a nest inside a dead tree. It looked like they were still excavating the hole to meet their needs. Further in, I heard and then saw my first Pine Warblers of the year. There were at least five singing males along the trail. A few Tree Swallows appeared to be laying claim to nesting boxes; these boxes resemble Purple Martin houses, but so far I have not seen any Purple Martins at them.
A second stop at Morgan Avenue flats in South Amboy did not turn up most of the unusual birds reported the day before. However, there were some Northern Gannets – a new county bird for me – visible out over Raritan Bay. A crowd of gulls on the sand spit were mostly Bonaparte's Gulls, with a few dozen each of Laughing Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls, and Herring Gulls. Farther out on the bay there was a raft of Greater Scaup, with handfuls of Red-breasted Mergansers and Black Ducks. Just as I was leaving, a Snowy Egret (my first for the year) flew out of the marsh and down along the beach.
* Update: The construction equipment is actually in the process of remediating the former Global Sanitary Landfill, a very toxic site.