Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pitch Pines at Cheesequake

Yesterday I was at Cheesequake State Park. The bird life was not all that diverse, possibly because the preceding week was so cold. The best birds (from my perspective) were a couple of Red-breasted Nuthatches in a tract of pitch pines. I feel that a birding trip is always a good one if some Red-breasted Nuthatches are involved. Beyond that, there were two Great Blue Herons and three Great Egrets gathered on the ice of a single small pond. There was a small patch of open water at one end of the pond, but they mostly stood around the opposite side. I have seen Great Blue Herons on ice before, but a Great Egret looks out of place in such circumstances.

The photo at the top of this post comes from the trail through pitch pines where I saw the nuthatches. This is a very common tree species in New Jersey, especially in southern New Jersey's coastal plain. One of the odd characteristics of this species is that needles often sprout directly from the trunk.