Sunday, December 26, 2010

Water Birds at Perth Amboy

This morning I was planning to participate in the Raritan Estuary Christmas Bird Count, but the count was postponed a week due to the forecasted snowstorm. Next weekend's weather is not looking great, either, but at least a chance of rain is easier to deal with than a blizzard. Unfortunately the postponement means that my sister will not be able to participate, but I think my team will still be able to cover its section adequately. It may take a little longer than usual, though.

If the count were happening today, one place that would be covered is the Perth Amboy waterfront. That is where I walked on Christmas Eve. The main appeal of the waterfront, from a birding perspective, is that it attracts diverse flocks of waterfowl and gulls. Usually there are dabbling ducks and Brant close to shore and diving ducks further out in the bay. On one visit I even saw a Long-tailed Duck. The usual numbers and diversity were not in evidence on Friday, however, and the few diving ducks were pretty far out. I was thinking that whoever had the section for the CBC would not have much to count. Maybe there will be more birds there next week.

On Friday, the common water birds provided a nice diversion. Ring-billed Gulls were especially plentiful, easily outnumbering the other two species combined. The first-winter gull on the lamppost gave a clear view of its undertail coverts.