Thursday, May 12, 2011

Local Birding Notes

In yesterday's blog post, I posted photos of a Baltimore Oriole that I have taken the day before. Shortly after I took those photos, I came across a Prothonotary Warbler – very unusual for my county – in Donaldson Park's dump area. It perched briefly at the top of a small tree and allowed a thorough look before it disappeared back into the brush. Unfortunately I was not able to re-find it, despite going back behind the dump to look for it. Otherwise Tuesday morning's birding was unremarkable.

Yesterday morning I walked through the Rutgers Ecological Preserve for the first time in a while. It is an attractive destination for migrating birds because it contains one of the few uncut tracts of old-growth forest in the area, and even the second-growth forest stands out against the surrounding landscape, which is mostly developed. As soon as I walked into the preserve, I could hear forest species singing – Blackpoll Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-throated Green Warbler and Worm-eating Warbler all in relatively short succession. There were a lot of Ovenbirds scattered throughout the preserve. Near the former ammunition bunkers, I saw a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak carrying nesting material. On the other side of the depot, a Blue-winged Warbler was singing in the scrubby area.

I encountered a few more patches of bird activity as I followed the main trail to the other side of the preserve and back. Overall, I recorded 15 warbler species (pretty good for Middlesex County), including Nashville, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, and American Redstart. A lot of Yellow-rumped Warblers are still around, too. One Veery was down near the creek. A really close look at a pair of Scarlet Tanagers was a great way to close out the walk.