Monday, January 02, 2012

The Birds of 2011

I saw ten life birds in 2011. Three of them were during the Superbowl of Birding in Essex County, Massachusetts. As it turns out, I will not be going there in 2012, but hopefully some other fun events will take its place this year. My best bird was probably the Gray-hooded Gull at Coney Island. The Varied Thrush I saw in Central Park was a species I had long anticipated seeing. The Greater White-fronted Goose at Duke Island Park made up for some frustrating misses on past attempts to see the species. Here are all ten of my life birds from the past year.

Species Location Date
Varied Thrush Central Park 11 Jan 2011
Dovekie Gloucester Harbor--Jodrey State Fish Pier 29 Jan 2011
Barrow's Goldeneye Cape Ann--Penzance Beach 29 Jan 2011
Lapland Longspur Sunshine Dairy Farm 29 Jan 2011
Red Crossbill Seven Presidents Park 31 Jan 2011
Sora Charles Rogers Wildlife Refuge 01 May 2011
Curlew Sandpiper Heislerville WMA 14 May 2011
Gray-hooded Gull Coney Island Beach 02 Aug 2011
Eurasian Collared-Dove Cape May Point -- Lincoln & Whilldin 10 Aug 2011
Greater White-fronted Goose Duke Island Park 01 Dec 2011

2011 turned out to be an excellent year for county birding. I had tremendous luck finding unusual species on my patch, particularly a Grasshopper Sparrow that surprised me one morning. I also had the opportunity to explore some parts of the county that I had not seen before or had not visited in a long time. Each of those visits added new species to my growing county list, which is twenty-eight species higher than it was this time last year. Here are the rest of my new birds for Middlesex County.

Species Location Date
American Kestrel Edison Boat Basin 06 Feb 2011
Common Redpoll Donaldson Park 15 Feb 2011
Eastern Screech-Owl Highland Park 20 Feb 2011
Redhead Duhernal Lake 24 Feb 2011
Rusty Blackbird Johnson Park 05 Mar 2011
Wilson's Snipe Johnson Park 26 Mar 2011
Northern Gannet Morgan Avenue Mudflats 09 Apr 2011
Glossy Ibis Donaldson Park 12 Apr 2011
Broad-winged Hawk Donaldson Park 14 Apr 2011
Northern Bobwhite Morgan Avenue Mudflats 15 Apr 2011
Common Raven Johnson Park 17 Apr 2011
Grasshopper Sparrow Donaldson Park 27 Apr 2011
Purple Martin Donaldson Park 06 May 2011
Chestnut-sided Warbler Donaldson Park 09 May 2011
Prothonotary Warbler Donaldson Park 10 May 2011
Worm-eating Warbler Rutgers Preserve 11 May 2011
Marsh Wren Cheesequake State Park 21 May 2011
Forster's Tern Morgan Avenue Mudflats 26 May 2011
Black-bellied Plover Pirates Cove 26 May 2011
Piping Plover Pirates Cove 26 May 2011
Ruddy Turnstone Pirates Cove 26 May 2011
Black Skimmer Pirates Cove 26 May 2011
Acadian Flycatcher Pirates Cove 26 May 2011
Little Blue Heron Morgan Avenue Mudflats 05 Aug 2011
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Pirates Cove 05 Aug 2011
Caspian Tern Morgan Avenue Mudflats 20 Aug 2011
Tennessee Warbler Rutgers Preserve 16 Sep 2011
Least Flycatcher Red's Marina 02 Oct 2011

By the numbers:
  • Total life birds overall: 351
  • Total state birds: 292 (12 of them new in 2011)
  • 2011 New Jersey year list: 235
  • Total county birds: 198
  • 2011 Middlesex County year list: 178
  • Total yard birds: 71 (3 of them new in 2011: Snow Goose, Wild Turkey, and Black-throated Green Warbler)