Friday, January 25, 2013

Loose Feathers #376

Trumpeter Swans / Photo by Mike Nordell (USFWS)
Birds and birding
Nature and science blogging
Environment and biodiversity

Friday, January 18, 2013

Loose Feathers #375

Peregrine Falcon / NPS Photo by Andrew Kuhn
Birds and birding
Nature and science blogging
Environment and biodiversity

Friday, January 04, 2013

Loose Feathers #374

California Quail / Photo by Jeannie Stafford (USFWS)
Birds and birding
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity
  • Aside from a decline in underwater grasses, the Chesapeake Bay is improving in most measures of its ecological health, according to a new report from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The bay's health is still pretty poor, though, ranking 32 on a scale of 1 to 100.
  • Just in time for New Year's, a Shell drilling rig that was being towed through the Gulf of Alaska broke free and ran aground near Kodiak Island. So far there are no reports of an associated oil spill, though the rig had oil on board.
  • Here is a comparison of the new biogeographic map with the one produced by Alfred Russell Wallace in 1876.
  • Shark fin traders in Hong Kong are now drying shark fins on rooftops because of complaints about doing it on city sidewalks. The photos from Agence France-Presse give an idea of the massive number of sharks killed for this purpose.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

2013 Birding Wish Lists

Bohemian Waxwings / Photo by John Harrison
Life birds wish list
  1. Bohemian Waxwing
  2. Little Gull
  3. Buff-breasted Sandpiper
  4. Ruffed Grouse
  5. Arctic Tern
  6. Hudsonian Godwit
  7. Evening Grosbeak
  8. Boreal Owl
  9. Northern Wheatear
  10. Pine Grosbeak
Middlesex County birds wish list
  1. Red Crossbill
  2. White-winged Crossbill
  3. Eastern Meadowlark
  4. Saltmarsh Sparrow
  5. Black Tern
  6. Tundra Swan
  7. Red-necked Grebe
  8. Kentucky Warbler
  9. Mourning Warbler
  10. Yellow-breasted Chat
Of course, any of the birds on my life bird wish list would be welcome finds in Middlesex County.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Middlesex Birding in 2012

In the last few years, I have made more of a push to bird locally and to fill in the gaps on my Middlesex County bird list. It is incredibly fun to explore new places for their birding potential and learn more about the local bird life. This past year I visited multiple places in the county where I had never set foot before or even knew existed. My efforts were boosted by participating in New Jersey Audubon's Lower Raritan Bird Survey, which I wrote about in the spring, and doing a big day. It also helps that eBird makes tracking county lists very easy.

In 2012, I recorded 195 bird species in Middlesex County, and 23 of those were new county birds. Below are the new species from 2012.

199 Eurasian Wigeon Cornucopia Cruise Lines 04 Jan 2012
200 Rough-legged Hawk Sayreville Marsh 16 Jan 2012
201 Greater White-fronted Goose Donaldson Park 18 Jan 2012
202 Monk Parakeet Carteret -- Washington Ave 21 Mar 2012
203 Blue-winged Teal Raritan Center 25 Apr 2012
204 Swainson's Thrush Donaldson Park 04 May 2012
205 Louisiana Waterthrush Ayres Beach 06 May 2012
206 Virginia Rail Raritan Center 07 May 2012
207 Clapper Rail Raritan Center 07 May 2012
208 Olive-sided Flycatcher Raritan Center 07 May 2012
209 American Woodcock Raritan Center 12 May 2012
210 Dunlin Morgan Avenue Mudflats 12 May 2012
211 Bobolink Kin-Buc Landfill 12 May 2012
212 Seaside Sparrow Cheesequake Marsh 12 May 2012
213 Yellow-billed Cuckoo Jamesburg Park 30 Jun 2012
214 Sandwich Tern Raritan Bay Waterfront Park 14 Jul 2012
215 Surf Scoter Morgan Avenue Mudflats 28 Jul 2012
216 Roseate Tern Morgan Avenue Mudflats 28 Jul 2012
217 American Golden-Plover Cranbury Half Acre Rd 08 Sep 2012
218 Horned Lark Cranbury Half Acre Rd 08 Sep 2012
219 Black Scoter Morgan Avenue Mudflats 13 Oct 2012
220 Glaucous Gull Edison Boat Basin 01 Dec 2012
221 Fox Sparrow Rutgers Gardens/Helyar Woods 29 Dec 2012

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Life Birds of 2012

This past year was a sparse one for new life birds, which get harder to find as a life list gets longer. Below are the four new birds I saw in 2012.

352 Monk Parakeet Carteret -- Washington Ave March 21, 2012
353 Sandwich Tern Raritan Bay Waterfront Park July 14, 2012
354 Elegant Tern Sandy Hook--tip area September 8, 2012
355 Crested Caracara Princeton Junction--Grover Farm September 11, 2012

Rather than recapitulate the sightings here, I will just link to the blog posts I wrote about them as they happened.

Monk Parakeets

Sandwich Tern

Elegant Tern

Crested Caracara