Wanamassa Birds

I frequently stroll the streets of Wanamassa, NJ, with camera at the ready to take pictures of birds.

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Location: Ocean, New Jersey, United States

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Now This is a Baltimore Oriole

I had wandered off to the ocean without telling anyone where I was going. The truth is that I only made the decision when I reached the bridge on Sunset that joins Wanamassa to Asbury Park. Even then, I nearly changed my mind because my feet were already aching. But I persevered. Meanwhile, Pam and Denise decided to go for a walk around Deal Test Site and they came upon a Baltimore Oriole that was acting rather oddly. It was in the grass and hardly moving. Indeed, it almost let Pam pick it up before fluttering off.

Pam and Denise came searching for me, but it didn't occur to them that I would have gone all the way to the ocean. This was, after all, the first time I've ever walked the whole way there are back (about a mile each way). When I finally arrived home at about 4:30, Pam suggested we pop along to Deal Test Site to see if the bird was still there. At first, we couldn't find it, but as luck would have it we guessed right about the direction it had taken and there it was, still in the grass:



This time, it was clearly nervous at my close approach, although I was nowhere near as close as Pam had been earlier, and it flew off and up into a nearby tree where I was able to get these two shots:




We checked back later before leaving the park and it had moved on, so we're hoping that there was in fact nothing wrong with it.

Black & White Swan Show!

I walked to the ocean and back this afternoon -- seemed like a good idea at the time. I was hopiing there'd be sanderlings at the beach, but no such luck. However, on the way there I saw this pair of black swans in the water by Sunset Avenue in Asbury Park:



and then, on the way back, in Loch Arbour, I saw these white swans:



For the record, the bird I photographed closest to the ocean was this robin who was kicking up a fuss and looking rather unhappy on top of a bush in the yard of a building that backs on to the ocean:

Green Heron

My first sighting this year of a green heron. I had a rather frustrating time trying to get a better picture. For some reason the camera kept focusing past the bird, so this is the only picture worth publishing. I took this at the duck pond. Later, I saw another green heron at the firemen's pond where last year a pair nested. I check the site of last year's nest and there is no sign yet that it is being rebuilt.

Yellowlegs!

Earlier, as I wandered the paths through the swamps that characterize the undeveloped parts of the Meadowlands, I disturbed this bird as it was tasting the delights on the mud right next to the path. Fortunately, it didn't fly too far away and I was able to get these shots:





The question is: is this a greater or lesser yellowlegs? I'm inclined to think it is a greater because of the white around its eyes and the white underbelly. But I'm so often wrong about these things that I once again seek input. How do you tell one from the other when they're not available for side-by-side comparison?

What Kind of Sandpiper?

I was up in Secaucus on Friday afternoon and I stumbled upon these sandpipers as I was on my way back to the meeting I was attending. I thought they were spotted sandpipers (although I was suprised to see more than two at onceā€”there were six of them in a little flock), and now that I examine the pictures, they don't seem quite right for spotted sandpipers.



I don't have a good front-on picture, so it's hard to tell what the markings are on the birds' chests. This one looks a little more like a spotted sandpiper, but I'm thinking that perhaps these are least sandpipers.



What do you think?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Other Birds in Trees

This afternoon was a time for birds to pose in trees for me. In addition to the warbler shots I just posted, I also saw these.

First, this great blue flew in from the west and perched opposite me. I was at the time trying to see where a kingfisher had landed. That darned elusive bird will not pose for me. I had seen it a few moments earlier and I thought it had perched in the tree across the duckpond. While I was scanning the tree in the hope of spotting the kingfisher, this great blue heron arrived:



and moments after it arrived, I agan saw the kingfisher flying towards the ocean. After taking pictures of the great blue, I set out in optimistic pursuit of the kingfisher and instead encountered the warblers.

But I also saw this house sparrow preening itself in a tree. It is very unusual for a house sparrow to be so unconcerned by my close approach:



And later, while I was still seeking out warblers, I spotted this bird. I would have missed it altogether had I not seen it fly across the water when I was fifty yards away. My good budy, the black-crowned night heron:

Warblers are hard to identify

It turns out that six of the pictures I took of warblers this afternoon all turned out to be yellow-rumpted warblers.








but the seventh is a different kettle of fish!



The problem is, I didn't get a decent shot of its head. Indeed, I didn't get a decent look at its head. This is the best look and it's not very good:



When I first glimpsed the bird it was alighting near the top of a tall tree, and all I saw was its chest lit up by the low afternoon sun. I thought for a second it was a robin. But then it flew past me to a nearby tree, and then my thought was that it might be a Balitmore oriole, but I quickly realized it was too small for that. It must be a warbler, but what? Perhaps a redstart, but it doesn't seem to have the right mix of colors.

Update The consensus of the folks who visit the bird watching forum is that these last two shots are indeed of a Baltimore Oriole. Wasn't so long ago that a picture of an oriole would have had me jumping for joy, but somehow this feels anticlimactic because I was oh so hoping it would be a warbler!

A different Goose

Canada geese are so common around here that to see a different kind is a novelty. Pam arrived home from a trip to Asbury Park excited to have seen some Brant geese by the side of the road at the intersection of Allenhurst, Interlaken and Asbury Park. So I popped over on Monday and took this picture: