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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Last Days of February

Second post in a row to start with a picture of a male Red-bellied Woodpecker. The difference? This picture was taken with our new Sigma 18–250 mm zoom lens. This picture and those that follow show that 250 mm is plenty for many bird pictures, so the lens is an excellent choice for walk-around photography.

Song Sparrow under the feeder.

House Finch atop the feeder.

Male Northern Cardinal under the feeder.

This picture was taken through the glass of one of the sidelight windows next to the front door. Still using the new Sigma lens.

These were taken through the double-glass of the living-room main window.

Here's where I expect to see a Song Sparrow, atop a tree. Usually, when it's up there, it sings.
The Mute Swan was in the southern arm of Deal Lake, just west of the railroad tracks at Interlaken.

Northern Mockingbird in the small park at the eastern entrance to Interlaken.

On the bank of the north branch of Deal Lake in Interlaken, this Great Blue Heron watched me warily as I walked by.

I took this picture from the bridge where Westra becomes Monmouth Road. The Hooded Merganser obliged with a little show.

This Doubled-crested Cormorant popped up from nowhere right below me.

It was this Great Blue Heron that had me on the bridge in the first place.

The lead, female, Hooded Merganser had emerged from a dive with food. The other bird chased and harassed it rather than go find its own food.

Knowing that I might be taking long-distance shots of small ducks, I took the 150–500 mm on this outing to Shark River. And so it was. This Bufflehead was flapping its wings as I took this shot.

And here, I believe, is a picture of a Greater Scaup. It certainly looks larger than the shots I took last month of the Lesser Scaup, and it lacks the notch at the back of its head.

Here's a female. It too decided to spend some time out of the water.

In this picture you can see that the male is considerably larger than the female, but that seems to be par for the course for this species.

One of the few birds to come really close to shore was this Mute Swan. As usual, there was quite a sizable flock of them on the water, but this one separated itself from the rest for a walk on the beach.

I took this shot of a female Bufflehead over on the Belmar side of the Shark River Inlet. As so often happens, it saw me coming and set off for deeper water.

This is one of a small flock of Brant Geese that showed up in the parking lot.

This murder of crows was very noisy. No wonder I followed them to get this shot.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The 2013 List Grows

This first picture is not a new list member, but it is the first picture of a male Red-bellied Woodpecker that I've managed this year. I saw the bird fly from the feeder to the tree and my opening the window didn't scare it away, but it didn't come back to the feeder.

I was on my way downstairs to the office when I saw a bird perched on the little fence at the bottom of the front steps. "Hawk!" I yelled to Pam as I raced to the camera to get this shot through the side-window next to the door. We're pretty certain that it is a Sharp-shinned Hawk, #54 on the year's list. My attempt to get a better angle from the other side of the door resulted in my hitting the glass with the lens shade which scared the bird off.

I was on one of my many trips to Franklin Lake in West Long Branch hoping to see the kingfisher once more when I saw this Red-winged Blackbird flying almost straight at me to a bush right next to the path I was on. You can't see much of the red in this photo, but it was clearly visible when the bird was in flight both coming in and leaving. I looked for but did not see a female. This made the 2013 list 55 birds long.

Having walked the circumference of Thompson Park, I came across this pair of Northern Pintail Ducks in a small pond just a few yards past the delivery entrance to the park on Route 520. They became #56 on this year's list.

On yet another visit to Franklin Lake, having given up waiting for the kingfisher because school was letting out and I didn't see much hope with all those people to scare it off, I was walking along the north bank when I caught sight of this little bird in a tree. Thinking it was probably a sparrow of some kind, I nonetheless took some pictures and quickly realized that this bird was a Common Redpoll. I later realized it was a female. The chances are that the other bird I noticed in the tree just before they both flew off was a male. The list is now 57 species long.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Wigeons from the Car

After the snow storm, I decided to check out Shark River Hills to see how the ducks were faring. I went straight to South Riverside Drive and drove around to the eastern coast where I was surprised to see this American Wigeon walking towards me. I stayed in the car and took these pictures from the driver's seat.

At first, the bird just kept walking towards me, but then it turned right, presenting me with this fine profile shot.

It took a few paces into the mud past the killdeer that was also enjoying itself at the culvert, before it suddenly turned and headed back towards the river.

After passing through the gap in what appears to be an old wooden fence that has seriously deteriorated over the years, the bird again turned to the north and set off behind some reeds and out of my view.

I drove north about a quarter of a mile when I noticed another wigeon through the passenger window. Again, I took pictures from the driver's seat. This time, the bird was swimming, but after a few moments, it decided to fly. In the intermediate shots, you can see if first coil itself ready to launch and then start the process by extending its neck. These four shots were all taken in very quick succession.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Sunny Monday Lunchtime

It was a cold but bright day. I decided to take a look at the local ponds, but they were frozen solid. So I drove over to the "island" at the eastern end of Interlaken to see if things were any better there. And indeed, there was some open water. In addition to the inevitable gulls, there was a large number (200+) Brant Geese congregated there. I wonder if this is the flock from Shark River Hills or a different set of birds.

I parked just inside Interlaken on Bridlemere, close to its intersection with Grassmere, and headed towards the geese. As I passed the entrance to Interlaken, I notice some small birds in the grass. Clearly sparrows, but very small. I grabbed a couple of pictures.

While they looked like Song Sparrows, my first reaction was that they were too small. But if there were the case, I didn't know what they might be. I went on to check-out the geese. There was a bitterly cold wind, so I didn't hang around long. They were making a heck of a racket, chattering among themselves in the cold water.

Some of them were standing on the ice still ankle-deep in water, like this one:

There was just one Canada Goose in sight. It had separated itself from the Brants when I took this shot. Had it not been so cold I'd have waited for the bird to get closer to the Brants again so I could show their comparative sizes for this was one of the smaller Canada Geese I've ever seen. So small that I was wondering if in fact it were a Cackling Goose. But without the evidence of such a picture, I'm going to stay with this being a Canada Goose.

I headed back to the car. The sparrows were still there foraging on the grass and in among the leaves. While there still looked very small, these shots suggest that they were indeed Song Sparrows:

On my way home, I again took a look at the north branch of Deal Lake but took no pictures. Then, as I was passing Wanamassa School on Bendermere, I noticed a couple of crows on the grass in front of the school. I was able to get this shot of one of them.