Friday, July 31, 2015

Where in the World

Lets see if you can figure out where I was.

I went back to my home state last week for a family reunion.  We converged on the family's historical summer hangout.

This lighthouse appears on the state's license plate.  The area marked off by posts and rope is for a Piping Plover breeding site.  A biologist watching the birds told me there are 92 breeding pairs left along this state's many barrier island beaches.  My routine on this trip (and as a kid) was to get up early in the  morning and head to the beach for a refreshing dip in the 72ish degree water.  I then walked up to the south jetty to see what birds I could find.  Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach always seemed to be right on the edge of the protected area. If one got too close, a parent Piping Plover would come over and stand next to the gull.  The young Piping Plover face many dangers, gulls, foxes, mink, raccoon all are in area.

Adult Piping Plover.  In their rather worn plumage I could not tell male from female.  The biologist knew by the colored leg bands.  They thought the male had left the area, I found him still on the site.  That was great news to the folks watching them, I can't recall if this was the male or not.  I think it was the female.

One of the three Piping Plover chicks on beach.

Laughing Gull.

Ruddy Turnstone were easy to find.

A flock of about 6 American Oystercatchers were on the beach.

I could not tell if this was a juvenile Forster's Tern or Common Tern.  The dark carpal bar, look of an all dark cap, and dark wings had me go with Common.

A variety of hudsonia, they bloom yellow earlier in the year.

This Willet was silent, so I could not determine if it was a Western Willet for sure or not.  It looked large, long billed and slender.

Least Sandpiper

The next twelve photos are all of Semipalmated Sandpipers, a very common bird this past week for me. However a hard bird to study on the west coast.

Least in the background.

On my last day of the trip I visited the second most famous birding area in the state.  My favorite birding spot of all time.  Below is a photo of the  loop road and one of its iconic towers.  It is wise to stay near your car on this loop , the Greenhead Flies are just plain nasty and I swear it feels as if they take chunks of skin when they bite.

When I was a kid, this city across the bay was a bit rundown and best known for it's streets being used in a board game. For the last few decades gambling has brought in big hotels and not much else to this coastal city. 

This Willet seems to have the shorter bill more common to the Eastern Willet.

Lots of terns to study. Most are Forster's.

This one flew when I got out of the car to get a closer look, Gull-billed Tern.

Hibiscus in the background, Glossy Ibis in the middle.

Osprey are doing well here,  I did not count the number of nests I saw and successful young birds being raised , but I would guess I saw more than 20 Osprey.

Fiddler Crab.

Family of Clapper Rail, gray edges of brown back feathers.

Black Skimmers and Laughing Gulls chilling on the mud flats.

So what two spots did I visit?  Thanks for visiting !


  1. Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and Cape May?

    1. Barnegat Light and the Brigantine unit of Forsythe. It was simply called Brigantine when I was a youngster.