Saturday, September 14, 2013

Back to Brigantine!

Back on the bus, and back to Brigantine - and what a day we had!  The weather was absolutely glorious, and Paul said that the winds were setting us up for a great day.  Off we went!

Almost immediately after arriving and heading out to the boardwalk we saw this gorgeous kingfisher.  Yes, the picture is terrible, but it was quite a highlight for me!

belted kingfisher
 Our first sandpipers, being overseen by a marsh wren in the reeds.  Yes, that's a marsh wren.  I know it looks like a non-descript whitish blob, but it's actually a marsh wren.  They are very good at defeating camera and mine stood no chance of getting a good picture.
marsh wren, semipalmated sandpipers
 Continuing the bad-shots-of-great-birds, here's the clapper rail we saw!  Jack spotted it, and I was able to see it disappear.  Then we all heard it, and eventually it (or another one) came out briefly.
clapper rail
 These crabs were numerous, and according to the gulls, quite tasty.
fiddler crabs
 Back on the bus, to go around the loop and stop wherever we thought it would be interesting.  Here's a harrier looking for lunch.
marsh harrier
 A bunch of sandpipers foraging and flying in, and one pectoral sandpiper looking regal.
pectoral sandpiper, semipalmated sandpipers
 Monarchs were around too!  As usual, they were a wonderful distraction.
Monarch butterfly
 This is a Cooper's hawk making off with something.  We couldn't figure out what it was carrying.  But look at that........ does it have a fish?  Did it maybe steal someone's catch?  I haven't heard of that, and the picture isn't great, but........
Cooper's hawk
 Lots of egrets everywhere, and this one coming in for a landing was just gorgeous.
great egret
 A whole mess of forster's terns hovering and diving for fish, there are several at each stage in the fish-catching process here.
Forster's terns
 No fish for this one this time.  Try again Buddy!
Forster's tern
 A great blue heron coming in for a landing.
great blue heron
 During our lunch stop this fish crow hung out with us.  We all had the chance to learn its call and see it flying.
fish crow
 This was quite a sight.  I saw the ibis fly out of the bus window, but I misidentified it as a little blue heron - wishful thinking!  When we found it, it climbed up to be with the egrets.  So here they are, 2 snowy egrets, a great egret, and a glossy ibis.  :-)
glossy ibis, snowy egrets, great egret
 This is what a yellowlegs looks like when it leaves.  I love it!  Also, that's a short-billed dowitcher.  Yes, that's right, they call it short-billed.  It makes me pretty excited about seeing the long-billed version!
short-billed dowitcher, yellowlegs
 Semipalmated plover among sandpipers.
semipalmated plover
 Black-bellied plover showing off how it got its name.
black-bellied plover
 Caspian terns!  There were four of them there, they are the ones with the reddish bills.
Caspian terns
 Juvie osprey coming in for a landing.
 Avocet!  What a looker!  My first one.
American avocet
 The female boat-tailed grackles are quite different from the ones I'm used to!
boat-tailed grackle
 Before we left we obviously could not resist a walk through the woods.  I found a turtle!  It was small and extremely cute.  We have no idea what kind it was.
mystery turtle

mystery turtle
 Someone found a toad!  And then another one, and another one, and....... I could barely see them when they were pointed out, but apparently they were all over the place!  We wondered if they were born in the pond and once they got old enough went to the woods, and we were seeing a batch of them make the journey.
mystery toad
 That was about it - it was a great day, and we saw tons of great things.  Here is my best shot using my iPhone and the scope.  The attachment I got worked great once, and not-so-great once, but it's still a big improvement over not having the attachment.
Caspian terns
Thanks to AMNH for setting up the trip and thanks to Paul for being such a great leader!  :-)

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