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 Post subject: 2015 Highlights (NJ & FL) - The Birds
PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 10:05 am 
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Joined: March 22nd, 2012, 6:19 pm
Posts: 458
Here is a summary of some of the birds I have found in New Jersey and Florida this 2015 season. I began to get interested in birds after I took a Field Ecology course during highschool, which focused on birds of prey. I got to spend my spare time at school raptor spotting with another student, who was also an aspiring birder. Since then, I've loved birdwatching and enjoy photographing and spotting them around my area.

Most of my birding this year took place in New Jersey and Florida. My total species observed so far according to my Peterson Guide is around 244 species. I hope to increase that number to 300 species by the end of 2016.

In the beginning of 2015, the frigid cold and snow brought several interesting birds to my area. The local lake had plenty of waterfowl on it. Hardy winter birds also hung on.

ImageNorthern Mockingbird by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageEastern Bluebird by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageBrown Creeper by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageHermit Thrush by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageFemale Northern Pintail and Female Mallard by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageHooded Mergansers by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageRing-necked Duck, Mallard, Canada Geese, Common Merganser, Hooded Merganser by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageCanvasback by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

There were several Cackling Goose present in the large Canada Goose flocks this winter.

ImageCackling Goose by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageSpot the Cackling Goose by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

It was also an exceptional winter for raptors in my area.This Gray Ghost gave exceptional views, flying only a few meters above me as he was hunting.

Image"Gray Ghost" Northern Harrier by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

Two Rough-legged Hawks kettling.

ImageRough-legged Hawk by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageBald Eagle by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageBald Eagle by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageBald Eagle by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

By March, some familiar faces had arrived.

ImageEarly bird gets the worm by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageCommon Grackle by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageSong Sparrow by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

During Spring my dad and I also made several trips to the coast of New Jersey to see some more species. These trips were amazing! Great views of great birds and great company.

Our first stop was LBI, where we picked up loons, brant and Harlequin Ducks. Our main highlight of the trip was a full adult Kumlien's (Iceland) Gull. We also scoped out a Red-necked Grebe and King Eider.

ImageEiders by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageHarlequin Duck by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageBrant (Atlantic) by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageRed-breasted Merganser by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageHorned Grebe by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageCommon Loon by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

Image"Ipswich" Savannah Sparrow by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageLesser Black-backed Gull by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageIceland Gull by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageIceland Gull by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

Our next trip birding was Brigantine, where we encountered additional waterfowl and my first Wilson's Snipe.

ImageWilson's Snipe by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageWilson's Snipe by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

Back at home, migrants and summer birds had returned. I would spend a lot of my hikes in search of song birds and warblers. When snakes weren't abundant, the songs of a Red-winged Blackbird or Song Sparrow made me smile.

ImageRed-winged Blackbird (female) by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageRed-winged Blackbird by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageWarbling Vireo by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageEastern Meadowlark by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageRose-breasted Grosbeak by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageYellow-breasted Chat by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageSummer Tanager by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageOsprey with Bluefish by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageBarn Swallow by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

In the Summertime, we had stumbled upon several more birds (mainly familiar faces) down in DC and back at home. Some of them were very cooperative when it came to posing.

ImageSo... Pterosaurs do exist by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageGreen Heron by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageSanderlings by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageHerring Gull by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

One September day, I heard that one of the local farms in my area discovered that they had a "Barn Owl" in their chicken coop. I joined a few naturalists to investigate. When we arrived at the farm, we were greeted with an Eastern Screech Owl instead.

ImageEastern Screech-Owl by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

A few weeks later, I chased my first "Rare" bird successfully - a Red Phalarope that was blown inland to a nearby lake in my county along with a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. The views of both weren't the best, but it was thrilling to see a bird that I might not see again for a long long time. The Phalarope was the first record ever for Mercer County.

ImageRed Phalarope by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageBuff-breasted Sandpiper by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

As fall approached, familiar faces of the winter like this Sapsucker visited my yard.

ImageYellow-bellied Sapsucker by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageYellow-rumped Warbler by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageCedar Waxwing by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

I also had the opportunity to chase another rare bird near my area - a relatively uncommon Northern Shrike. I set out with my dad and my good friend to try and find it. We went on a wild goose chase trying to spot it and soon ended up in a much larger party of birders. We spent two hours trying to locate it, and when we finally did, it flew down. We then waited another hour trying to re-find it until it was sundown and at the eleventh hour someone managed to spot it (a few dozen meters away unfortunately). It was a great memory and a great chase.

ImageNorthern Shrike by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

After the Shrike, I birded my local lake again and discovered another Cackling Goose, and a vagrant Greater White-fronted Goose.

ImageGreater White-fronted Goose by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

I made one last trip to Brigantine with friends before I went to Florida. We saw more waterfowl including Tundra Swans, and a very open American Bittern.

ImageYellow-rumped Warbler by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageTundra Swans by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageTundra Swan by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageAmerican Bittern by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageAmerican Bittern by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

After that it was off to southern Florida. Our first stop birding was the Everglades, where our goal was to get some neotropical migrants that were hanging out there. We got Short-tailed Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks and Spoonbills. Unfortunately, we did not get any Rails or Warblers that trip, but a great consultation prize was a Western Kingbird. Here are some photographs from the trip.

ImageLAGU's by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageLoggerhead Shrike by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageSpotted Sandpiper by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageRoseate Spoonbill by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageBlack-crowned Night Heron by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageGreat Egret by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageWestern Kingbird by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

Finally on New Year's Eve, I went birding one last time to Palm Beach County, where I saw additional song and waterbirds. One great highlight was the Warbler diversity = Prairie, Pine, Palm, Black-and-white, Yellow-throated, and Parula plus a Solitary Vireo were all seen that day. In addition, we also saw flyover Sandhill Cranes, and Monk Parakeets on the way home.

ImageYellow-throated Warbler by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageBlack-and-white Warbler by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageYellow-throated Warbler by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageNorthern Parula by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageCommon Gallinule by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

ImageMonk Parakeet by Justin (NoNameKey), on Flickr

And that concludes my 2015 bird season. I hope you enjoyed and thank you for taking a look.

- Justin


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Highlights (NJ & FL) - The Birds
PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 12:15 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
Posts: 3760
Location: San Francisco, California
I enjoyed it very much!


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Highlights (NJ & FL) - The Birds
PostPosted: January 27th, 2016, 10:11 am 
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Joined: March 22nd, 2012, 6:19 pm
Posts: 458
Thanks Kelly, glad you enjoyed


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Highlights (NJ & FL) - The Birds
PostPosted: January 27th, 2016, 4:38 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:31 pm
Posts: 337
Location: Florida, USA
Great finds, thanks!

:Mark


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Highlights (NJ & FL) - The Birds
PostPosted: January 27th, 2016, 6:24 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:11 pm
Posts: 745
Location: cape cod ma.
That was a great post!
Quite envious of a lot of your photos! :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Highlights (NJ & FL) - The Birds
PostPosted: January 29th, 2016, 6:53 pm 
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Joined: March 22nd, 2012, 6:19 pm
Posts: 458
Thank you Mark and Pete!

I strive to improve my photography as the years go on.

- Justin


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Highlights (NJ & FL) - The Birds
PostPosted: February 3rd, 2016, 11:46 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 3:02 am
Posts: 878
Nice finds, Justin, and really great photos.
Good job!
--Berkeley


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Highlights (NJ & FL) - The Birds
PostPosted: February 5th, 2016, 10:36 am 
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Joined: March 22nd, 2012, 6:19 pm
Posts: 458
Thank you very much.

- Justin


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