Date: 3/19/17 3:40 pm From: Diane C Louie <dclouie...> Subject: [JERSEYBI] Weequahic Park Woodcocks, Thursday, March 16
This post was deliberately delayed to spare the Woodcock further disturbance….
Only 3 of us joined Dave Hall for his morning NJAS/BCAS walk. The cold and the snow from Stella undoubtedly
had something to do with the sparse field trip turn-out. There were very few other visitors in the park.
Right away Chris T. spotted a Raven above the road leading from the community center parking lot. We scoped the pond
and sighted Wood Duck drakes, GB Herons, two Quebecois Canada Geese with red neck bands (white lettering: “X1A9” and “X8C7”),
and walking about the far bank, a couple of Woodcocks with a Wood Duck drake. The pond also contained RB and Herring Gulls, DC Cormorants, Ruddies, Common Mergs, and a few Hooded Mergs.
Later, an adult Bald Eagle spooked the gulls off the pond.
Dave drove us to the lot on the opposite side of the pond and we trekked along the snow-covered path along its perimeter. At first, we encountered a few fresh Woodcock tracks
but then we were astonished to see a superhighway of Woodcock tracks dotted with (presumably Woodcock) poo running by the bare base of a tree. (The Woodcock superhighway
reminded me of the trenches created by penguins during their single file commute from their nests to the pebbly beaches of the Southern Ocean.) Every few feet one of
us would sight another one or two Woodcock: a clump of mud at the base of a tree, a pile of leaves on the bank, or a couple of rocks in the snow would suddenly acquire big eyes and
morph into yet another Woodcock. Most of the Woodcocks we managed to identify despite their camouflage
remained absolutely still a couple of feet from us through the commotion of passerines flitting about in response to our pishing and waterfowl feeding. Those that were further away escaped — either us or
the RT Hawk — into the trees uphill. Altogether we counted about 15 live Woodcock plus 1 dead one which we studied in the hand and then returned to the snow.
Later, I understood from the recent JB'er and Raptor Trust posts as well as the NY Times article (link below) that I had been an eye witness to the Woodcock fall-out phenomenon due to Stella.
Not only was it my first visit to Weequahic, it was my first bird fall-out.