Last week I was discussing with Scott Barnes what might be the 200th bird to grace Linden's Hawk Rise Sanctuary. We came up with a few ideas but nothing definitive. The scenery has changed dramatically at Hawk Rise. The landfill has been mowed which may or may not be good for grassland species. Time will tell. And the frags have been severely cut back/mowed in the marsh making the area very attractive to shorebirds.
The answer to the question came very quickly. Today's Red throated Loon was very unexpected. Although they can be a common sight in the Arthur Kill in February and March, some distance downstream, it certainly surprised me here on this stretch of Rahway River. Joining the Loon today were two Forster's Tern. My wife grew up in Linden, about five miles away from the sanctuary and she is continually amazed at what I and the other sanctuary regulars see.
Hawk Rise has had some wonderful birds since it opened to the public in 2011/2012. Prior to that, Rick Radis, Rich Kane and Fred Virrazzi recognized and wrote about the importance of the area. If you have not visited Hawk Rise, please do so. You might find a Short billed Dowitcher, bird 201(?) and one that many of us obsessive Union listers would love to see.