Date: 10/23/17 3:21 am
From: CHELEMER, MARC J <mc2496...>
Subject: [JERSEYBI] One choice leads to two misses

Them's is the breaks, we've come to know. With an entire morning and half-afternoon available, I had originally thought of a day at Sandy Hook. But I thought twice about it when Bill Elrick reported, on Saturday morning, a long-standing Sedge Wren at Garret Mountain. Others saw it late in the day as well. "Perhaps I should give myself the extra sleep and go to Garret." In the end, I decided on a pre-dawn arrival at The Hook, my original plan.

It was a beautiful morning at the north end, with dozens of Yellow-rumpeds, lots of common sparrows, and infuriatingly good Mockingbirds imitating all kinds of other species. I had about 45 species in the hopper, but nothing unusual, by around 9:30. I met Keenan Ennis and Bob Dodelson who had searched unsuccessfully for hours for Vesper Sparrows, which had been reported the day before. I then ventured down to I lot, where Jason Desenevich had just found a Clay-colored Sparrow. We watched it for about 20 minutes as it would forage quietly and unobtrusively in a small group of Field and Song Sparrows (they were much more obvious and sat up high to check their surroundings; the Clay always remained furtive and low to the ground). We then made a long loop from I up to M and back, seeing almost nothing. Bob Auster joined Jason, while I left around noon, heading for Garret, as the Sedge Wren had been refound in the morning.

50 minutes into the drive to Garret, Bob reported his amazing Fork-tailed Flycatcher, but it was too late for me to turn back. At Garret, the drone flyers were piloting their cute but extremely noisy and somewhat scary machines close to where the Sedge Wren had been seen, so an hour search by several birders proved fruitless (one birder valiantly remained another three hours with no luck, even after the drones departed).

"Coulda woulda shoulda." I shoulda followed my instinct which woulda been to go to Garret and then to Sandy Hook. Had I done that, I could've experience the apparently amazing 90 minutes at sunrise yesterday, including several short views of the Sedge, and then might have been on the Hook for Bob's FTFL. (And Jason found a Vesper in I lot later as well!) These are the decisions we live with after the fact. I certainly don't regret a glorious morning on Sandy Hook, with beautiful weather, birds everywhere, and the company of fine friends.

Good birding!

Marc Chelemer

How to report NJ bird sightings: see <>
or e-mail to <njbrcreport...>
List help: <jerseybi-request...>
List archives:
Join us on Facebook!