Date: 4/12/18 8:28 am
From: CHELEMER, MARC J <mc2496...>
Subject: [JERSEYBI] Today: Sherman-Hoffman, Great Swamp/Overlook

Although one really knows that the northbound migration has begun when yellow birds begin to appear (Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler down south), today I was looking for a bluish one: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. I thought that Sherman-Hoffman would be as good a place as any to enjoy other birds while hoping for this tiny sprite to be present.

I didn't find a Gnatcatcher during my 2-mile erratic loop, but the birding was really fine: three Pileated Woodpeckers flew over my head and into a nearby tree as I pressed "Start" on my e-Bird app. Lots of other woodpeckers were everywhere. I found singing Louisiana Waterthrushes in two far-apart locations, providing long and excellent views as they sang from exposed perches. There was a beautiful, proximate (and singing) Winter Wren working its way along the water's edge, a bright Brown Thrasher, both Kinglets up close and personal, and inquisitive Towhees.

I had a bit of time before I needed to be at the office, so I drove to the Overlook at Great Swamp. Besides singing Field Sparrows and a pair of Savannahs, I was perplexed by a quiet "henk" call coming from nearby. As I stepped off the gravel into the mowed grassy area, heading in the directly of the sound, the bird itself flew out of the tree, over my head, and into another tree right above the Overlook's gazebo: Eastern Meadowlark! It had been a long time since I'd heard that call. Further down Pleasant Plains, I observed the "resident" Kestrel.

47 total species this morning. It felt good to have that many different species without relying solely on waterfowl.

It was a wonderful morning, full of birdsong. Once can sense the pent-up energy as the remaining winter residents feed eagerly, ready to move north, and the new arrivals sing boisterously, anticipating connubial bliss. Birdcast suggests it'll be a good night tonight for migration, even better tomorrow night. It'll be interesting to see what moves up tomorrow with the really warm southern air.

Good birding!!

Marc Chelemer

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